Fortunately for me, it’s really trendy right now to admit that you’re a mess.
All you have to do is look around this blog or Google my name and you’ll see that I’m a mess. For instance, this blog can’t decide whether to tell you I’m sick, I’m an addict’s daughter, or that I’ve lost my way home.
This space has been through Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition more times than I can even remember. Aren’t we all supposed to keep reinventing ourselves?
The man next door just yelled, “YOU GO TO THE GROCERY STORE NOW AND THERE’S 40 DIFFERENT KINDS OF CEREALS!”
Yes. Thank you, neighbor. I will blame my mess on the cereal. Well, less about the cereal and more about the overwhelming amount of choices.
Captain Crunch? Special K? Fruit Loops? Chex? Gluten free and dairy free?
Sick? Addicted? Lost? Adulting? Faith? No – faith free and hope free.
I tried to write what I blog about in one sentence and here’s what happened: Ashley has been blogging since 2011 about life’s disappointments and tiny victories. If I’m being totally honest, I usually miss the part about victories.
And this is really because I hear voices.
Ok, that makes it sound like I’m reinventing myself again to tell you I’m schizophrenic or just insane.
What I mean is that I read people’s minds, especially those who I really love, and I think that I hear them say how disappointed they are in me. I’m not fishing for compliments, and I’m not trying to make you think I’m insane.
Somewhere along the way, I started sharing about my faith. I’d say I started walking the talk when my life became a total mess. If I sat here and listed everything that went wrong during the utter chaos chapter of my life, I would just start crying. And nobody wants that.
Then, as my faith grew and became more important to my daily life, I made up these voices.
When I was stuck on the couch with pneumonia, still begging that you please don’t give me a plus-one that I couldn’t find, puking about the idea of turning in another resignation letter, or going through another season of feeling like God completely forgot my name, I looked into people’s minds and I could hear this sly and snickering, “Where is your God now?”
To be clear, no one ever actually said this to me. They cried with me or carried me or said, “Oh, Ash…I’m so sorry,” again and again.
The voice came from my own heart. But it’s so much easier to point the blame to someone else.
There’s a misconception about faith – it isn’t a KABOOM! instant deep-stain remover. If you’re a mess before you trust in God, you’ll probably still be a mess after you trust. The thing is, people are people.
We were all made to be a mess. A beautiful mess.
I’m a sucker for a good story. Good stories are when the little boy is born paralyzed and overcomes adversity to win a gold medal in the Olympics. Good stories are when the girl can’t decide what to call home, but then she meets a boy who asks her to stay.
Good stories have hopeful endings. So what do we do when we’re stuck right in the middle of the mess? I guess we turn the page. We figure out how to stop hearing voices.
Sometimes the choices feel overwhelming about which of life’s disappointments we’ll choose to follow to the edge of the cliff.
But I’m on this mission to do just one small thing, not to try checking off 101 ways to change my life. I will spot the tiny victories.
Today’s tiny victory: I wrote this blog by hand in my writing journal. Sitting on the back porch overlooking the lake, I couldn’t hear anyone’s made-up voices (except for the dramatic cereal story going on next door).
The cyber world has honestly made me feel more like a mess these days. It only takes a few clicks to read someone who thinks I suck. I learn a lot by stringing together words on the screen, but since I could hold a pencil in my tiny hands I’ve learned the most watching the loops form on the lines of my journal.
I didn’t know what would happen today on this page, but I think I can walk away with confidence in my mess. My God is here now – right in the beautiful mess.
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” …
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
– Psalm 42