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3.12.2013

NOT ALWAYS PACKAGED NEATLY


 
Stuff doesn't always fit nicely and neatly in a box.  Tape is required from time to time. Sometimes our suitcases are bit too crammed packed and we need to sit on them to get them closed.  Things hang out.  Life is convoluted, unkempt and a bit askew from time to time. 

That was bouncing about in my head as I pounded out my four mile run this morning.  I thought about a brief conversational interchange I had with a friend from the past that I haven't talk to in years and years.  As we caught up on each other's lives, he said something I loved.  It was such a true and transparent admission, one I could totally connect to... "My life has been an adventure....and not always pretty for sure."

I wondered if he and I were the exception or if most people could relate to that statement.  There is quite an equation and amalgamation that makes up each of our lives.  The cocktail of background, choices, destiny, design, and reaction create an adventure for all of us.  He is right, and I had experienced the same thing - the not always pretty part.

There are thematic inspiring quotes out there like, life is what you make it.  I would agree it is much of the time.  But sometimes it gets away from us.  Sometimes as we are figuring our place out or just enjoying the quiet waters for a season life gets rough, tough and sometimes just not so pretty.  It doesn't always fit neatly in a box does it.

From time to time it's too easy to view others from outside their window.  We see their lives from the outside and theirs can appear, compared to ours, tranquil and easy, blessed and abundant.  I don't think that's always the case.  It's similiar to a handful of couples I have met in life who declare, we never fight or disagree.  That's great but not really probably 100% true.  All humans have blips in their relationships from time to time.  Really that's just not a real statement of accuracy at all.  And neither is thinking other people have charmed lives.

The authenticism that old friend spoke to me was oh so refreshing.  I think that's where God wants us all to be - fully aware of our humanness and ready to show our real colors.  Being authentic and real is God's love language.  He reprimanded the Pharisees on "superior and pious perfect fakey living" but said David, someone whose life was not always "pretty", was a man after God's own heart.

Seeking God in our human flesh sometimes intersects with not pretty.  My daughter recently read the book, The Shack, one of my favorite books that I had read multiple times. She commented on how much she loved the word pictures in it.  The author addresses the theme of "life not being pretty sometimes" as the overriding portrait in the book.  That ugliness collides with God's grace and love.  There is a great mental and spiritual picture painted in the book showing our hearts as God really sees them - a beautiful garden with weeds and a bit overgrown.  He tends to it - creating something pretty from the unpretty.

I cannot keep up appearances for appearances sake alone.  That is bondage to me.  My life is what it has been - a living and moving picture of failure, pain, joy, sorrow, redemption and grace.  I think yours might be too. 

Sometimes our stuff doesn't fit neatly in a box.  It doesn't have to.  If we were perfectly wrapped and taped up nicely, if nothing ever hung out of our suitcase how would others know we were real and approachable.  Our humanness doesn't repel God, He created it and knows it.  He actually created us a bit messy and askew so that we might need someone beyond ourselves.

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