That’s my closet. Yep, mine. Today.
I can hear your gasp of horror and see your jaw hanging open from here. It’s gonna be alright. Take a breath. Someday I’ll clean it.
What’s even crazier? After I took that picture, I was tempted to rearrange and take another shot, to crop it, and filter it. Seriously. Like anything I could do would make that picture look better!
How crazy is that?
I keep the rest of my house presentable, most of the time, but I admit it, I’ve literally swept dust under the rug. I dress up to go to church (kind of) and I filter my photos for Facebook. To the rest of the world, I project that I’m pretty together. But take a peek into my closet and you’ll see there are some really messy parts of my life.
There’s a reason I shared the shocking photo of my closet with you today.
Social media has redefined the way we share our lives. We’re so used to everything being nice and presentable. If it’s too hard, we can just scroll past it.
So today, I wanted you to experience what it feels like to be exposed to someone else’s mess. Not your comfortable, hidden mess, the one that you’re used to seeing. I wanted you to see one that you weren’t expecting and didn’t ask for. One that might even scare you a little.
Here’s the deal, life is messy.
It’s hard and complicated. That makes friendship messy too. If you want have to friends and be a friend, things are going to get a little messy sometimes. We can scroll past the hard stuff, pretending we’re connected, and feel lonely sometimes.
We can be brave enough to really open up and share our lives. We might hear our friend gasp and see her jaw drop. We may even have to hold our breath through the awkward silence of the long pause, trusting what comes out of her mouth will be love and acceptance.
And if we want to be a friend, we’ll have to get past our shock and awe and dare to step into the mess with those we love, knowing we’re going to get dirty. Knowing it’s going to take time, energy, and effort. But who has any of that in abundance?
If you’re anything like me, you calculate and organize your life on a google calendar. If her mess isn’t scheduled in, it’s easy to tell ourselves we’re too busy, we don’t have time. To look the other way. And each time we do, our hearts get a little colder, a little more selfish, and even a little more messy.
Like this past weekend in Houston, I was sitting in a huge traffic jam while trying to make a quick Chick-fil-a run for the family. There was a guy standing next to my car on the corner with a sign, asking for help. I noticed my heart rate sped up, my empathy built and my rational mind said “don’t look”. Because I knew if I looked, if I made eye contact, I would have to risk something, to get involved and maybe get a little dirty.
It seems safer to look away.
But, it’s not. It hardens our hearts. When we have compassion and make time for others, our capacity for love actually expands. We physiologically become something more than we were.
After seeing my disaster of a closet, do you think less of me? Maybe. But it’s worth it if that image sticks. It’s worth it if you remember it next time a friend needs you and you’re tempted to look the other way, to not get sucked in.
It’s worth it if you choose to connect instead. It’s worth it if your capacity to love grows, even just a little.
I’m so thankful I have friends who are courageous enough to sit with me, hold my hand or walk beside me in my mess. Every time they do, it convicts me to face my own fear of getting messy. Which seems ironic with my messy closet, I know, but it’s true.
Which friend needs to hear your voice today?
Her name is probably on your mind right now. Send her a text, or even better, call her (yep old school style), and while you’re connecting, put a date on the google calendar for some good ‘ole face to face time. You need it, and so does she.
Safe and clean is overrated.
Let’s go get messy in our love for each other!