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 to have 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 messier.
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. This 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!
to more love,
I love the messy closet/life is messy comment!
And you are right, I certainly don’t think less of you but more than that, your vulnerability inspired me + it did remind me not to look away. xo
Thank you Alison! I’m thrilled to hear it inspired you and reminded you not to look away. That’s exactly why I wrote it. 😉
I love it that you posted a messy closet pic! I dropped by a neighbor’s house recently, and she said, “My house is such a mess.” I said, “Can I see it? Like, can I see the worst parts of it?” She smiled, “Sure! Come on in!” and proceeded to show me the mountain of laundry in her bedroom, the toys on the playroom floor, the dried food on the kitchen counters. Then she came over to my house and we looked at all my disorganized mess. We laughed hard and shared sweeter intimacy that day than we had in years before. So, to showing each other our mess, I say “Bring it on!” Thanks for encouraging authenticity and giving us a peek into your mess, Crystal.
Thank you for your sweet note! I’m so happy to hear that you did that. That’s a true friend who makes someone feel loved in the middle of their mess. I once had a friend visit. When I apologized for my mess, she said, “I didn’t come to see your house.” I’ve never forgotten her words. I believed that she genuinely cared about me. It meant the world. Still does. So glad it’s encouraging to you Heidi!
More Blog Posts
to Love ...
Loving Porcupines (teenagers) and other salty people
Protect Your Plates
Exploring Friendship + Connection with Alison Lumbatis of Get Your Pretty On
Why You Need a Girls Getaway & What’s In Store
SEARCH OUR BLOG