Friday, October 10, 2014

Come In

If you hadn't noticed, my house and I are having a bit of a "moment". It's not that I feel compelled to expose it/us every time it's a mess, it's that this is the way we usually live. And I like it this way.

This is what life looks like in between the photos that get staged and tweaked, before I pull out all the shadows and brighten things up a bit.

If there's one thing I know, it's that I was never as comfortable with the mess until we moved out of our dream house and into a place we never knew to dream of.

Here, we hold hands with the mess of life, where clothes wait to be washed and folded and sized and stacked - ready for whoever gets them next. There are muffins to be made for the folks who just moved into the blue house. There are blankets left-over from last night, when one of our favorite neighbors came to stay a while.

On my worst days, I believe I actually have lost myself, that something was broken along the way. I look to my left, to my right. I see good, Christian folks in their shirtsleeves and neckties, the salt-of-the-earth women who scrub their floors as in worship.

What I mostly want to do is run. Or hide. I worry I don't fit with them. I feel the pull to retreat into myself, offering as little back as I can get away with. (Even then, I feel like a fraud.)

On my best days, I stand at my messy counters while the sun is barely pricking the sky and water fills the sink. I look out my window just as the three new neighbor kids walk past, a clean 25 minutes late to school.

My eyes meet his through the glass and I wonder what he thinks when he sees me standing here in my husband's sweatshirt, with bed-head. Overwhelmingly, as "deconstructed" as my house may feel at the moment, I wish it was so much worse. I don't ever want him to believe he can't roll with us. I don't want my throw pillows to look like a row of tidy, church-shirt buttons, or my curtains to seem sort of like a necktie.

Some of the people on my street use bed sheets for curtains, not because they like the pattern, but because it's what they have to keep everyone away - the prying eyes, the suspicion, the outsiders.

I don't have bed sheet curtains to yank open (wait, actually...I do.) But what I can offer is my hot mess of a life, where tasks outnumber hours. I can offer my tendencies to grumble, not because they're holy, but because they're human. (My imperfect heart knows its own kind, so yours might, too. We'll get there together.)

What I can give you here is my promise to not pretend, and though some days this curtains-splayed existence looks like fluffy hair and a face full of make-up, most days it looks like 3-day yoga pants, flat bangs, and dark circles.

I can look you in the eyes and tell you how hard it is for me to pray, how I've always felt I wasn't good enough at it and how Satan twists my truth into lies, sometimes, making me believe my love for Jesus must not be real, causing me to fear being found out.

I live, quite literally, where the sidewalk ends.
Different things are valued here, not necessarily better things, not necessarily worse. 

I live and move inside my pretty, little white house where our electricity has never been cut. Our cupboards have never known lack.

I fend off wishes that I wouldn't love beauty so much, that I could strip away all my thrift-store glitz and live bare-bones, like Shane Claiborne probably does.

The real truth is, I splurged two days ago on a different color comforter for our bed.

With the snap of my wrists, clean sheets fall but the room is still a mess. I'm still tripping over boxes and wondering what's become of me. I'm still niggled by the thought of what some of my friends might think if they knew.

I never wonder long enough to really care.

This call to live in the heart of humanity, with people different and exactly like myself, is a call to live and breathe its rhythm. The call to love the broken is a call to live in brokenness - to embrace being broken.

This undercurrent of bold-faced imperfection is saving me.
There moves among us the winds of dependence - we are a people in need.

Come on into my mess. You are welcome here.

"Don't divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help. Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation." - Jesus Calling


  1. Shannan, this beautifully depicts that push-pull that goes on in my own heart. Stay - safe, comfortable, never-in-want, available - OR allow that wind that blows me to unsafe places where I'm needed, and go. The pictures that get taken of the reality of your days? Those are the ones that resonate the most. Such a great reminder to me, this morning, to stay soft and open to the stares of those outside my window. Thank you!

  2. thank you. love you much, and glad to be a mess with you.

  3. Psalm 90:12 is the cry of my heart and some days it includes sweeping and vacuuming....or today it meant sitting on my couch skyping with someone on the other side of the world...and yesterday it meant packing up a whole lot of love. BUT....HE is teaching me to number my days and I am thrilled that that will gain me wisdom!!!

    So whatever your day holds........

  4. I love this, and you... and I love that you have settled in to the season and rhythm of truly living the life He has for you - sure, sometimes kicking and screaming but hey - is that not every one of us? I so appreciate your Youness and the ability to be no one else! Oh, if we were neighbors... NOTHING would get done... (because, tacos!)

  5. Satan twists my truth into lies, sometimes, making me believe my love for Jesus must not be real, causing me to fear being found out.
    I give you a quiet me, too.
    love being a people in need with you....with my tablecloth curtains and cloth napkin curtains and all the mess.
    you are so very loved.

  6. It looks just like my house now and always! Very lived in and I like it too :) Thx for sharing !!! I love the real and now moments myself. Blessings !

  7. “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? "”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    i think we could be friends.

    1. I've always loved the simple honesty of this quote. It's so true!

  8. can I just tell you how much I hate going to people's house that are spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated? not that there's anything wrong with that, but it just makes me feel like a failure- I never learned to do all that, I was too busy surviving - I'm trying really hard to learn now, but it's hard

    I love my friends' houses that are messy 😁

  9. A friend once told me that she had started to view her house being a mess as a ministry to others. :) Amen to the tasks outnumbering hours… We are "dizzyingly" busy, yet left to crave those deeper, slow moments with family, with the Lord, and alone with our thoughts. Thanks for the honesty, encouragement and smile you brought. Life is full, God is good. xo

  10. Great post, thank you for your words today!

  11. I was just writing a friend, mentioning how on Facebook everyone shows their shiny, pretty, squeaky clean, perfect side of life. All is good. No messes. Yeah, right.

    Thank you for your dose of authenticity and willingness to share some "bold-faced imperfection."

    P.S. I spy some pumpkin, cake mix and cream cheese- something yummy must be in the oven!

  12. RE.SON.ATE!!! I want to stand at your sink in your sudsy waters.. to add another folded garment to the tower.. I'd go down to the water and wash all that gingham on river rocks.. the edge.. where your sidewalk ends.. this is the place where Jesus lets us see the girl He's been dreamin' up for all eternity.. Thank you so stinkin much for wearing your heart so well for the world!! You ARE hands and feet and muffins and sheets!! Girl.. you are just right!

  13. I love you every which way, but mostly because you're messy like me, but bolder and more honest, more prone to stare it in the face. You're gold.

  14. You took my thoughts and put them into words. Literally every.single.word. Thank you for sharing and for being real.

  15. Moving into a diverse neighborhood close to the city changes all this for us, too. We've been here three years and don't want to feel more important than the people around us because a job pays a different amount. We're here, serving, living, and being together as neighbors and family and church together in the mess of life. I honestly don't think a neighbor would knock on our door for my Husband to help fix a broken lawnmower, or the neighborhood children feel welcomed to play on our front "HILL" as the lovingly call it, or wave and honestly say hello and mean it anywhere else. This is real life, and sometimes it's messy yet full of beauty. Nothing requires perfection...
    HELLO dust bunnies because people matter more than a perfect house.

  16. i see a ruby falls mug! i live right outside of chattanooga. beautiful little city.
    great post. i personally like for my house to be orderly because a chaotic environment makes me feel chaotic. but - i am in a time of life where things are not as organized and orderly as i would like and i am learning to breath deep and love others and invite them in any way.

  17. I sooooo enjoy your writing....please think of writing a book so I can buy it and pay you money for the joy of reading your words. You have a gift. Even with a blog post like this about your messy is deep and thought provoking, but also funny and it flows so easily.
    You have the ability to talk about what others feel. I don't know why exactly....but I LIKE reading your words.

  18. for best Online Jobs without any rejection, no time limit required, no investment requires, just spend few minutes and earn upto $35 daily