During graduate school, I worked as a leasing agent for an elegant residential apartment community. I was required to wear a three piece suit in order to match the upscale vibe of the complex. Each unit had luxurious accents and features, and the exquisitely designed landscape and leasing office made working there very enjoyable.
One of my duties as the leasing agent was to prepare the model units. I’d show these units to prospective renters as examples of how the homes could look when they were occupied. Perfectly chosen furniture pieces and décor adorned each unit. There was no pile of bills, dishes, laundry or homework to be seen. No computer or television occupied any space. Only a small radio that played continuous soft contemporary music rested on a corner table.
Every morning, I looked forward to entering my perfect model homes. I’d turn on all the lights, switch the ceiling fans to medium for a perfect breeze, open all the curtains and spray floral potpourri in the air. My eyes would lovingly glide over the ensemble of furnishings, and my imagination would begin to create a perfect life. No research essays to write. No bills to pay. No dishes to clean. No bed to make. No looming responsibility to be done. I could just grab one of the classic books from the coffee table, sit back and indulge in endless free-time.
After months and months of coveting one particular tropically decorated home, I finally indulged. I adored the master bedroom with its large, stylish bed that was always made. I would look at the thick, expensive comforter and wonder what it would feel like just to slip under the covers and close my eyes. I could dream away all the bills to be paid, all chores to be done, all the homework to be finished and all the parts of life that I didn’t like. I could finally merge myself into the perfect world of my model home.
At last, I turned down the bed, jumped under the covers, tucked myself in and closed my eyes. My smile only lasted a few seconds until I caught wind of the stale layer of dust all around me. The bed itself did not have a mattress, and my bones jabbed into the hard box spring under me. I felt out of place, like I was stealing another person’s nap. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get over the fact that I didn’t belong. I quickly jumped out of the bed, looked around to make sure no one had seen my impulsive action, and put the comforter back in its place.
Now I saw the model home with new eyes. Everything was fake. There were no clothes in the drawers, no food in the refrigerator, no soap in the bathroom and no pulse of life in the air. Though the model home looked perfect on the outside, it was lifeless, empty and joyless inside. The model home was a lie. No occupied unit that I had ever entered looked so clean and put together. All the beauty and romance I had developed for that home was washed away with one truth: Life is messy.
The movement of life is chaotic, imperfect and many times hectic, but it’s also filled with emotion, truth and energy. I think many times we covet an ideal, seamless existence, but that doesn’t exist. Jesus led a perfect life, but that doesn’t mean His life wasn’t messy. He offended, confused and disappointed people. Jesus talked to sinners, which offended people. He spoke in parables, which confused people. And He came as a lowly carpenter, which disappointed people. Jesus lived perfectly before God, but His life was many times crazy, hectic and difficult.
Life is messy, but it is the mess that signifies life. I think once we fix our perspectives and realize that the model life we’re groping for is only a fantasy, we’ll be more content with the life (chaos, imperfections and mess) that we’ve been given. When we find satisfaction in our fabulously imperfect lives, we will begin to see all the beauty and blessings that surround us. Every dish that we clean means that we broke bread with someone. Every load of clothes that we wash means we have a reason to dress up. Every assignment or project we complete means we are learning and growing. Every bed that we make means we got to live another day. We should be thankful for every mess because they signify that we have been given life!
*I’m so excited about our next issue of the Sanctified Together Email & Online Publication! This month we have writers sharing their amazing life lessons of faith. We hope that you will enjoy their words of wisdom and glean from God’s Truth! You can read this publication here. If you want to see the other Sanctified Together Publications, visit here.
To read “A Word from the Editor” and the other articles, visit here.