Freebie Friday! Connected

How do you feel about messy?

Messy hair.
A messy bedroom.

Maybe.

But what about messy relationships? That’s a horse of a different color, no?

In order to truly be connected to others, you have to make peace with messy. You have to be okay with letting others in when you are at your worst and your life is a total train wreck. You also must be willing to turn the tables. When other people’s lives are messy, you can’t turn a blind eye or offer cheap words of comfort. You must willingly walk into the mess, even if they’re hiding, and bear the bad stuff together.

I learned this lesson in a high school library recently. Two sixteen-year-old girls had been killed in a car accident in the small town where I live. Because I often work with teenagers, I was invited to come to the school as a grief counselor.

When I stepped through the doors, the pain was palpable. Young women like you usually aren’t good at hiding your emotions. I love that about you. These young people weren’t politely crying into their hankies. They were sobbing. It was ugly and awkward and hard to watch.

As I sat at a table taking it all in, I was struck by the fact that God meets us so intimately in our pain. In fact, He walks headlong into it. The Bible says that He’s close to us when we’re brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18). When we are weary and fed up, He wants us to come to Him (Matt. 11:28). The teenagers I saw modeled His example that day. They didn’t hide their hurt from each other. They didn’t put on a brave face. They willingly walked into each other’s messy pain. As a result, they faced an extremely difficult time in community, not alone.

Hear me: If you do not want to be lonely, you must be willing to be messy.

And there’s more. You may be okay with messy, but how do you feel about being interrupted? What about being inconvenienced?

If you do not want to be lonely, you must be willing to be messy.

You see, valuing people means adopting an overt willingness to be inconvenienced. It means doing things that cannot be measured. It means developing relationships based on who people really are and not who we want them to be.

Let me give you an example.

My husband and I host a small group in our home. That group has become one of my greatest insulators against loneliness. We truly bear each other’s burdens on a regular basis. We pray for each other. We cry together. We share fears and doubts and lawn mowers. It’s the best example of the New Testament church that I’ve ever known.

But let me be clear, it is not convenient.

Being known won’t fit onto a checklist and it won’t be convenient. Christian community has become a buzzword for something we do, something we can put on the calendar, but that’s not true community.

Jesus know all about this. His community was no cakewalk. Judas betrayed Him. Peter denied Him. Paul persecuted His flock and yet . . . Jesus pursued a relationship with them.

He invites us to connect with Him and others along the messy road less traveled.

If you want to be known, you must be willing to get messy and you’ve got to ditch the idol of convenience our culture worships so freely. I’m shooting you straight, because I want you to know it’s not an easy road. But it is one that God has always walked. He invites us to connect with Him and others along the messy road less traveled.

Who do you know whose life is messy? How can you reach out to her this week?
What is one way you can serve someone else that is inconvenient for you but worth the potential of deeper connection?

Log on to the giveaway widget below, and then leave us a comment with your answer. We will choose one of you to win Connected: Curing the Pandemic of Everyone Feeling Alone Together, the book this post was adapted from.

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About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • A

    I do have a friend where things are “messy”. I’ll definitely make sure to reach out this week even if it is outside my comfort zone to do so. God didn’t call me to stay in my comfort zone as a Christian.

  • Lillian French

    There’s a girl I know who has been through a lot in the last year. I find it really hard to get a long with her, so I normally just avoid talking to her. Well, due to some sad circumstances, I no longer even see her very often and when I do it’s kind of awkward. I’m very introverted and I hate uncomfortable conversations, so I tend to avoid her when she is around. I realize that that isn’t the right attitude and that I should show her love – even when I don’t feel it. Next time I see her I’m going to try to reach out to her and see how she’s doing and what she’s been up too. Even when I don’t feel love for her, I’m going to try to show her Christ’s love.

  • Susanna

    I definitely has a friend who has been struggling. She’s dealing with loneliness and heart break! I normally try to encourage her, but I do not dwell on the subject. I think I could work harder to provide the proper encouragement and advice as well as pray for her more.

  • Tiana

    My best friend is going through a LOT of stuff. Too much stuff for a 15 year old to be going through. And she openly comes to me whenever something is wrong or whenever she just needs to talk. And we’ll just sit there and talk for hours about whatever the current struggle in her life is. I know her so well that I’m able to notice when something is wrong without her saying anything, so I’ll bring it up and we’ll just talk for as long as she needs to. Some people might see that as an inconvience to me, but I don’t see it that way. She’s my best friend, so I’ll always make time for her wether its 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning.

  • Seyi Akogun

    I don’t know anyone right now because i am in a relatively new environment.

  • Henrieke van der Knijff

    So true! Those moments of real sharing of our lives come usually at incovenient moments. Either time wise, or my not wanting to really share what is going on in my life, or not willing to actually listen to the other. Such a good reminder to do just that which is opposite to the flesh!

  • A good friend of mine is going through a rough time with her family. It’s certainly messy and the last thing anyone expected to happen to them right now. I’m going to commit to pray for her every day this week and text her periodically and make sure she’s doing okay.

  • Leah

    Lots of my friends are having a hard time with stress and the end of school. It’s not too big of a problem alone, but it definitely exasperates other more deep-seated insecurities. I’ll be praying for them and working to speak life into their lives this week.

  • Carolyn

    One of my friends recently went through a rough patch and I didn’t know how to respond. I want to shoot her an email and see how she’s doing. I think one way I can serve others is by listening to them. Sometimes it’s inconvenient to listen to others’ problems, but I’m going to work on that.

  • Rachel Lee

    One of my friends at church is going through a dry season. She is very weary and tired from studying, classes, and other responsibilities. I want to pray for her in person and reassure her that God loves her. This is going to be incovienent for me because I am stepping out of my comfort zone!

  • Emily

    One of my friends used to struggle with depression before becoming a Christian. She moved away a year ago, but I found her instagram page a couple days ago and it was nothing but posts about drugs and depression, and my heart really hurts for her. I talked to my parents and my youth pastor and were trying to make sure she gets the help she needs, but I’m really praying for her this week and trying to find resources to help her as much as I can personally.

  • Sarah

    This could not have come at a more perfect time…. I needed to hear this! I’m the one with the mess in my life that I need to be willing to let others in on. In another area of my life, the Lord has really been prompting me to reach out personally to the members of a team of people I am over for an event, and this article further solidified that direction. It’s inconvenient, it takes time, but it’s important and worth it! Thank you!