Embrace the Mess
“True community is messy, but it is where sanctification, revelation, confrontation, activation, and transformation takes place.” Andi Andrew
As we start this semester of Life Group communities, God is certainly going to reward your faithfulness in stepping out to lead. But, it may not be how you expect. Remember that his perfection doesn’t always look like our perfection. Leading doesn’t always fit in the box that we had planned, especially when we are leading people who may be walking through hard seasons. Leading may be messy, and you may feel unqualified to lead messy, but that is exactly why God chose you to step out in faithfulness. He is equipping you to be his hands, feet, and heart for this messy world. So what does sanctification, revelation, confrontation, activation and transformation look like in community?
Sanctification is the process of becoming more holy. It is messy because it could bring up shame, forcing us to walk through healing and forgiveness we weren’t expecting; laying habits or addictions down so that we can surrender to God the things we want to control. Sanctifying is a process of purifying, the burning and pruning what is dishonorable. “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house and ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21
Revelation, just the word sometimes gets people worked up. It is the process of understanding or revealing things we didn’t know. Sometimes this leads to learning about God on a level not explored by us before. This can change our perspective about who we thought he was or how we thought he worked. The growth and understanding of just how magnificent God truly is, always changes our perspective. This can be messy because we struggle to work through and process the change. We like things to be in tidy boxes but God’s revelation cannot be bound by our tidy boxes. We must share His GOSPEL, the resurrection and revelation of Jesus, in an unapologetic way. The revelation of how MUCH God loves us as an individual person, and our capacity to accept his unconditional love will not be realized until we get to Heaven, and that is the mess of revelation.
Confrontation, the act of calling out thoughts or feelings. Some of us can be over confrontational and offended about everything and others can be anti-confrontational. Confrontation most often has a negative connotation in our society. It can be unhealthy. Some people fear confrontation because they have experienced unhealthy confrontations or situations. But healthy, biblical confrontation uproots lies and insecurities and fills it with the love of Jesus. He molds the broken places back together so that the brokenness doesn’t continue to contaminate the conversations and relationships that we are a part of. The saying hurt people hurt people and whole people heal people is partially true. Hurt people do hurt other people, but whole people, they love others and bring them to the feet of Jesus so he can heal them! This friction, that is often associated with confrontation, can be GOOD, but it must be from a heart that is in a constant pursuit of wholeness.
Being transformed by God and allowing him to activate his spirit inside of our everyday life sound like the newest action movie. But honestly, they are in the everyday moments of allowing God to guide our thoughts and steps. God can transform our lives in a mili-second, but he most often chooses to reveal the transformation to us by allowing us to see with his eyes and be carried by his goodness. This takes time and it sometimes takes trial and error. But our weakness, that is where his glory can shine the brightest. This activation of the Holy Spirit is powerful but growth it is messy. “Don’t pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love one another with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12: 9–10
So embrace the mess. Hold tight and trust that God has a plan that he is revealing to you and to those in your life group. Invite Jesus to be the center of every conversation, whether it be in your life group or one-on-one. Don’t carry the weight of solving their (or your) mess on your shoulders. Meet with God and ask the Holy Spirit to help us guide ourselves and others. It can be messy with Jesus or without Jesus. But it can’t be holy transformation unless Jesus is at the center.
-Shanna Turney & Megan Steidley-