Messes mess with me. (See what I did there?)
As the leader of a church with dozens of staff, over 3000 people, and five locations, my office and schedule gets messy. In addition, with an overwhelmed wife, four energetic kiddos, a temperamental Chihuahua, and a rambunctious Boxer messiness easily takes over the Jones home too. So Christie and I are grateful for this wisdom crying out in the messiness:
“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4
In other words, messiness is the price of hard work and growth. Messiness is the rich byproduct of meaningful influence and relationships.
How can you enjoy the mess?
Accept the mess. Resist getting overwhelmed by it. You’ll catch up, tidy up, and clean up in due time. It always works out. In the meantime, consider this: A workout trainer once told me that when I hit the hardest reps in a workout I should smile. Smiling forces (tricks?) me mentally to enjoy and endure. So see the mess, and smile. You are blessed!
Let’s get practical. With the few moments you have, what is one place, one spot, one room you can tidy up or clean up? How about your office? Swallow the frog and tackle your desk first thing. Get organized. That’s where you spend most of your time anyway. At home, start with the space that’s most public to your guests (front porch, foyer, guest bathroom, living room, dining room, and so forth). Don’t knock it all out in one day. Give five minutes here. Ten minutes there. Something is better than nothing.
Perhaps it’s time you need to splurge and hire someone to clean the house for your sanity’s sake. If you have kids, put them to work. Your spouse too! Your family may not clean up as thoroughly as you can, but as Sheryl Sandberg says, “Done is better than perfect.” At the office, entrust your assistant to clean or tidy up and organize your space or desk. Or have your spouse, a friend, or colleague with organization skills help you. Then take them out for a steak (or tofu).
Take a deep breath. Survey the messiness. It’s the soil from which the fruit of your labors has come forth. No messiness, no fruit. Ponder the faces of those you love and those who love you. Those faces mean you get to have a mess. No faces, no mess. Which would you prefer?
Relax, friends. Blessed are the messy.