Friday, October 29, 2010

The Mess of Learning

"Not that I have already obtained all of this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

I'm somewhere I've been dreading for a while. I am potty training one of our now three year old twins. (Don't judge! :) ) Potty training is not something new for me. I have been to this rodeo before with the twins' two older sisters. You'd think I'd jump in with supermom gusto (and would have done so sooner) and show them who's the potty boss. But I haven't. I've procrastinated and delayed. There's one reason why. Learning is messy.

I've been making excuses and putting off the inevitable because I don't want to deal with the mess of learning. I don't want to wash out all of the soiled underpants and wipe down potties. I don't like the embarassment of having my kid pee on the floor when we are away from home. I don't like the inconvenience of the drop-everything-and-run-like-the-wind-for-the-nearest bathroom stage every time I hear those little words "I have to go potty." I've just plain been selfish, because learning is messy.

Pottytraining isn't the only thing I've pushed aside because of the mess, though. I've done it with writing and relationships and other things too. I avoid messy. I don't like it. I often want everything to go right the first time, and all of the time, but it doesn't. I am not perfect. My kids, my relationships, and my writing aren't perfect. For some strange reason, I am always thinking one day they will be. In fact, it is a recurrent newsflash to me that God doesn't ask me to struggle for perfect. Jesus already bought perfect for me. It is my calling to walk forward by grace, instead of sitting sidelined and paralyzed by fear.

Failing isn't the antithesis of learning, if I will let God use what I've learned to help me grow forward. I don't have to live in dread, fear or worry over potential, and sometimes inevitable, messes. The same God who rescued me from the mess of myself for eternity can rescue me from the mess of my learning to walk with Him here (Galatians 3:3). Life will always have some elements of chaos and imperfection, but those obstacles need not keep me from reaching for what lies ahead.

Are you like me? Do you avoid new things or hard things because you're afraid of the mess it may make to get there? Let's commit together to remember that learning is messy and that's ok. Let's get out there and live big, steadied by that perfect grace of Jesus who loved us before we ever got the crazy notion we had to be perfect anyways (Romans 5:8).

Now, off to more laundry and clean up on aisle 3's!


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