An overflowing cup, and why messiness isn’t always bad

April 30, 2013 — Leave a comment


While praying recently, I saw a picture. I don’t often get pictures and so when I do, I tend to take notice.

The picture was of a person pouring water into a cup. The closer to the top of the cup the water got, the more cautiously the man poured the water. As the water lapped the edge of the cup, the man stopped pouring. As he stepped back, it became clear he was afraid of the cup overflowing.

Despite there being plenty of water left in the container from which he was pouring, and despite the fact his aim seemed to be to empty that container, he stopped short of overflowing.


So often, I hold back from giving all of myself over to God.

There’s a variety of reasons for this, but one is that I’m afraid of the mess. Because giving ourselves over to Jesus will result in mess.

But the beautiful thing about this mess is that it’s just that – beautiful.

In our world, mess gets a bad rap. Being messy is considered a character flaw. Which I think is a shame, because often out of mess come the most beautiful creations. Out of the rubble that surrounds us can rise the most incredible monuments to hope and love.

It’s also a shame because life with Jesus is beautifully messy. It’s messy because his kingdom is so backward – the first are last, the poor are rich, the weak are strong. It’s messy because he takes us to places the world scoffs at. It’s messy because it takes who we are, completely shakes us up and re-aligns our lives with God’s kingdom.

Sometimes I’m not ready for the mess. I’m not ready for what handing myself over to Jesus will mean. I’m not ready to have my life turned upside down, to be realigned to God’s perspective. But the promises that come with that mess? They are amazing. Life-changing. Culture-shifting.

The challenge I face is to open up to the mess. To embrace the mess. To recognise that in the mess is hope, love and grace.

All resting in that beautiful mess.


“You are a beautiful mess, you are the melody.” William Paul Young

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