Samantha Wiraatmaja »

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The Glorification of Messiness (and what Grace really means)

“Celebrate the process.”

“Enjoy the journey.”

“It’s not about getting it perfect. It’s about being present, where you are, as you are.”

“It’s ok to fail. Guilt doesn’t come from God.”

It seems that, recently, the favorite tune for many bloggers/instagrammers/internetters to sing is this: Embrace the Mess.

And I love this message.

It warms my heart to know that it is not all about being perfect, getting it just right. I love the idea that the people in our lives are more important than a perfectly-checked to-do list at the end of the day.

It is so encouraging, and important, for a type-A perfectionist like me to hear this message of Grace over and over again – God loves you because you are human, not in spite of it.

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I love this message, and I also preach it (more to myself than anyone else).

But here’s where the conversation gets a little dicey: I don’t think we have done well in representing the message of Grace in its entirety.

Yes, we are human and we make mistakes. Yes, God loves us & accepts us just the way we are. He knew every sin we would ever commit and chose to send Jesus to die for us anyway. Yes, we need His mercy that flows so freely.

But Grace doesn’t just leave us there. It doesn’t leave us just as we are, because Love always seeks the best for the one it loves. Grace is so much more than a warm, adoring, doting father who blindly excuses his child of any/every wrong. That isn’t Grace, it’s mollycoddling. And mollycoddled children grow into over-indulged, self-centred, character-deficient adults. Grace that would leave us in such an awful state can’t really be Grace, can it?

So can we start a conversation, talk a little bit about what Grace really is?

I believe that Grace looks like this:

  1. God so loved the world that He sent Jesus. To be a model for all mankind of what it looks like to be fully human. Fully man. Grace broke into our mundane, mediocre lives and showed us that there could be so much more. He was the second Adam, and He showed us how God intended for man to live. He showed us what we could be and gave us a dream to live for.
  2. Jesus died for us so that the power of death and sin over us would be forever broken. Grace didn’t just show us what we could be, but made a way for us to get there.
  3. Holy Spirit came to be with man with His power. The obstacles were removed, and His power came, so that man was empowered to once more be fully man… as God intended in the Garden of Eden.

Grace tells us that we are loved unconditionally, accepted us as we are, mistakes and all.

Grace shows us the greatness of who we could be, that we are not defined by our sins or weaknesses because God created each one of us for greatness.

Grace empowers us to be able to reach the fullness of all that God has for us.

Grace is God’s bestowed ability to do what His truth demands. It is God’s divine empowerment in our lives (quote: John Bevere, Hearts Ablaze). Grace enables us to be better… it empowers us to be the best version of who God created us to be.

We have gotten really good at the celebration of the process. We embrace our mess, having learned to love ourselves for who we are. The message of self-acceptance and self-love all across the world is as ubiquitous as water – because the world both needs it and wants it.

But may I submit to you that without the true message of Grace – the empowerment to positive change/growth – self-acceptance isn’t really self-acceptance at all. It just becomes a glorified, euphemistic cover up for self-centeredness that is lazy and spurns responsibility and consequences.

When we paint only half a picture and tell our followers that that is the full truth, we shrink God to the size of our self-made boxes and we reduce their expectations for what God can do… and that’s dangerous.

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So here’s to celebration of the process. Celebration of our humanity. And most of all, celebration that God’s grace – His power – has made it possible for us to be truly human… the kind of human that Adam was meant to be, and the kind of human that Jesus showed the world we could be.

  • Joanne ViolaOctober 27, 2014 - 7:54 pm

    This is such a good post, putting grace in its right perspective. Grace forgives & covers but also desires for us to change. Loved this! Visiting today from Inspire Me Mondays & am so glad that I did! Have a great week!ReplyCancel

  • HannahOctober 27, 2014 - 9:51 pm

    really needed this!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 27, 2014 - 9:52 pm

    I agree that Grace isn’t an excuse for sin. And I very much agree that the “lets just wallow in imperfection” is not a healthy mind-set.

    BUT, I strongly disagree that being untidy is a sin, or even necessarily in need of remedy (assuming that all in the house are happy with the status quo). I think more often, a perfect house is a sign of neglect of truly important things. The money that was spent on decorating was spent on self-indulgence. The time spent vacuuming twice a day was taken from Bible Study. The time doing extra yard work was taken from the education of our children. I am very grateful to have grown up with an untidy Mom : )ReplyCancel

    • SarahOctober 28, 2014 - 12:21 am

      It’s interesting because it’s not so much whether or not your house is clean or tidy that reveals a sin issue but lies in your own heart. A woman could be completely untidy because she focuses on her children and her husband or because she is so involved in helping others. Or she could be untidy because she feels she has a right because she works hard or why doesn’t anyone ever help her or if she just didn’t have to XYZ then the house would always be picked up. A woman could have a tidy house because she wakes up diligent and uses spare moments to work fast and quickly and because she believes a clean house is most welcoming to family and friends. Or she could be stressed out and anxious about how others perceive her or about being the perfect domestic housewife and never allowing a mess to gather in the house.

      I’ve been all of those women at one point or other. Only God can convict your heart of which woman you are, but it may be missing the point to think that the state of a house reflects the type of woman inside the house.ReplyCancel

  • SarahOctober 28, 2014 - 12:26 am

    Grateful I stumbled across your blog. I’ve been dissatisfied lately with finding blogs that speak deep truths, that repeat the gospel over and over because that’s what my soul longs for in this season…blogs like yours aren’t common and thank you for writing.ReplyCancel

  • Gentle JoyOctober 28, 2014 - 12:44 am

    We certainly do need to keep our eyes on Christ… in good times, hard times, sad times… and more. I weary of the current mantra of “loving yourself” “accepting yourself” etc… that leads to staying the same. God has a plan for our lives.. and many times that involves change… not staying the same. Thank you for your post.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ 12 Twenty SevenOctober 28, 2014 - 1:21 am

    So glad I came across your space from The Peony Project! I needed this today, friend!ReplyCancel

  • Achama U (On the Road to Healing)October 28, 2014 - 2:30 am

    A lot to think about here, but very much needed I think. I probably come from another leaning (denomination) that has overemphasised works which is also a very dangerous place to be in. Yahushua speaks of the road being narrow and not very well trodden, when I think of this I get the word ‘balance’. It’s easy to lean to one extreme or the other and miss the beauty hidden walking that narrow road. The key as you say is to submit to the power of the Holy Spirit at work within you leading you on that true path of Righteousness (psalm 23).

    Thanks for sharing xReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Sustaining the PowersOctober 28, 2014 - 2:53 am

    I really needed to hear this today. Thanks for sharing your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Erin | It All Matters MomOctober 28, 2014 - 4:06 am

    Yes! I totally agree. Yes, it’s okay not to be perfect, but we need to be in a continual process of sanctification. We should always be trying to spend more time with God, to become more Christ-like in everything from our thoughts to our actions. He accepts us, but then asks us to press on towards the prize. Great post!

  • DaraOctober 28, 2014 - 5:07 am

    I love how you say grace empowers us….that it doesn’t just leave us there. Through grace, we can DO and BE more. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • LaurenOctober 29, 2014 - 1:11 am


  • KaylaOctober 29, 2014 - 3:10 am

    Thank you for this! I am a fan of being in the thick of it and wading in messy territories, but I also know that Jesus came for a purpose and taught us how to love + do + reflect his glory. Grace means nothing we can do can make God love us more, and that’s a mind-blowing realization that I think we’re all on the journey of figuring out. Grace isn’t an excuse to rest on our laurels or skate by, but rather it should fuel us to reflect God’s amazing truth and love to each other and to a watching world. Thanks for sharing! xoReplyCancel

  • RonjaOctober 29, 2014 - 3:32 am

    What a great post and important post, Samantha! This is what has been on my heart as well, and you worded everything so wonderfully. We need to hear the Law so that we can see our need for Grace. And we need to hear this side of grace as well, the one that doesn’t just accept us but transforms us to more like Christ. Thank you for this important post! Blessings!ReplyCancel

  • Kay BrunerOctober 29, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Grace is not an excuse, but it accepts us right where we are. That’s hard to comprehend. No wonder we swing back and forth on that pendulum… After many years on a try-hard gerbil wheel, my life is significantly more messy than it used to be. I was taught so carefully to color inside the lines, OR ELSE. So maybe I err on the side of Grace now. But God knows my heart and is the keeper of it, and I’m trusting Him to show me what I need to know.ReplyCancel

    • Samantha Lee-WiraatmajaOctober 29, 2014 - 4:21 pm

      Hi Kay, I know what you mean. I grew up in a Church that, though never explicitly, brought home the message that any little sin made me a terrible person. And I had to, like you said, learn to color carefully within the lines or else be seen as a “bad christian”… at the end of the day, it’s a journey with God in finding out who He is, and therefore who we are in Him (:ReplyCancel

  • Amy HagerupOctober 29, 2014 - 9:19 am

    Thanks for this, Samantha. I love this: “Grace enables us to be better… it empowers us to be the best version of who God created us to be.” I’ve been studying Hebrews 12 and have been learning how trusting Christ through all my trials opens up His strength . . . His grace. . . to me. awesome. Go gently, AmyReplyCancel

  • JessicaOctober 29, 2014 - 12:57 pm

    This makes me think of the song by Chris Tomlin: Your Grace is Enough! Love this post! His grace is enough!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah PoppyOctober 29, 2014 - 5:28 pm

    I love this quote “It’s not about getting it perfect. It’s about being present, where you are, as you are.” Great post. #TeamMMReplyCancel

  • LeahOctober 30, 2014 - 12:31 am

    Thank you for taking the conversation a step further. I love that you have taken your own spin on such a common concept. I also love that you were completely honest with your opinion and didn’t hold back!ReplyCancel

  • April BoyerOctober 30, 2014 - 7:17 am

    Great perspective. I needed the reminder of what grace truly looks like.


  • Dawn BoyerOctober 30, 2014 - 12:21 pm

    Grace is glorious when we truly see it for exactly what it is. It is bold and it is beautiful and when we have grace eyes we are able to take off blinders and see the way He does.
    🙂 Blessings,

  • carlee strattonOctober 31, 2014 - 1:28 pm

    I love this so much! To me, embracing the messiness and grace means I don’t have to be ashamed of where I am now because I know how far He is going to take me despite my own downfalls. Whenever I start to become overwhelmed by the current “mess” I’m in, I embrace it while striving to move forward and remember that he brings us through our messes and that he can use all of our experiences to His glory. Grace reminds me that it’s okay to have complete faith in him one day and then doubt his plan the next when things get scary, but then from that point on it’s about leaning on Him to grow that faith and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to become the people he meant for us to become.ReplyCancel

  • PatriciaOctober 31, 2014 - 2:57 pm

    I think of how, in the life of a believer, it doesn’t stop with “me and my salvation.” Life goes on but this time, with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. He’s not surprised at our humanness so we shouldn’t be either, but at the same time he’s also changing us from glory to glory. Great post.ReplyCancel

  • Tawni SattlerOctober 31, 2014 - 4:11 pm

    Wow, such a great post! I needed this reminder, badly.

    This especially is something I’m having to relearn as of late: “…it is not all about being perfect, getting it just right. I love the idea that the people in our lives are more important than a perfectly-checked to-do list at the end of the day.”

    Thank you.

  • The Wellness WifeNovember 1, 2014 - 12:20 am

    So true. Self-centeredness is a real problem in our society today. Of course, God will forgive us if we veer off path in our self-centeredness and are truly sorry. But, if we stay off path and continue to make a mess of our lives and hurt others, we will have to answer for it on judgement day.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl CopeNovember 1, 2014 - 4:31 am

    I agree, grace is empowerment. Who really wants to stay in sin anyway (if they’re saved at least!!)?ReplyCancel

  • LizNovember 2, 2014 - 6:31 am

    I love this post. I can totally relate. I recently wrote one very similar and had a lot of friends/moms thank me for sharing as a reminder. Thank you for your reminder!!

  • Stacy @ Anastasia VintageNovember 2, 2014 - 7:32 am

    Perfectly stated! God loves and forgives us in spite of our faults, but His grace is also sufficient to brings change in our lives!ReplyCancel

  • LauraNovember 3, 2014 - 10:59 am

    This is a great message! I am so thankful for Grace and for that fact that God loves every part of me, even the messy stuff. But…I don’t want to stay were I am. I want to grow. I want to constantly be striving to be better…to become more like Jesus.ReplyCancel

  • Catherine ShortNovember 4, 2014 - 1:05 am

    I’ve been in a study where I’m starting to understand Grace better. It’s a word that gets used so often, but not always explained.ReplyCancel

  • MistyNovember 5, 2014 - 8:33 am

    Thank you Samantha for sharing this at the Family Fun Friday Link Up. Grace is something that I am very passionate about, but as you said we must remember that while we receive grace it doesn’t allow us to stay put in our lives. I will be featuring this post at this week’s link up on my blog. Blessings!ReplyCancel

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