I know it’s a trend, both in culture and in churches. Seriously, Matthew McConaughey has really been on the “authentic” bandwagon in recent years.
Like with his Lincoln ad campaign:
Or in his new venture with Wild Turkey Bourbon, about which he told the New York Times :“The great news is that Wild Turkey hasn’t changed in all these years — it’s totally authentic. And that appeals to millennials. Because they can smell fake. Some manicured, bearded hipster soliciting them? No, thanks.” Read the full article here
So for my millennial friends who, according to McConaughey, crave authenticity, I have a confession to make… I am authentically a hot mess.
If your’re not familiar with that lingo, picture what happens when your pot of noodles boils over. You’re left with that white foamy water bubbling and crusting over on your stove. #hotmess literally. And it’s incredibly difficult to clean off. I might know from personal experience… multiple times. (click here for tips on how not to do that while cooking)
Urban dictionary defines hot mess as not being prepared, clumsy, and just all round scatter brained; Or messy hair; extremely disorganized; in need of much improvement
Oh yes, I can relate to that. For example:
- my hair will never be “professional”. It’s barely “not frizzy” and way too thick to wear short. So long and big and unpredictably curly is my go-to look
- I cannot grasp the art of being on time. Maybe within 10 minutes of the start time, yes. But the only things I’m on time for occur at work, which is next door to my house.
- I have horrible skills at matching my outfits. Perfectly coifed and coordinated is not in my vocabulary. In my world, not naked and no holes is a successful day. Days when I can acceptably wear sweat pants are the best!
- If I did not have a planner, we would never have groceries, or go to the doctor, or turn in important paperwork. The planner is a new life rhythm, and I love it! Important things aren’t forgotten anymore, though they might be written on scrap paper and shoved into the zipper pocket of my planner.
- I never know what time it is or how long something takes to accomplish. See above for how this affects my timeliness.
- I’m much better at starting things than finishing them. Check out my #beforeim30 post to see what projects I’m determined to finish. (Upon review, my husband pointed out that my goal was a “30 before 30″list, which I have yet to finish compiling)
- Some days I forget I’m a pet owner (don’t worry, my family makes sure they eat). By the way, we have 2 cats. They have the same genders, ages, and personalities as our 2 children.
- I consistently spill coffee on my dress clothes. Multiple times in the same day. Typically on Sunday mornings when I am about to stand in front of 125 people and preach. And we record video for online and home bound distribution. Feel free to watch. Maybe make a game out of spotting the coffee stains…
- Though I have spent a lot of time learning about basic gardening, I tend to feign ignorance rather than admit the ridiculous amount of plants I regularly kill by accident. I can’t even grow a sunflower (true story).
On a different day, I’ll share some of the joys and gifts in my life, which I am aware of and celebrating, but take a moment to sit in your “hot mess” life with me. We all have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and people around us. Culture, background, age, gender, profession, even height come with expectations, most of which we cannot live up to.
So here’s where the hope is: In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul writes to the church that the people need to stop panicking about their current realities. He begins the discussion in the context of marriage, especially a partnership where only one spouse converts, but continues in talking about ethnicity, daily practices, relationship status, and position in society (slave, poor, free, etc). All of these things are a part of your life, yes, but don’t make them the binding issues in your life of faith. Verse 17 says “And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.” (MSG) I’d even say, God, not your current position in life, defines the expectations you should live by.
I cannot be anything more than my chaotic self. I cannot be anything less than my true self. I’ve spent too many days cowering, questioning, and living a lesser version of myself than God created me to be. As a pastor, a wife, a mother of 2, and a daughter far away from family, I don’t have space to be fake. It’s too hard. I don’t have time to live up to other people’s ideals. It’s too far removed from my way of life.
I’m a hot mess, I’m unique, I’m authentic because I’m exactly what I need to be in this moment.
Verses 29-31 continue, saying: I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.
In the grand scheme of God’s plan, we don’t need to waste time being complicated, being something we’re not. God wants us– as followers, as leaders, as simply people– to be the most whole version of who we were created to be. With authenticity, we have space in our lives for our calling to grow in holiness and to serve the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Even if this world lasts far beyond our lifetimes, our own time on earth is too short to be anything but our God-given selves, messy hair and all.
So there’s my authentic, ridiculous self, Truth time: who are you?