I witnessed something historic during the U.S. Open tennis tournament: the referee warned one of the players that his chair was too messy. I’ve seen a lot of bad behavior on tennis courts in my time: rackets being tossed, arguments over line calls, lots of golf words being used, but a messy chair?? My formative years saw Illie Nastase, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe wreak havoc on courts across the globe. I had the privilege of seeing them play in person and not once do I remember a penalty for messy court chairs. Almost coming to blows on the court, yes, but messy digs, no. I’m glad the tennis honchos don’t have jurisdiction over my office study. I’d be fined and no doubt have to forfeit at least a game, possibly the set and match!

My office study is a mess, but it’s my mess, and please let the record state, I’ve never pretended to be orderly. My Superstar Assistant knows when the loose paper could become a fire hazard or the stacked books could tumble like a Jinga game gone bad. Plus, contrary to popular belief being messy isn’t all bad. Type-A’s and order-freaks will roll their eyes and tsk-tsk but not everyone has the clean-gene. This is even truer of our faith lives. Even the most orderly among us encounters the messy elements that occur when faith collides with life. The life of Jesus and the Disciples, and later Paul and James, points to the utter messiness of giving up control of life to follow God’s calling. Add the entirely messy reality of sin to the mix and we have a massive mess on our hands. And this is O.K., because this is the point that we can best see God’s power to clean us up. As Mike Yaconelli writes: “Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test, it is a relationship.” He goes on to say, “God reaches into our mess and fixes our unfixedness.” Odd wordplay, but God’s Absolute truth.

So don’t despair or get down on yourself. The first (or next) step in getting fixed is one prayer away. It’s all about trying. Like Frank:

Dear God,

I’m doing the best I can.


Michael McCullar
Formations Pastor
Johns Creek Baptist Church

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