Getting in the Mess

It was a mundane, every-day experience of feeding my little one in his highchair that turned into a holy moment for me.

The feeding started off clean, but by the end of it, the dark purple berry and oats slop was EVERYWHERE! Covering his hands, smeared all over his tray, on the floor, and then brushed along all the places he touched- face, chair, hair, table, etc.

I wanted to stay as far away from his mess as I could. I mean, I don’t want that sticky goop all over me! It’s okay if it stays on him, but I’m not about to get it all over me too.

Then it hit me. No, in order for me to help him, I have to get in the mess with him. I have to get my hands dirty if I want him to be clean.

Isn’t that what we’re called to do as believers as well? When those around us are hurting or in need, we are not to be bystanders. We are to enter in with them. We are to share in their mess.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This is our command.

But as we do this- as we help- we might get messy too. We might feel their burden, their hurt, and their pain. We might get covered in their “goop,” but this is necessary in order for them to heal.

This is a picture of the Church of Christ.

This is also exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He didn’t come to watch us in our hurt and pain. No, He came to offer us HELP- the greatest help there is- Salvation! God bore our sins and burdens on himself so that WE could be healed and whole in Him. He got ugly and took our mess upon himself so that we could be clean.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up [our] wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

Where have you experienced this ‘entering in’ to someone else’s mess? Or has someone done this for you?

By Kaitlyn Fiedler

Kaitlyn Fiedler lives near Greenville, SC with her husband and baby boy. She spends her days studying for her seminary classes and simply enjoying her days being a wife, a biological mom, and a new foster mom. She writes regularly about faith and womanhood on her blog: You can also find her on Instagram @kaitlyn_fiedler.

8 replies on “Getting in the Mess”

It’s human nature to avoid anything that causes us pain or discomfort. I think most of us sincerely want to be helpful when we know someone is hurting. The easiest, cleanest, most comfortable thing to do is deliver something and go back to our lives. We can avoid the mess that way. Right!? In my own experience, I’ve needed someone to take the time to listen. I think we need to be present in the pain of others. let them talk, share memories, cry, grieve, and be there to give hugs when needed. 😊

I’ve felt this a lot at work with those who are in the midst of recovering from a brain jury. Just the weight of being with someone during their hardest days. Crying with them, praying for them, etc. can leave me feeling exhausted and burdened for people but also always pushes me closer to Christ and leaves me with an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness that the mess is not the end and one day he will wipe it all away for good. Thanks for this message! So good!!! It’s definitely worth it to get in there. And I don’t always do it well. Usually it’s much easier and more comfortable to stay back and stay “clean.”

Thank you for the comment, Carrie! That’s such a great example of how you feel this in your work. So hard but so rewarding at the same time. I love how you say, “the mess is not the end and one day he will wipe it all away.” Amen!!

Everyday Christ would “get messy” with his disciples. It’s easier to walk away from someone that’s in a painful spot. But true love walks besides the person in the painful mess.
Well said sister!

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