A Glorious Mess | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
September 2015

A Glorious Mess

By Jeaneth Panti

I have known to be messy at times... Okay, all the time.

When I was in high school, I was a part of performance company that took part in school plays and competitions. When I entered college, I auditioned for the theater organization in our university and was accepted. One of the most important things I learned about acting was that it required advertising - kind of selling yourself to the audience. I was a total performer back then; I loved it. Despite how much fun it was, I know how hard it is to perform and to please the crowd.

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. —1 John 4:4

Being in character for so long brought me to a new realization: a lot of people perform, not onstage nor in front of camera, but in front of real-life audience.

During the ‘70s, the Philippines, my beloved country, was under a dictatorship. My grandparents used to tell me stories of how Filipinos lived inside the strictures of ruler-imposed to-do's and should be's. That, I think, is really frightening.

But even with the dictatorship gone, it is frightening to see how many people still act the way the society dictates them to be. It's hard to perform, to showcase the best of what you've got, to act like everything is a sunny day yet a lot of us still do. And why are we like that?

To be accepted. Some of us would never dare to break free from the norms of the society. You feel that when you are different from others, you feel that more or less, you will be ridiculed, rejected. And rejection, being one of the worst feelings, is also one of the trappings of this world. Such belief takes away our ability to be genuine.

Life goal: I would rather live than perform.

I am not a perfectionist but I was afraid to create messes and to be a living mess. But I realized that it's about time to focus on my life, rather than my performance. To focus on God. Performing prohibits us from being our real selves. It allows us to show only the wonderful things to cover the messy ones.

As C. S. Lewis puts it, "We are what we believe we are." Then why don't you believe that you are wonderfully and uniquely made, more than all the great performers in the world combined?

Live, not for humans but for the One who gave it all. You don't need a cover up. Ask God to help you take away those props and be ready for the next scene of your life.

Me? I am a glorious mess and I don't apologize for being one.

Discussion Questions: What areas in your life do you think you are "performing" rather than "living"? What actions will you take to change those areas?

See more devotions from Jeaneth and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself, at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.