Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Messy Life

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

How can I keep from messing up? What happens when I mess up anyway?

What do you do when you have a pen that won’t write? You sling it a few times in that stabbing motion, right? Hoping gravity will somehow jar the ink loose? Seriously, has that ever worked for anybody? After that, of course, you scribble. Then you scribble bigger and faster. You scribble hard and long. Then you scribble harder and longer. You scribble until you’ve scribbled a hole right through the paper. Then you stab the paper a few more times. That’s when you throw the pen.

You then look around to see if anyone saw you throw the pen. Then while you’re feeling silly for throwing the pen, you pick it up and put it in your pocket—as you pretend it slipped out of your hand. And few across the room. Later when you get home, you find your pocketed pen leaked and left a giant splotch of blue on the front of your favorite shirt.

Argh, already. Pen! Why can’t you simply do your job? Consistently! Without making a mess!

I have to wonder if God ever asks that question about me. Is there such a thing as pen-hypocrisy? I’ll judge that pen all day for not consistently delivering. I’ll judge it for making messes. But if I get honest, I’ll admit there are entirely too many times when I’m not consistent in little steps of obedience the Lord has called me to walk out every day. And even though I’m not where I know I should be, or I’m not doing what He’s already shown me to do, I’m still fussing and scribbling because life isn’t unfolding the way I planned. What a mess. It’s a mess I’ve made with my own hands, mind you. I know that. The ink ends up everywhere except where it was intended. Not a pretty picture.

Life is much less messy when we stay consistent in His Word and consistent in what He’s called us to. I know:  doi. No big revelation here. But sometimes it’s the simplest things that give us the most trouble. It’s neglecting those simple disciplines that can leave us frustrated at the end of the day—big ink stain and no eternal fruit. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work,” NLT.
So here are today’s lessons to live by. Lesson number one: Obey God. Number two is related: Stay consistent in doing what He’s told us to do in His Word. Then just watch. That mess you made? The hole in the paper? Confess and start again. He can redeem the mess. Even make it…art.  

Oh, and lesson number three: A cheap pen is—what? A buck? For crying out loud, just get a new one. 

Sometimes it's the simplest things that give us the most trouble - @RhondaRhea on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

A Messy Life - thoughts from @RhondaRhea on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist for lots of great magazines, including HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and more. She is the author of 10 nonfiction books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? and coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea. She and her daughters host the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ. Rhonda enjoys traveling the country speaking at all kinds of conferences and events. She and her pastor/hubs have five grown children and live in the St. Louis area.


  1. That's kind of you, Dennis. I don't want to have to tell you that I'm a little bit expert in MESSY, lol!

  2. I love it Ms. Rhonda. It's the messes I make in my life that help to teach me humility and deepen my dependence on God. I thank God that He brings messy people into my life; that's where most of my writing inspirations come from. God's blessings ma'am...

    1. Thanks, Jim. I don't even want to tell you how many of my life lessons were learned from inside some mess or another. Oh man. Just tons. Thanks for being on my team. :)

  3. Hi Rhonda,

    Oh I so feel you. I managed to have my heel of my foot fall prey to an attack door! Seriously, it snapped back and bit me! Not fun. But yes, I'm still going to work and writing at night.


    1. That vicious beast of a door! That thing should be caged! So sorry. Way to hang in there.

  4. Interesting blog and how applicable! My 'out-of-ink-pens' end up in the trash can after a few of your antics! Thanks for the analogy...thought provoking.

  5. Thanks for commiserating, Sheri! Bless you!