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James Watkins

At a conference, I shared that this “award-winning author” and “globe-trotting speaker” is a great, big, slobbering mess. I have clinical depression, ADD and . . . what was I saying? Oh, yes, symptoms of mild Aspergers: I don’t like having my rigid routine disrupted (I need 24-hour notice to be spontaneous), I hate traveling and being in new situations plus, although I love people, being around them drains my emotional batteries (I’m an off-the-chart introvert on the Myers-Briggs assessment). And so this outgoing, outspoken, outrageous author/speaker is in reality an Oscar-worthy performance by this introverted, inadequate and insecure actor.

So, I asked the people in the audience to turn to the person on their right and say, “I’m a mess.” Then, I asked them to turn to the person on their left and say, “You’re a mess.” After the keynote, a woman came up to me in tears, gave me a hug (more like the Heimlich maneuver) and sobbed, “I’m so glad someone beside me is a mess.”

It is liberating to realize, “I’m a mess. You’re a mess.” In fact, that should come as no surprise.

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

    All our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

    No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

    We are unworthy servants (Luke 17:10).

But here’s the wonderful mess-age for all of us messes: We have a Mess-iah!

Just look at the messes that God has chosen to use: Moses wasn’t a speaker. Gideon was the least of his tribe. David was a shepherd boy when he squared off with Goliath. Daniel was a POW. Jeremiah was suicidal with depression. Peter had a severe case of “hoof in the mouth” disease. James and John were hot heads nick-named “Sons of Thunder.” A little boy’s lunch could never feed five thousand hungry men. The woman at the well was the original “Desperate Housewife.” Paul had a “thorn in the flesh.” Mark was a quitter. Timothy was timid and sickly.

So, be encouraged. The Messiah can empower and use messes like you and me for His purposes. Paul writes:

    When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. . . . I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

So, turn to the person on your right and say, “I’m a mess. You’re a mess.” Now turn to the person on your left and say, “That’s why we have a Messiah.”

For more hope and humor, visit jameswatkins.com.

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