Joy in the Journey

I believe deeply that there is a joy to be found in the mess of life.

I’ll never forget one afternoon when my toddler twins and five-year-old sat at the island in our kitchen, enjoying an early spaghetti dinner. Their faces were covered in spaghetti sauce as they tried to get the noodles (which I’d cut up for easy eating) into their mouths. They were so happy. And all I could think was, “This place is a mess.”

You know the feeling. Their joy is palpable, and my anxiety is rising, thinking of all the cleaning I’ll have to do.

But, as my children got older and I began to press actively against my perfectionist tendencies, I felt something inside me begin to loosen.

Granted, it’s still there: my desire to live in a perfectly tidy home at all times (even though five humans, three of them small, live here). But it’s less intense.

God doesn’t expect perfection from us. In fact, every single one of us falls short of perfection, of the glory of God. Order and tidiness are admirable and important goals, but what are we missing when we don’t fully live our lives for fear of mess or disorder?

Consider the delight of a kid in a swimsuit with a water hose in a backyard, bare feet stomping through the mud. The squeals, the laughter, the mess of it all.

There’s so much joy to be found in the process of truly living—not just when life is cleaned up.

Do you struggle with perfection? Who defined that standard for you?  Social media? Your mother? Your neighbor who seems always to have it all together?

There’s so much joy to be found in the process of truly living—not just when life is cleaned up.

Now that sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

“God’s Way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.

 He is a shield for all who look to him for protection” 

 (II Samuel 22:31).

*For further reflection, listen to (II Samuel 22)

  1. 2 Samuel 22


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Enjoy our interview with Emily here!

Adapted from Sure as the Sunrise by Emily Ley. Copyright ©2022 by Emily Ley. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.