When the abstract paintings of Jackson Pollock were first introduced people said, that’s not art. It’s too weird, too chaotic.
Everyone hated his work. No one would buy it.
“What a mess,” they said. “My two year old could do that.” Then, one day art collector Peggy Guggenheim looked at a painting and said,
“Not a mess, people. You’re looking at a masterpiece.”
In 2006 one of Pollock’s paintings sold for $ 140,000,000.
We are all like Pollock’s paintings , a pile of mess or a masterpieces to the people we meet with. Those who see us as mess hate us but those who see our mess as masterpieces are happy to be with us, they are willing to do anything to have us in their circles.
To be honest with you, everyone is flawed. I find it sad when people are surprised or angry at celebrities when their famous celebrities make a mess, we forget that they too are human beings like us.
We live in a society that perpetuates perfection. We see celebrities with their perfect lives and their perfect looks. We look at our neighbors and think that their job, house, or relationship is perfect. We strive for that perfection. We envy that perfection. Then we become upset when such perfection is out of reach.
Just to be honest with you, you and I are struggling with this realm of wanting to be perfect and yet we feel flawed up. It’s the truth for me and the truth for you – for all of us. Every one of us have these competing voices in our heads. The voice that says that “I am a masterpiece” and the one that says “I am a mess”, “I am a loser.” Sadly, the the voice that says “I am a messed up” is usually the loudest voice we hear. That “mess” voice has been trained and perfected over many years of self-doubt, criticism, mistakes, etc. Sometimes that voice was fed by someone we thought was a friend, a well-meaning but misinformed family member, teacher, sibling, you name it. At times, that voice gets so loud and so big that we can’t hear anything else. The “masterpiece” voice has been stifled and disjointed. But here’s the truth: God sees you and me as an absolute work of art. That is so hard for me to process. I can see all sorts of beautiful qualities in those around me, but I have the hardest time accepting it for myself. God is the one that speaks those powerful, loving words into your heart. He is the one that makes your amazing qualities visible to those around you so that they can see them too.
Interestingly the Bible is full of people who felt “messed up” like we do. Adam and Eve felt that they were not good enough as they were, they felt a miss and insecure when confronted by Satan; Abraham, the forefather of faith, let other men walk off with his wife on two different occasions. (Genesis 12 and 20);Elijah himself ran for his safety after performing a miracle and hid in a brook to die, he felt messed up; Job, supposedly a contemporary of Abraham and the epitome of faith, suffered from the nagging of a faithless wife. (Job 2:9);Moses, the humblest man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:13), had a very serious problem with his temper (Exodus 2, 32:19; Numbers 20:11); Solomon, the wisest man in the world, was arguably the world’s greatest sex addict with 1,000 sexual partners. (1 Kings 11). I can go on giving examples about heros in the Bible who messed up in their lives. This illustrates lives of people who felt messed up, lives of people like these tell us that our thoughts and words have the power to make or break our future stories. We have the power to either accept that future or measure it with what we believe we are.
A few years back I listened to Watoto Choir, Watoto Choir for those who don’t know them are a Christian children choir from Uganda. They performed a titled “I am not forsaken”. The song told a story of kids who had suffered from lots of challenges yet they were hopeful of their future. As I sat there and watched these children sing I was reminded in a very personal way that I too was not forgotten and that God knew my name. He knew where I was, and He wanted me. As a Kenyan who grew up in poverty I know that it took total conviction and change of heart to see and believe on being masterpieces. In their humble states it is easier to feel self pity and see their “messed up “ stories than to believe that their maker is transforming them to be masterpieces. How do you feel today? Do you feel “messed up” or do feel you are being transformed to be a masterpiece?
Embracing your flaws or feelings of being a “mess”, with your head high is not easy. I have listed some tips that are helpful to us all in this journey of growing towards becoming masterpieces:
#1 love yourself, your whole self
We often associate what is a mess in our lives with physical imperfections, but no matter type think you are, you cannot let it consume your soul. Embracing that you are human, a flawed human, who is not and will never be perfect is the first step to truly loving yourself—your WHOLE self. Despite all of it, you are still beautiful, inside and out. Never forget that.
#2 self-awareness is very important
Being in tune with your emotions and physical being is key. Understanding the way that you are has an effect on others and becoming more aware helps you personally and professionally, as well as helps you identify how you can grow and improve.
#3 how you feel about yourself affects your relationships
Growing up in Kenya I learnt at vet early age that I had please others in order to get their attention or support. I made sure that my dad, teachers and others were happy with me. This very good for me because I seen as a very well behaved young man, and sometimes I got favoured. But on other hand it was not always s good for me because I had always please people, even when it meant it cost me more to do what they wanted. This changed after I had lived in Canada for a few years. My first job was a live-in caregiver in a group home. Soon after employment a few of my co-workers quit their jobs. That meant I was left alone to take care of four persons with disabilities. It was very tough juggling cooking, complete care for the ones on wheelchairs and cleaning. After a few months of doing this I could not do it anymore. I spoke with my manager requesting for additional support. At first my manager could not believe that I was brave to be asking for support. But I did not relent, I was tired. The agency offered me some respite support.
Since that time I have learnt that You cannot fully love someone else until you love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, your relationships will suffer. Plus, those who are most comfortable with who they are tend to exhibit more confidence and have more productive relationships, instead of those spent as an uphill battle against your insecurities.
#4 Someone else may love your “mess”.
You and I have people out there who appreciate us just as we are. These people have been set up by the Creator to be our anchors. Occasionally I meet with people who come to my life wanting to commit suicide. Some of the reasons why they want to do so is because they feel they have no one in their lives who care about them. As I journey with them through their pain they realize that they have so much to given and that their lives were meant for greatness.
Like these friends who come to our lives at their point of need, you and I deserve to be loved for our whole selves—including our flaws, and not despite them. Like I’ve mentioned, your flaws are what make you the person that you are and you wouldn’t be that person without them. Embrace who you are and surround yourself with people who embrace you, too.
#5 your insecurities will only hold you back
Your insecurities can stop you from reaching your full potential. You’ll never pursue your dreams if you’re constantly being held back by the “bad things” about yourself. In order to move forward, you have to accept your flaws. Of course you can do things to better them or change them, but you can’t do that until you embrace them.
#6 because focusing on what’s wrong means you miss what’s right
We are so distracted by what’s wrong that we forget to acknowledge what’s right. If you spend all of your time obsessing over the negatives, you’ll miss all the good stuff. Just because you are one thing doesn’t mean it overpowers all the good about you. That’s what matters.
Above all remember God created you as a masterpiece, that is the bottom line.