how to find Okay in your twenty-something mess

LATELY I’ve just felt messy. More than usual.

Do you ever feel that way? Just… chaotic?


Inappropriate, uncool, out of context, uncomfortable, socially awkward, confused, blemished, blunder-prone…

I could go on.

As a twentysomething trying to establish myself in a city, there are times when I’m like, YEAH, I’m doing this twenties thing just fine. I’m cool. I’m adult. I’ve got this. Let’s do this. And then at some point I realize I don’t know what in the actual heck I am doing.

I think most of us like to believe we don’t fall under the category of messy.

Let’s be real, I LOVE when things are going my way. Don’t you? When I am smooth and charming, when I say the right thing, when I look in the mirror and like what I see, when I feel secure in what I think about the world and life and political issues and God and myself.

Even just writing this, I’m like… gosh, why am I putting my messy thoughts out for the world to see? Shouldn’t I keep quiet and maintain the facade that I’m put together, and like everyone else refrain from drawing attention to my imperfections?

But hey, that’s just not who I’m called to be. I want to be real so that you can be real too.

So… We’re back to square one: Hi I’m Jordan, I feel messy.

You know what I tend to do when I feel messy? Criticize.

I criticize myself, first and especially, but then others too because that’s just how we operate as humans. I start trying to reach all these standards and subconsciously all day long that critical voice mumbles low and threatening, about how I SHOULD be and what I SHOULD be doing. You know the voice. I know you do.

Finally, and it might take minutes or days or weeks or even months (those are the messiest times amiright), I reach the threshold where I can’t take my “yuck” anymore. And I get all overwhelmed and mopey and gosh why can’t I just get my shit together Carol, then suddenly — it dawns on me.


Jesus is real.

What? It’s okay? Everyone’s messy? My fumbling through life doesn’t disqualify me from goodness?

What? What.

Thank GOD.

It’s like hearing it for the first time all over again.

And then I can breathe. Living in light of grace is so much better. Why don’t we do that all the time? Huh?

Maybe you do, good for you.

But for the majority of us (people I know at least), grace seems to be difficult to remember.

And you know why I think that is?

  1. Social media = highlight reel of people’s lives. We “see” people we don’t “see” in real life all the time, but only on the internet, and only the parts of their lives that they want you to see. They don’t broadcast the argument they just had with their girlfriend, or how they tripped over their words last time they were trying to explain something important.
  1. Christian culture. Sorry to pick on us for a second, but can I just state something I think we all already know? We are of a faith that preaches second chances, and grace, and how undesirable qualities do not disqualify you from the in-crowd (aka Jesus’ squad), but then we also kinda do this little hipster-dress-code, avoiding-certain-topics, only-inviting-the-people-we-are-comfy-with… thing.

This isn’t new. But I’m just saying it again so we might be a little more aware, and be reminded to actively push against this.

I have been intentionally walking with Jesus for almost four years now. That’s not a very long time… from the time in my life when I decided I was too messy to keep trying on my own, when I realized I’d exhausted my options, was in dire straits, in need of saving. But somehow, as I learned more and moved through different communities and was given spiritual leadership positions and grew up a little, I began to think that I wasn’t as messy as when I started. That somehow, I didn’t need Jesus as much as I did Day One.

But guess what. False.

This is culture, not truth.

Lecrae gets it: “I’m not a Christian because I’m strong and have it all together. I’m a Christian because I’m weak and admit I need a Savior.”

My need never changed. My level of inability to function without Christ never changed. So why do I walk around trying to prove that I’m Okay on my own?

I wanted to ask these questions here because I think we all do this a little bit. It’s one of those things that we don’t really talk about… especially Christians. And that’s why I’m talking about it.

I’m thankful that God gives us revelation and wisdom, that He teaches us and sanctifies us and that after years of walking beside/trotting behind him, we can look and act really different. I believe that there is such power to become less messy, and more functional, in the name of Jesus. But also — you are human. I am human. We will always, while on this earth, come back to our own metaphorical Ground Zero of ashes and messiness and pain and great need. But that’s okay, because He’s got it covered. Literally.

If you are feeling messy today, or this week, or this month, or if you are like me and your messiness is because your whole year has just been throwing off your groove and cramping your style at the same exact time… I want you to know you aren’t alone. You may be surrounded by people who seem put together or less chaotic than you, but let me remind you that every Christian entered a relationship with Christ from a place of great need. No one is above this.

If you’re not a Christian and you feel messy, that exact feeling is why Jesus came to this earth. To give you a way out of that chaos and into freedom. It’s amazing! All you have to do is seek him.

To end this, I’d like for us all to just meditate on the wise words of Miley Cyrus 1.0… “Nobody’s perfect.”

Ok just kidding.

But the point is, we’re all on level playing ground here. Take that in and let it calm you, friend. I’ll let it calm me, too. I don’t know what the even heck I am doing half the time, and maybe you don’t either. But here’s what I do know: you and I? We’re loved. We’re imperfect, and we’re loved. And because of that, in the [wiser] words of Bob Goff, we can go forth and love everybody without agenda.

loving those who experience panic, anxiety, or depression.

WHEN a person is feeling completely out of control – body, senses, perceptions, thoughts – especially if those symptoms seem to have no direct cause, it is a crucial time for that person to be loved and cared for so they don’t feel alone in addition to the confusion. Sometimes, however, helping those who are dealing with “invisible illness” can be somewhat of a mystery. Although anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America, that is still only 18% of the population. Therefore, most people have not dealt with such a high level of pain that has no apparent source, that is so seemingly disconnected from circumstances and logic. America is beginning to wake up to the fact that mental illness should be treated like any other physical illness, but we are struggling to bridge the gap of what that looks like in real time. There seems to be a lot of confusion and even fear surrounding mental illness. So the question lingers: how can family, friends, and Church effectively love people who are going through incredible psychological pain? Read More »

drawing lessons on failure.

I wanted to start this out with a direct quote from Dave, my favorite drawing professor at Ball State. But even as I sat here with my head down and eyes squeezed shut trying to remember how he’d worded things, I couldn’t for my life. The thing is, he says things so darn funny I wish I’d recorded all of his classes.. although that might have been slightly weird. Read More »


“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

When we’re young.. or maybe just as humans, it’s easy to focus on short-term things:

Interactions with other humans.
What we will have for lunch.
If we have enough money to BUY lunch… Read More »

identity samples: intro

I recently read this book by Christine Caine called Can I Have and Do It All, Please? 


(The fact that I read things like this is why I get teased and called “mom” by my friends. It’s fine.)

Yes, this book is mostly geared towards women who have husbands and children. But the principles are applicable to most American Christians. I’m busy, you’re busy, the world throws a million demands at you, and how do we live here and yet still find time to wake up an hour early and pray for all the things on our list, plus persecution in the Middle East? And if you can get to bed at 10pm the night before, an hour earlier to work out? It just seems like there’s never enough time to even REMEMBER who you are, let alone live it out. This is definitely more than a mom problem.  If you relate, it’s a pretty good book to help you process having this lifestyle while walking with the Lord.

One of the chapters I enjoyed the most from the book was her chapter on Identity. She included a list of verses that declared different aspects of our identity in Christ, and encouraged readers to write them down and keep them places that you’ll see regularly.

I thought this was a good idea. So I stole a bunch of paint chips from Home Depot… la foto 1

and wrote the verses on them.

BOOM new room décor.
BOOM new room décor.

Then as I was looking at them the other day, I realized they would make a good blog series. So here we are! There are 22 verses/paint samples. Maybe this will get me blogging regularly again. 🙂

Identity is something the Church talks about a lot but really struggles to live out. I know I do! So for the next however long I stick with this, I’ll be blogging about what living out these… shall we call them, “identity samples,” 🙂 as an average 22 year-old Christ follower and student living in Christian hipster American postmodern millennial culture.

If you read, I hope the series is encouraging, makes you dig deeper about how God sees you, and reminds you of the magnificent vastness of your worth!

Love to you,