Positively Alene

inspiring you to live your life your way . . . serving others

when you wonder if your messy words make a difference.

We were sitting across the table having coffee, each trying to decipher what God was doing in our lives. She was wondering what her puzzle was going to look like when God put in the final piece. I was feeling like the puzzle with missing pieces.


It was a beautiful conversation. But one where I did not walk away feeling refreshed. I truly felt more burdened.

It’s because of you.

I love the fact that you come here to be encouraged to step over your fears to love a messy world. But not knowing you, as in a real-life relationship, sometimes it’s hard to know what will encourage you. It’s truly hard to know what to write.

Some days I feel like the details of this messy journey to love the unloveable only confuses you. And those feelings leave me without words to share, because all I want is for you to wake up to the fact that there is a hurting world out there crying out for someone (you and I) to love them.

It’s because of insecurities.

So lately day after day, I’ve shown up to write and I’ve walked away with nothing to say. Not one dictionary word tapped out on the keys to send you.

I was on the verge of squandering away my writing gift when I read “When You Don’t Know What to Write, Write About Your Insecurities.” I heard the whisper — write anyway.

I was being challenged by Joe Bunting and the voice in my head to write anyway despite the insecurities that held me back.

Those voices that plagued me with doubt said:

others think you are only serving the unloved for your own self-serving needs

the stories you tell offend others

you’re compromising the trust you’ve spent three years building in this community

no one is taking extra steps to love a messy world

these words are wasted and do not make a difference in changing this world

It’s because I didn’t want a messy life.

As I sipped my cinnamon dolce latte listening to my friend, I heard the words leak out of my mouth “I’m just frustrated with myself.” That was it — I was frustrated. I sat back as those words penetrated my soul.

I finally realized that I was frustrated because my life had become messy. Unorganized. Unkept. Unclean. I no longer could tie my thoughts and days up like a pretty package for Christmas. At the end of the day there were always messy thoughts left undone.

You see, I just wanted to serve a messy world — I didn’t want a messy life. I hadn’t put it together that you couldn’t separate the two.

Serving a messy world means having a messy life. [tweet that]

And it’s that messy life that’s hard to share.

The gray thoughts that linger in my mind and mess me up:

the woman I prayed with that was being sold for her boyfriends drugs

the young child with the black-and-blue eye that I know is being abused

the girl in the strip club who thinks so lowly of herself that she can’t bare to look me in the eyes

the pimp who stared me down as he lorded over “his” girl

the man who confessed to me he use to trade and sell girls

How do I share those lingering messy thoughts? And besides who wants to hear how those images haunt me in my sleep?

The truth is: I don’t know how to do this.

But I promise to keep showing up and sharing the guts of my journey — the messy truth. Then for those of you who are stepping out to love the unloveable, you’ll know these messy truths are part of the journey.  Something I’m just figuring out.

It’s alright to feel undone, unkept, and upset.

The unspoken truth in serving a messy world is that you will have a messy life.

What’s the unspoken messy truth haunting you?


About Alene Snodgrass

After a season of rush-rush-rush, I write to be a breath of fresh air for the weary and worn-out soul. For the inside scoop and updates be sure to join my newsletter. I'd love to connect on twitter @alenesnodgrass or facebook.

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  • The messy truth for me right now is the presence of so.much.need — and knowing I’m called to meet it… but exploring exactly where God wants me to commit. This week will hopefully provide some clarity — and then the messy life will really begin!

    Bless you, Alene, as you write anyway. I definitely understand some of your insecurities; it seems you read my mind…

  • jill_richardson

    Wow. Truly a great post. This is what I learned loving the drug addicted. You can’t separate people from your neat life if you really love them. They just come on in. This is a God thing, so don’t let anything stop you!

  • Katina Vaselopulos

    Dear, sweet, Alene, I so appreciate your transparency! Oh, how much I wish I could do even half of what you do.

    I am not very good opening up, though I know that everything we bring to the light will be light. And it does. The pain and the fear lessen…the worries seem more managable.

    You know that for over 2 years my family is suffering on so many fronts. Other than supporting and loving then, it is not much we can do. We trust and wait for God to move us to where he wants us to be, because I know He has plans for us. I am good at keeping things inside, not because I want to keep secrets and present an untrue image, but because I grew up with parents who never burden us children with their own worries and problems. Their motto, “my joy is yours, my pain is mine” has also being mine as well.

    I feel for the pain of others outside my home, so much that it deeply hurts. For now, I can only remedy that with small gestures of words and deeds. Small ways that may comfort them but leave me wanting much more than others. Wanting to be free and able to give all of me to those beyond my family.

    One thing comforts me! God meets me and my family exactly where we are, because He sees us doing and being the best we can.
    God bless you my friend and keep you inspired to share your stories, no matter how much they hurt or put us to shame.

  • Amy L. Sullivan

    I think that’s all we can do. Sometimes that’s all that makes sense. Show up and share the guts.

  • Alene, you inspire me. I’ve been on a writing break, having no words to pour out. Whenever I stop by here, you challenge my heart to be more like Jesus. I am thankful for you and for your words. Keep sharing your messy life, my friend.