That’s what the license plate said, URAMESS. Seeing it made me laugh. Not just from the audacious statement but at the obtuse finger-pointing directed at anyone who happened to be following behind. URAMESS. How thoughtful! How encouraging! That’s like a new BBQ sauce flavor, that is…Bold and Snarky! URAMESS. (It’s a real license plate, by the way; I’m not making this up).
I have no doubt Bold, Snarky Driver gets a lot of finger-pointing in response to their ever-so-pointed message and not the thumbs-up kind either. Well, who would? I mean seriously, that’s just a bit too self-righteous and in-your-face.
OK, but in all fairness to Bold, Snarky Driver maybe they were just trying to make a public service announcement by reminding all of us that life is messy. We’re messy. Sometimes royally messy; sometimes peasantry messy. I have my doubts that Bold, Snarky Driver was trying to be benevolent, but you never know.
The issue, though, becomes when we’re blind to our messiness. When we have an 800 lb gorilla mess that we like to think is sitting quietly in the corner behaving itself but in actuality it’s jumping about the room, throwing things around, rearranging the furniture and leaving empty cartons of Ben & Jerry’s all over the place.
And then it gets in the car with us, goes with us to work, to our social gatherings, family functions, even the grocery store and proceeds to wreak holy havoc on unsuspecting passersby. And yet, we go along like everything is normal, willfully ignoring the obvious creature that everyone else sees.
Oh, and just in case you’re not sure if your 800 lb gorilla mess is following you around, note this. When there’s a room full of people and the moment you walk in it’s like Moses parting the Red Sea, that’s a pretty good indication your gorilla mess is hanging with you. Not good.
Then there are those who are fully aware of their 800 lb gorilla mess, who willingly have their identity and self-worth wrapped up in it that they wear it like a mink coat. They have it all blinged out too, and go around showing it to everyone, even trying to get them to put it on for size – because you know, everyone wants one. These are what we call Drama Queens.
For these types, life isn’t worth living if there isn’t some sort of drama or chaos happening in their world and everyone they come in contact with becomes an unwitting participant. They relish in the attention, even playing the martyr if it helps their cause. For them normal isn’t normal; chaos is normal.
And then there are those whose 800 lb gorilla mess is a trash dispenser. They strew their nonsense all up and down the neighborhood, leaving piles of it at your front door and then have the audacity to get indignant when people stop and stare or try to intervene. Again, their identity is all tangled up in their trash. Chaos is their norm, too, yet they don’t want anyone pointing fingers or naming names. They just expect the rest of us to take whatever they dish out and say thank you. That’s not messed up at all…
Regardless of the type of gorilla mess that’s taken up residency in your life, you must take caution: it’s unhealthy to live with that kind of constant stress and chaos, because it doesn’t just affect you, which is bad enough. No, it takes its toll on those closest to you – your spouse, your kids, your friends, etc. The adverse effects of that 800 lb gorilla mess permeates every aspect of your life like a disease.
Take heart, though. There is a way to win.
Captain Jack Sparrow very accurately put it this way, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” Yeah, I know I’m quoting a fictional character, but stick with me. Think about that statement for minute…the problem, your 800 lb gorilla mess, isn’t the problem; it’s your attitude about your 800 lb gorilla mess. A problem can always be dispensed with; your attitude, however, is an intricate part of you and it’s a choice.
You always have a choice. Even when you don’t think you have a choice, you have a choice. Your attitude is a choice.
If your attitude is to treat your gorilla mess like it doesn’t exist, then that’s your choice but it’s a problem. If your attitude is to act like your gorilla mess is your identity (and fashion accessory), then that’s your choice but it’s a problem. If your attitude is to behave like your gorilla mess is everyone else’s to deal with, then that’s your choice but it’s a problem. You need to change your attitude about your gorilla mess and get a grip on it.
You have to start by putting your gorilla mess on a leash and a diet. Simply trying to shove it out of the house and locking the doors won’t work either. It will break back in, steal your car keys, and after joyriding for a while and tee-peeing the neighborhood, it’ll stop by the store to pick up a boatload of ice cream before heading back home.
You have to be waiting at the door to take the car keys away and throw out the ice cream. In other words, you have to become an active participant in changing that mess from an unruly 800 lb monstrosity to a manageable 5 oz squeaky mouse trapped in a cage. And no one can do it for you.
If you want change, then it has to start with you. You want things to be different? Change your world. Notice I did not say change THE world; that’s not reasonable. I said change YOUR world. That is reasonable because you have control over your world. You have control over you. Start with your attitude. Decide that you want to live a healthy, fulfilling life; you want your family to have a healthy, fulfilling life and this 800 lb gorilla mess is no longer welcome.
Then take a close look at what’s created this 800 lb gorilla mess and go after it. Is it unhealthy relationships? Is it repressed issues from your past? It is a reckless lifestyle? Whatever it is, call it out, tackle it. Wrestle it to the ground, take control of it and don’t let up even if it yells uncle! Identifying the root of your mess will help put things in perspective, give you clarity. Then you decide on the direction you need to go.
Next take responsibility and create accountability. Share your struggle with someone who cares about you and your well-being. Admit to your part in your mess. Own it. And don’t go blaming others or circumstances for why you have an 800 lb gorilla mess. If the common denominator in your life’s messes is you, well then there you go.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Set tangible goals and have your accountability friend keep you on track. Remember, progress not perfection.
Lastly know that bad stuff and set backs will creep up every now and again; that’s part of life. Just don’t go wallowing in them when they do happen. Recognize them for what they are and move on. Don’t let them tear you down.
Remember, you’re not a mess. You’re an OVRCOMR.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
For with God, nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37