Amazing Possibilities!

  • Matthew Kelly

The Human Dilemma


Life is messy.


This is the human dilemma. You’re not doing it wrong.


Life isn’t a color-within-the-lines exercise. It’s a wild and outrageous invitation full of uncertain outcomes. Sometimes it is beautifully rational, at other times it lacks all logic. What appears to be a step back today, may turn out to be the first marvelous step forward ten years from now.

The mess of life is both inevitable and unexpected. It is filled with delightful mysteries and frustrating predicaments, indescribable joy and heart-wrenching suffering.


There is no plan you can devise that will solve the mess. There is nothing you can buy, learn, or accomplish that will eliminate the mess. Finding the love of your life and the perfect career won’t either. There is nothing you can start doing or stop doing that will eradicate the mess. There’s nothing you can tell yourself that will make the mess magically disappear, and you cannot think your way out of it. The mess is here to stay. It’s unavoidable. It’s just life.


It’s what we do with the mess that determines everything. You can ignore it, avoid it, deny it, blame others, shame yourself, and exhaust yourself pretending your life isn’t messy. But when you wake tomorrow morning, the mess will still be there. Or you can realize that the mess serves a powerful purpose.


To discover that powerful purpose, we first need to accept that the mess is not the problem. The problem is our erroneous belief that everything should be immaculate, orderly, neat, tidy, and in its place.


Everyone has their own mess to contend with. Our tendency is to think that we are the only ones with a mess, that our mess is messier, more embarrassing, more shameful than other people’s mess. It isn’t so.


You don’t have to have it all together. Nobody has it all together.


Acceptance is the only way to make peace with the mess. This acceptance will lead you to a profound acceptance of life, others, and self. It isn’t surrender or defeat. It isn’t conceding that there is nothing we can do about the mess. It’s just a penetrating awareness that the meaning of life isn’t to solve the mess. That’s not the goal.


This radical acceptance of self, others, and life may be the beginning of wisdom. I’m not sure we can ever truly appreciate anyone or anything until we have made peace with the mess. Are you ready to make peace with the mess?


Life is messy, but we figure things out. We laugh, we cry, we grow, and we move on to new beginnings, second chances, and amazing possibilities.

Matthew Kelly


From Life is Messy

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