• Debra McInvale

Messy Houses & Locked Doors


Pen & Ink Illustration by James McInvale, jamesmcinvaleillustration.com

My daddy used to say that he dreamed of living in a one-room house because anywhere he tossed his tie after work would be in the bedroom. Instead, he retired and stopped wearing ties altogether.


Unlike my dad, our son enjoys wearing ties. While watching James create this illustration of his own ties, I started thinking about daddy and his ties. That led me to thinking about houses and rooms and the doors we tend to lock. And those thoughts led to me thinking about my messy house. (Does your mind hop and skip around like that?)


I once uninvited my in-laws to visit because I couldn’t seem to get our first apartment cleaned up enough for in-law-inspection. Sad but true. Now, many years later, my goal is simply to clean the “public” spaces before friends arrive: living room, kitchen, and guest bath. All other doors are shut tight in the hope nobody gets curious about what is behind them.


Our lives can get messy too, can’t they? And often we shut the doors of ourselves to hide the reality behind our public facades. We pretend be feel better than we really do. We make like all is well when life is in turmoil. Why don’t we just let other people in?


Why don’t we let God in?


Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us,

to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Ephesians 4:20 NLT


I think too often we lock parts of our lives away from God like I shut company out of my messy spaces. There are some nooks and crannies we really don’t want God to see. We have corners we are ashamed to open up to the Holy Spirit. Oh, He is welcome on our good days. He is welcome when our rooms are tidy. But not on the messy-life days.

Sometimes we find ourselves thinking “I can handle this myself, thank you very much!” We do our best to remain independent because we don’t want to depend on anyone else. What if they let us down? What if God lets us down? Or we think we should be strong enough to handle our own issues. And we certainly do not want to embarrass ourselves. So we lock our doors.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV


God knows everything anyway! Duh! We know that. So why can’t we trust Him with our messes? God will never let us down. He longs for us to trust Him with everything. Everything. The good and bad. The squeaky clean and the filthy. We limit Him when we depend on ourselves and shut Him out. Helplessness is an asset if we give it to God and allow Him to work in us and for us.


So this week, consider the doors you may be locking. If we do have locked doors in our lives, let’s be brave and unlock them, okay? Throw those doors open wide and invite Christ in. Allow Him into all our nooks and crannies, clean and tidy or not. Simply welcome Him and know, absolutely positively. that He deeply cares about us just as we are!


Hugs and blessings,



Dear Lord, please forgive me for shutting You out of parts of my life. Help me to be brave and acknowledge my messes. Help me be wise and turn them all over to You. I trust You Lord. Amen.



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