November 2015 Final Issue
Home / Restoration / How to Turn A Hot Mess Into Something Redemptive

How to Turn A Hot Mess Into Something Redemptive

Why are we freaked out about the mistakes, failures, and mess-ups in our lives? If we read the Bible, we find most of the characters in the stories were a hot mess. Look at David. He was a murderer, an adulterer, and a liar. Peter was a coward, Paul was self-righteous, and Sarah laughed in the face of God. Shall I go on? Abraham lied about his wife, Moses murdered an Egyptian, and Jacob wrestled with God and stole his brother’s birthright.  Yet this is the lineup that we call the Hebrews Hall of Fame! (The Book of Hebrews Chapter 12) Do you know why? Because each of these folks allowed God to turn a hot mess into something redemptive. Each did mighty things for God. They took what they learned from the mess (problem) and turned it into a ministry. How? By getting real with God. These Bible character did this in unique ways, but each had several things in common. Each of our Hall of Famers:
  • Failed in some way
  • Made a mess out of something
  • Were willing to be humbled
  • Were willing to be vulnerable
  • Suffered
  • Didn’t give up
  • Admitted their failures but learned from them
  • Were willing to tell their stories
  • Were passionate about their calling
  • Loved God with all their heart
Many of the folks, whom I counsel, struggle with depression. Some feel hopeless. Many feel as if they’ve messed up so bad that they can’t go on. They believe that they are unworthy, inadequate, and not good enough. They believe that if people really knew who they were, they would be rejected. That’s why they hide behind the carefully constructed masks they’ve created---so people won’t see who they really are. What is the solution? Come out of hiding. Be willing to tell your story: mess and all. Being transparent is the key to freedom. You’ll be surprised at how people react to you when you live this way. Consider this: Oprah Winfrey is one of the most loved and successful women on the planet---and probably the most transparent. That’s why people love her. During her time as a talk show host, Oprah was open about her struggles, especially with food. Many people related to her struggle because of their own, maybe not with weight, but with something. And that is what connected them to her. That is what connects us to each other and to God.  Because in the telling of our stories, we see we’re all on the same playing field. Oprah has allowed her mess to be turned into a message by taking off her mask and getting real. By letting her true self be known, she allowed something hugely redemptive to occur. So where does that leave you? How can you learn from those that have gone before you?  How can you allow those times in your life that you’ve wanted to hit the delete button on to be transformed into something profoundly redemptive for the glory of God? Begin by living transparently and then wait and see what God can do with your hot mess.
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About Rita Schulte

Rita Schulte
Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in the Northern Virginia/DC area. She is the host of Heartline Radio and a 1-minute feature “Consider This.” Her shows air on Alive In Christ Radio. Rita writes for numerous publications and blogs. Her articles have appeared in Counseling Today Magazine, Thriving Family, Kyria, and She is the author of "Shattered: Finding Hope and Healing through the Losses of Life," (Leafwood) and "Imposter: Gain Confidence, Eradicate Shame and become who God made you to be" (Siloam). Follow her at, on Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. This really is nice produce, My goal is to shaire the idea for my very own frinds.

  2. Sometimes I’ll reveal my own “hot mess” issues to a client as a way to normalize their feelings. I may think, “Oh! I shouldn’t tell them that!” But then I’ve heard them say, “Thank you! I don’t feel so alone now.” I look back over the worst times in my life and still remember the people who were willing to be vulnerable and let me know I was not alone in my feelings or failures. Great post, Rita.

  3. What a wonderful analogy, Rita… Really made me think about some of my own “hot messes” and what I can gain from them by reflecting upon the lessons that God has made available to me… Thank you

  4. Great encouragement!

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