The Beauty and Value in Messiness

Life is messy. Luckily, there is holiness in the mess.

In her essay titled “This Holy Mess,” Sharlee Glenn shared an experience she had while in Italy. Glenn’s tour guide said something that struck her as they were rushing to make it to mass: “Hurry!… We can’t be late for the holy mess!” They all laughed at the misspoken word, but Glenn was moved: “Is there any better description for this thing we call mortality?” 

Messiness Quote


While in Jerusalem, I had the opportunity to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of the Crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection of Christ. Entering the building was overwhelming—the press of bodies swarming through, the clutter of iconography plastered everywhere, the heavy scent of incense filling my nose, the steady hum of tour guides bouncing off the stone walls. A line of people led to the tomb of Christ, so we queued up like it was Disneyland. 

Laid out near the entrance was the stone where Christ’s body was supposedly anointed with oils before burial. I watched as devout Christians knelt at the stone, rubbing oils with their hands and lowering their heads to the stone as they prayed. Hesitantly I approached, copying the actions of others around me. The stone was soft on my forehead, and I was struck with the knowledge that this imperfect, chaotic building was, at least for me, one of the most holy sites in the holy city. The messiness of humanity that seeped into this holy site seemed to sanctify it. 

That very holiness I found at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre can be found in our messy, ordinary lives. Our journey won’t always go perfectly, but that is exactly the way Christ planned it. As we make mistakes, we come closer to him through his healing Atonement. As Glenn puts it, “In messiness, art is created, chaos is ordered, patience is developed, and grace is extended.”

To learn more about the lessons Sharlee Glenn learned, read her essay “This Holy Mess.”

Source: BYU Studies

—Alyssa J. Stevens, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

See what Leah Welker says about the importance of mistakes in “Failure is Part of Success.”

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One Comment

  1. I love how messiness can be related to art. A lot can be created from the chaos of our lives.

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