What’s in the Dirt?


I hate messes. To be honest, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is make my bed. I make my bed nice and neat only to hop back in fifteen hours later and mess it up again. I love the feeling in my mind when everything in my life seems nice, neat, and clean. Unfortunately, for the majority of the time life is not always nice, neat, and clean. Take a regular human being, and give him or her a few hours in today’s world, and I can show you a mess. Throw in some friendships, romances, and people with different political ideologies and you have yourself World War III.

For the most part, life gets messy. There is no way around it, as arguments happen, wrong decisions are made, and people become close with people. For most people, especially believers, when life gets messy, or has gotten messy we tend to get out of sorts. Shame slowly creeps into our hearts, as its best friend named regret joins the party. We then tend to carry this portion of our lives around that we see and call “dirt.” We go through our days with all smiles and laughs, however when our heads hit the pillows at night, the dirt of our lives seems to ooze out of our souls, and regret and shame take over.

What if I told you that God loves dirt, and is not offended by your mess? Maybe those times that you have messed up, or made wrong decisions, God was actually running towards you, instead of what felt like Him turning His face from you? What if I told you that for years, that very thing that you have labeled as “dirt,” Jesus actually labels as your breakthrough? What if your next step of growth as a worship leader, is becoming vulnerable with people and God with the dirt of your life?

In John chapter 9, Jesus and his disciples approach a man who was born blind. The disciples asked Jesus, “Who had sinned to make this man blind?” During this time, there were hundreds of laws and codes that Jews had to live by. If the laws and codes were not obeyed perfectly, then this could result in a sickness or disease such as blindness. When a man was born blind, this disability literally had to of been someone’s fault. A person such as this blind man would then walk the streets and would get spit on by people passing by, because in their eyes, he caused his own sickness. Therefore, this blind man’s social status was equal to the dirt on the ground.

Jesus then declares to the people watching, that He is the light of the world, and He begins to spit on the ground. The blind man was probably thinking, “Oh no! Not again! This man was my only hope, and now he is spitting on me like the rest of the world has!” Jesus then takes the mud from the ground and places it in the blind man’s eyes, and he instantly regains his sight.

Last summer, my family and I took a trip to Redding, California. One day, we decided to explore the hiking trails in the beautiful mountains of Northern California, where the Gold Rush took place. We came up to a beautiful stream of water that was as clear as day. I remember scooping up a handful of dirt from the stream, and holding it up to the golden sunlight. As the light hit the dirt, I saw hundreds of microscopic flakes of gold begin to shine from the dirt, into the light. My family and I spent hours by the stream plucking out the tiniest pieces of gold, and throwing aside the dirt that held it. We would get so excited when we plucked the gold out, it felt almost like it was Christmas morning. Instantly, Holy Spirit spoke to me.

I believe as worship leaders, we must become brave enough to throw our mess on God, and allow His loving light to shine on the dirt of our lives. We do this by becoming vulnerable with God and people. Maybe you have to go on a drive alone, and simply allow your heart to cry out to God, screaming at the top of your lungs. Maybe you simply have to sit in silence, with tears quietly streaming from your face. It’s time to be “okay” with not being “okay.” We could never offend God. Once we allow ourselves to get messy, and open in front of God, true intimacy in the light of His presence is born. To our surprise, when His perfect presence shines on our dirt, flakes of gold appear all around. I believe God then takes out the gold, and throws away the dirt, because Jesus has already died for our mess. When God sees our dirt, He actually sees gold. Likewise, this is how we should also see our brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as stated in Romans 12:1, God desires everything we have to be presented as worship. This means the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s time to give up our dirt. Even in my own life, things look beautiful on the outside. However, deep inside me there have been times when I have made friends with shame and regret. Whether I have talked to someone the wrong way, hurt my friends, or simply felt like I haven’t measured up, there are places I have labeled as “dirt.” Many times, this has hindered the way I have led worship. The Bible is filled with stories of God’s people making messes, and God coming in and making things better than they ever were, forming beautiful gold. Just like the man who was born blind, God desires to take the very thing that you call “dirt,” and use it to open your eyes and give you the breakthrough you’ve been crying out for. Maybe your dirt is filled with gold that could change the world forever, when held to the light of God’s presence. Don’t be surprised if He uses the mess, and the past that you have been ashamed of for years. Allow your heart to be open, and throw yourself on Jesus because only He can handle it. What’s in your dirt?

Tanner Delano was born and raised in Central Texas. In 2012 at age 17 he released his first EP entitled “Falling”. He continues to lead worship at his home church in Killeen, Texas. Tanner has a deep passion for the presence of God, and has a heart to train, equip, and mentor the next generation.

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