How to Turn a Hot Mess into Something Redemptive

By on August 1, 2012

By Rita Schulte –

Why are we all so freaked out about the mistakes, failures, and mess-ups in our lives? If we read the Bible, most of the characters in every story were a hot mess. Look at David; he was a murderer, 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, and yet this is the lineup that we call the (book of) Hebrews Hall of Fame! (Hebrews 12).

Do you know why? Because each of these folks turned a hot mess into something redemptive. Each did mighty things for God. Each took what they learned from the mess (problem) and turned it into ministry. How? By getting real with God. Each Bible character did this in their unique way, but each had several things in common. Each of our Hall of Famers:

fall scents for your home
  • 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 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 they’re unworthy, inadequate, failures, not good enough—and if people really knew them, 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’s 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 do.

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. A week didn’t go by without her struggles, especially with food, being plastered all over TV, magazines and the Internet. People related to Oprah’s struggle because of their own, maybe not with weight, but with something. And that’s what connected them to her. That’s 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 turned her mess into a message by taking off her mask and getting real; through it she created something hugely redemptive. That’s what our Bible characters did.

So where does that leave you? How can you learn from those that have gone before you? How can you turn all those places in your life that you’ve wanted to hit the delete button on, into something profoundly redemptive for the glory of God? Start by being transparent, and see what God can do with your hot mess.


Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in No. Virginia. She hosts a weekly podcast show called Heartline where she talks to the leading counselors and authors in the country about cutting edge topics affecting the lives of people today. Heartline is now airing on 90.5 FM in NC, and Rita’s 1 minute devotional spot, Consider This is airing on 90.5 FM and 90.9 FM in Lynchburg, Va. Heartline will be coming to Christian Life Internet Radio in February 2012. Follow Rita at for counseling helps and to read the first chapter of her book.

About 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 FB and twitter @heartlinepod.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

How to Turn a Hot Mess into Something Redemptive