Vance Joy writes folk songs for a new generation. With a clever ukulele and stirring voice, the Australian singer-songwriter will make you bob your head and feel like you’re on a country road on a lazy Sunday. Since the release of his 2013 hit single, “Riptide,” Vance Joy has kept his fans at bay until finally releasing his debut studio album Dream Your Life Away just a few weeks ago on September 5, 2014.
Today I want to take a closer look at his new LP’s lead single, “Mess Is Mine.” It’s a simple song about the messiness of relationships. Vance Joy gives us the short version below:
It’s about how when you’re in love with someone, you take on the whole package [that person brings]. It’s messy, but the mess of life is the good thing. The special thing about relationships is taking on the good and the bad and the messy aspects.
Relationships are messy. There’s no doubt about it. You take the good, you swallow the bad, and you can’t forget the ugly. And somewhere in between, you might find intimacy. You know what’s funny? You can take classes in college about a million things (and half you’ll never use), but there’s no class about relationships. They’re as messy as multivariable calculus but there’s no formula to help!
Let’s take a page from Vance Joy, take another page from the Bible, and see if we can come up with a few lessons about handling the messiness of relationships and finding real intimacy.
1. You gotta accept the mess
Well hold on my darling
This mess was yours
Now your mess is mine
Vance seems to be attune to the fact that everyone makes a mess. It is (sadly) part of the human condition. Moods, mistakes, emotions, fears, reactions, overreactions. If you look closely enough at anyone, you’re sure to find some sort of mess inside.
Dating has taught me a lot about this. You see, occasionally I have what I call moods. They are strange things. They feel almost like emotions, except they stick for a while, kind of like gum on your shoe. To be honest, I usually try to keep these moods to myself (I’m not one for sharing). Now the problem with dating is that you can’t just quarantine these moods and keep them to yourself. Girlfriends want to know things… And share things. So what began as my personal mood is now affecting her mood. Or perhaps I’ve been doing just fine, and now she’d like me to participate in what began as her mood.
I imagine that this is what Vance Joy is referring to: “This mess was yours/ Now your mess is mine.” Whether in a dating relationship or just in friendship, you are opening yourself up to influence.
25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
Accepting the mess means that you decide that the relationship is worth it. It’s worth taking on someone else’s emotions and allowing their life to disrupt your own. It’s hard to do this unless you believe that God put you together for a reason.
2. You get what you put in
You’re the reason that I feel so strong
The reason that I’m hanging on
You know you gave me all that time
But did I give enough of mine?
Throughout college, I had a couple stints at working out and trying to get strong. But to be honest, I probably spent just as much time trying to find the most effective workout (i.e. least effort, best results) as I did actually working out in the weight room. No matter what, I couldn’t seem to escape the age-old adage: you get what you put in. The same applies in relationships. At the end of the day, we have to ask: how much of of my heart am I really giving?
There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David… Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. 4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.
David and Jonathan’s friendship is one of the most memorable in the Bible. The reason is because they both invested their hearts and didn’t allow circumstance to get in the way.
3. You need the right lens
Consciously or subconsciously, we often label our relationships and end up seeing people through different lenses. Once a relationship hits a rough patch, our view of the person can become distorted. We can take a relationship that once brought us joy and start to dread conversations. Or, even when things get rocky, we can keep a clear lens and believe the relationship is always more than worth the trouble.
Tell me “sorry for the mess”
Hey, I don’t mind
You’re talking in your sleep
All the time
Well you still make sense to me
Your mess is mine
What lens will you choose? It helps to see which lens God chooses to see us through.
3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead…
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.