I get it. I understand.
You feel lost in the chaos of your own home. The floors are smudged up and sticky. The countertops are cluttered beyond recognition. Then, to top it all off, you glance in the mirror and realize that you closely resemble the state of your house, unkempt and a bit frazzled. If you were to look up the word 'picturesque' in the dictionary you certainly wouldn't find an image of your home (probably because it's buried under the unwashed pile of laundry on the chair in your room).
Maybe this is you more than you'd like to admit, maybe it isn't. We're all at different stages in life, some that provide an easier avenue to a neat & tidy home than others. Praise Jesus for His grace that covers all, amen? In Him there's no shame, sister. This is a truth I have to remind myself of so much, and perhaps you need to hear it today. There's so much freeing hope this message.
You see, my mother taught me early one the value of working to maintain an orderly home. It's something I aspire towards, but honestly, it's not my everyday. And while I can feel the stress of a cluttered home tensing up my neck and shortening my breath, I'm learning to make peace with the chaos that invades at times. Instead of letting the stress of it all bog me down, I've learned to accept that I'll clean when I can (and when I have help). Yes, I'll enjoy a ordered home while it lasts--because, really, don't we all? But here's the tricky part and what I really struggle to do: I'll also live in the present mess whenever it surrounds me (which is quite often, I'm a bit red-faced to admit). You see, I'm a photographer with a writer's heart. I find personal satisfaction in crafting lovely things with a keyboard or a camera. It's the artist in me. Like most women, I value beautiful things. Thus, it's difficult for me to also appreciate crumbs on the floor, my frizzy messy bun, and cluttered dining room; much less let anyone see it on social media.
We all know in our heads that the majority of images and words posted online are highly curated. We pick and choose the positive things, the attractive moments, the so-called highlights to share with the world. Yes we know that, but somehow that knowledge is harder to get into our hearts. We browse through pretty squares or blogs and before we know how it happened, we can feel like it's not our fingers, but guilt and shame that's scrolling us down into a place of embarrassment. I've been there, friends. I've been there and I'm here to say let's rise from that mindset and refuse to let it bog us down any longer. Instead of comparison, let's strive for contentment. Instead of cringing at our reality or flinching guiltily when we stop to survey the world of our own homes, let's accept grace (and offer it to others). I'm not saying that we all don't wish for things to be easier, less tiring or just a bit cleaner. But instead of 'checking out' when things aren't exactly how we hoped they would be, let's ask Jesus for endurance and His grace to open our eyes to all the gifts He brings our way; no matter how difficult they be at the time.
I suppose what I'm challenging myself and asking that perhaps you try is this: Enter in. Yes, let's us enter into the clutter and chaos. Let's allow the beautiful whirl of it all to wear down the sharp edges of perfectionism and smooth out the callouses of our pride. My fear is the alternative: That if I don't 'enter in' I'll miss out on my own life. I'll stand on the sidelines, an observer waiting for some perfect reality to happen before I can truly engage myself. What a tragedy this would be! Life whirs by at too fast a pace for us to have the luxury of waiting for things to line up. I want to grab myself by the shoulders, look me square in the eyes and say, " Look around. This is your life. Right now. Please don't miss out on it."
It's something I think we can all benefit from. This simply choosing to enter in and be thankful for the miracle of our messy, miraculous lives.
"The whole of the life -- even the hard -- is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up." -Ann Voskamp
Breanne Rodgers, The Village Journalist