When Being Hard on Yourself Seems to be All You Know
We spent all day cleaning for friends to come over that night. Really. It took all day. At one point, I mumbled to myself, “If we didn’t live like such slobs, it wouldn’t take this long.” We live in the hurricane.
There’s four of us. Two of us are under the age of four. Two of us are over the age of four. I’m not sure when it makes a difference what age we are. All of us have stuff everywhere. We are pilers. We are leavers. The clean felt good. The shame of it all felt bad. I even thought of other people’s homes that never seem to be so sloppy as ours.
One of those homes, one of those people, came over that night. She shared how she had had such a bad day. A day of feeling overwhelmed and sloppy. Nothing working. Nothing right. A mess everywhere. This was one of the homes I had thought of as “if only we lived like them.” Ha. They don’t even live like them.
It’s the Facebook comparison. The Pinterest envy. Nothings true or real. It’s all curated to show ourselves at our best. We don’t know how the other really lives because we only invite them in when we are clean.
Yet, as Christians, we are called to hospitality. At this point, I’m not sure I even know what that means, but I’m pretty sure it looks different then grumbling as you clean so you can entertain a few people for an evening. It also probably doesn’t mean only inviting people over maybe once a month or even less, and only letting them in when things look good.
If I wait for my house or my life to be perfect before inviting someone into it, I might never let anyone in.” Lisa Jo Baker
I’m afraid we barely do ever let anyone in. This doesn’t look like the life God has called me to live. If If I am to practice what I profess, that includes being hospitable all the time, not just when it suits me because I can show how good a homemaker I am (which I’m not if you use dishes being done and no Cheerios on the floor as a measure).
I had a friend who told of a house she loved to visit as a child. They were happy. They were loving. They supported one another. And they were slobs. There was dog hair in the butter in the refrigerator. and things strewn all over the house. Rooms half painted and artwork drawn directly on the walls. She preferred this house to her own, to any other possible, because of the love and encouragement she found there.
I want to believe we are a hurricane because we have fun more than we clean, we love more than we straighten, we laugh more than we sweep. Yes, we are a little lazy. We are a bit sloppy. But I hope we are happy a lot of the time.
My ugly comparisons and attitude, they will poison all of that. So, breathe deep the love laughter.
Clean houses can come when nests are empty.
May I just be brave enough to invite others to this mess of a nest.