So I still sheepishly remember that Easter Sunday a few years ago. We had two sick little boys who had been throwing up and the house was trashed with contents of four Easter baskets strewn from one end to the other.
The floor was covered in fake grass, toys and candy.
One of our boys had an accident in his bed the night before and someone in the family thought it would be a fine idea to take the dirty mattress outside to dry. Right outside the front door.
About mid-day, the doorbell rang, and much to my horror were two of my husband’s friends I would NEVER want to see my house in such disarray.
We invited them in and a crazy panic set in over the state of the house. I immediately started dashing around picking up the floor while our friends visited with my husband. In my frenzy, I remembered THAT MATTRESS. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY! THAT MATTRESS! It had greeted them at the door before we did.
I went outside to hurl that stinkin’ thing right over the back fence, as if they hadn’t already stood right next to it.
WHY ME? Surely this was a sick, cruel joke.
In my mind, I was screaming, ‘WHY WOULD ANYONE PUT THIS HERE?’ I was seething mad, convinced that my family would be the absolute death of me. Were they TRYING to kill me?
Of course you can imagine how welcome our friends felt with my flurry of cleaning upon their surprise visit. They left quickly and strangely enough, neither has popped by since.
Hmmm. Was it something I did?
Looking back, I missed an opportunity to just welcome them in and spend quality time with them on a holiday, while they both, like us, were far away from family. I missed the sweetness of the fact that they were reaching out to us, as family, on Easter Sunday.
I missed a chance to talk and laugh with two favorite friends and extend hospitality, one of my favorite spiritual gifts. It’s saddening to think of how I must have made them feel as though they were intruding and unwelcome to come by unannounced. I would NEVER want to make anyone feel that way. In fact, I want my house to be a place that people feel welcome ANY time.
Sadly, my feelings of insecurity and unrealistic expectation for perfection ruined the day.
The messy house wasn’t the problem. My HEART was the problem.
I’m in week three of a 40-week journey through the Respect Dare, my favorite wife 101 resource. Dare 3 encourages us to take an introspective look at ourselves as Godly women and assess ourselves in several categories including discipleship, home management, communication, and confidence.
While I’ve grown clearly and measurably in so many areas, not surprisingly, household manager continues to be my thorn and weakest area.
My husband and kids will tell you I’ve come a long way in being able to have people over without stressing everyone in the house to the point that they just want to hide in their bedrooms and cancel Christmas or whatever event is bringing people over.
In fact, this Christmas was our best ever, largely because of my commitment not to stress!
But I can’t help but hope my family won’t remember the old me like the ‘lady’ in this video:
I swear, I’m not this bad … any more … *cough*
Sure, there’s room to grow. My kids still ask me ‘who’s coming over’ when I ask them to clean their bathrooms. The phrase ‘company ready,’ is a known code word in my family for “it better be perfect.”
The thing is, though, that while I, of course, want to have a home that is comfortable, warm and inviting for guests, it’s unfair to strive for perfection, especially at the cost of my own family’s feelings of warmth and comfort. They, after all, are my FIRST ministry.
I’m thinking of one of my favorite Celebrate Recovery phrases, ‘progress, not perfection.’
I love doing this assessment because I can see which areas I’ve grown in since my last one. But I also can feel a bit anxious as I see what my growth opportunities are, especially as they relate to my relationship with my husband and being a respectful wife.
Realizing I’m not perfect can be a big ‘ouch’ for me and humble pie can easily get stuck in my throat. Somebody, please, get me a glass of water!
But it’s good. It’s good to take that honest look at ourselves. In Celebrate Recovery, we call it a “fearless and honest inventory.”
Taking our hands off our eyes and looking at what’s in front of us is a major step toward growth and becoming who we want to be, who we were created to be.
And it takes GUTS.
One of my favorite pastors, Craig Groeschel, has launched started this incredible new sermon series at Life.Church called ‘Dangerous Prayers.‘ I highly recommend you check it out later.
The first Dangerous Prayer? ‘Search me,’ comes out of Psalm 139:23-24 and lines right up with this week’s dare.
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Who could dare to pray this prayer and truly mean it? Do we really want to know our flaws? Do we really want to change? Are we really, truly willing to let God LEAD us?
That sounds … inconvenient. Uncomfortable, really. Actually, it sounds like a potential gutting and remodel waiting to happen.
How far are we wiling to go?
It can be tempting to stay living in denial. We may even prefer to pretend not to see the issue and live as if it doesn’t exist or have an effet, like the wife in this video:
We rationalize away our character defects and sin. We may say flippant, dismissive things things like, ‘That’s just the way I am.’
I’m reminded of the wisdom in Jeremiah 6:14, “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there.”
Can I dare you to give God permission to search you and show you what you can’t see, what you won’t see? Can I dare you to be BOLD enough to hear God’s answer when you ask Him to search your heart and then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
How much better could your life and your relationships be if you were to change that thing, that nagging thing that He’s bringing to your mind?
I know change isn’t easy. But it’s definitely worth it. God loves us exactly as we are, flaws and all. But He loves us too much not to show us our opportunities to grow.
Thanks for letting me share. I’m so glad you’re with me!