Back in March, I was sitting in a friend's house for our women's Bible study brunch and all of us ladies began talking about how our house is never clean enough, our presentation is never good enough, WE are never good enough. Many of us agreed that it wasn't pressure that our husbands placed on us, it wasn't pressure that our friends placed on us, but it was the pressure we placed on ourselves, the pressure to appear like we have it all together, and yet with all of that pressure and striving for perfection, we are causing each other to feel the need to live up to that higher standard. If we all appear like we have it together, then we are all causing each other to feel like we are the only women in the whole world who can't keep it together and that leaves us sitting in our messy homes at 2:00 pm with a toddler still in jammies thinking, "Why can't I have it all together like she does???"
As we finished up some of our final thoughts, one of our pastor's wives, who was sitting in on our group that day, told us something like, "Ladies, our goal should be to have a home where everyone is welcome. If you have a friend who has stopped by unannounced or if you have a planned date with somebody at your house and things just aren't getting done like you wanted, don't excuse your mess, bite your tongue, and graciously invite them in. You may have a mess here or there but so does she, and in the event that her house happens to be clean today, it probably won't be tomorrow."
This has stuck with me since then. This is not to say that I don't strive to have a clean home, especially when people come over, but it is to say that when people do come over, especially those whom I am closest with, I do my best to calmly clean my house and if there are some dishes that are waiting to go in the dishwasher or some laundry that needs to be folded, well then, it needs to be okay. This is my life; toys and dishes and laundry and meals and messes, lots of messes, and it's probably their life too. Before I had applied this I would be running around the house so stressed out and snipping at anybody who was in my way (my poor hubby and kiddo). I was not being a godly example and it sure wasn't making my home any happier. A cleaner home is not always a happier home.
Today one of my very best friends and her daughter came over to go swimming. I woke up, did our usual routine and then started to clean. I did what I could and although everything within me was cringing, I left the rinsed dishes on the counter and a few in the sink.
A load of washed hand towels and washcloths on the living room chair
I am always a work in progress and I am slowly learning new lessons.
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6