Monday, March 18, 2013

Messy Monday: Picture Perfect, Almost

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

I clean my house for pictures. It feels good to get that out there. I straighten the house on birthdays, not just for cleanliness' sake. I know we will be taking pictures of the cake and the food and the presents and the faces.

I have this habit of looking past our smiling faces
and seeing the pile of laundry in the background.

I want to post the shots to the family blog, but, yikes. They might notice that we don't have it all together. In truth, it's laughable that anyone would ever think we do. It is in everyone's best interest to know- we don't. I clean my house for pictures. And to be honest, I'm not very good even at that.

See this? One of my favorite pictures of one of my favorite people:
Mama loves Baby. Mama loves Jimmy Johns.
Let me assure you, I don't see any of this stuff in anyone else's pictures. Just ours.
It is God's ever present reminder to me of how my entire life would look without Him.
I'm not God to my family, but I sure do try to be. It is one of the pitfalls of parenthood. Things have to get done. They just do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning our responsibility. But then we beat ourselves up when things don't just fall into place. We clean just enough to give the illusion of semblance. Or we deep clean because we just can't stand the mess anymore, all the while sacrificing our patience, rest, time with kids and spouses, or friends.
We just can't seem to manage to get something done without neglecting something else.
Cleaning isn't wrong in and of itself. (Unless you are looking for an excuse to NOT clean, to which I say you certainly shouldn't. It is very unhealthy.) It is the self-inflicted demand of perfection. It is using the cleanliness of your life as some sort of gauge to tell you just where you fall on heaven's list of godly parents. It is the unrealistic definition we have of a "good" parent, a "good" child of God.

Being good at what we do has less to do with what we "accomplish," and to what caliber our simple minds judge those accomplishments, but it has everything to do with relying on the only One who truly is Good.
A messy house is a God-given reminder that He is in charge and you are not. He can keep it all together when you are falling apart. He's got the whole world in His hand, Honey. Your whole world.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 121:3-8

What a gift.
So when the mess consumes and I give up, I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to kick the toys and laundry and AWOL shoes out of my way. I am going to lay on the ground, and look up to the hills.
From there my help comes.
At least the ceiling is clean.