When I was little, my sisters would tease me by opening all the kitchen cupboards. I would close them immediately because I hate-hate-hate open cupboard doors. As fast as I closed them they would come behind me and open them again. I still hate open cupboard doors. Can’t sleep until our bedroom cupboards are closed.
I also hate crumbs. Sometimes my boys are still eating their sandwiches and I’m lifting their plates to wipe the kitchen table and don’t judge me because I can quit anytime.
Thankfully this isn’t one of my blind spots. It’s a weakness I can see with eyes wide open, so it’s confront-able.
I don’t think anything can alter my DNA. I’ll always prefer the less-is-more of open spaces, and I think that’s ok.
I’m wired to appreciate order and the world needs tidy people as much as it needs laissez-faire people, which is why God created both kinds of human and mostly gets us to marry each other.
I also think an uncluttered home makes for chilled-out hospitality. Minimalism isn’t clinical. It’s calming. There’s something rather lovely about visiting folks and not tripping over stuff.
But every now and then I’m aware that my passion for simplicity and everything-in-its-place has gone OTT, and I need to recalibrate.
Like, recently we hosted an event in our home so I went into obsessive cleaning mode. Also, one of the invited guests said he wouldn’t come if our dogs were there. Ouch. So we arranged for them to visit my sister for the day.
Our dogs love to wallow in the pond. Then they love to come inside and wag your jeans wet and walk their mud through every room. The puppy loves to take you by the arm and lead you round the house and I get that not everyone likes dog spit on their sleeves but of course this translates into me thinking that people not liking our dogs means not liking our home and not liking us.
Which sent me deeper into obsessive cleaning mode.
But God brought to mind something Beth Moore says:
Perfectionism is just taking your insecurity and turning it into art.
Ha! Take that, control freak.
Further perspective came from Murray’s gracious agreement to farm out the dogs for a day – to be the bigger, kinder person – but also, his unmitigated, unyielding unwillingness to apologise for who we are, and how we do life.
He has no fear of man, and he helps me so much to be brave.
He doesn’t mind if the duvets aren’t straight. He doesn’t see the need to mop as fast as the floor gets muddied and while I was doing this very thing he said to me,
‘Of all the things in life to worry about – of all the things that are really important – this is not one of them.’
So here where I find myself – wearing the different hats of the season I’m in – I’m asking God to keep on transforming me.
I’m asking Him to make me the maker of a home that’s warm and safe. Clean and neat, mostly. Beautiful, within the bounds of practicality and imperfection. Doors wide open to anyone He brings.
I want to look well to the ways of my household, like the sexy supermom of Proverbs 31.
But when I’m dead and gone, I don’t want my boys to reminisce, ‘Mom always dusted the piano keys! We grew up clean!’
But rather, ‘Mom let us bang out any old wild and tuneless composition. We grew up free.’
I want them to remember that under our roof there was always good coffee and good conversation. That courage and compassion were valued more than clean counters.
So this morning Scott had a mile-wide Marmite smile and Cam needs a haircut but I waved them off and walked back inside. The house smelt like burnt toast and I thought,
People. Live. Here.
The dogs have left their mud-love all over the lounge carpet again and I’m offering the boys hard cash if they can actually pick up their pyjamas every morning for a week and it’s a safe bet because I seriously doubt they’ll do it. There are slops and a hockey stick under the kitchen table and gross smears of toothpaste in the basin and yesterday’s washing is still wet on the line because I hung it up too late and these are all –
Signs. Of. Life.
This is a place of peace, where Christ is King.
And that’s all it ever needs to be.
. . .
Eeek! No Mother’s Day gift?
If the mom in your life needs daily wind in her sails, grab her a copy of Walking in Grace: 366 inspirational devotions for an abundant life in Christ – where books are sold in South Africa and the USA, and worldwide on Amazon (Kindle and paperback editions).
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