Friday, April 19, 2013

A Beautiful Mess

Sometimes my house is a mess.  As I sit here typing, there is a pile of my older girls' outgrown clothes on the floor.  There are school books on the coffee table and some cups in the sink that need to be rinsed and added to the dishwasher.  My flip flops are by the door.  A crumbled receipt and a twist tie are on the floor.  

Better Homes and Gardens photographers are not headed our way today.

I used to be different.  That kind of stuff used to drive me insane.  I was a "everything has a place and everything in its place" kind of girl.  I had to let some of that go.  After all, I don't live alone anymore.

When Hannah first moved in I ended up with a struggle I had not anticipated.  Who am I kidding?  I ended up with lots of struggles I hadn't anticipated!  But let's just talk about the one today.  I didn't realize it would bother me when she used "my" stuff.  Sounds terrible, doesn't it?  That was real life.  Those were real feelings.  

It would drive me crazy when she would move stuff around or not put things back.  I wanted her to ask to use things and then I wanted to tell her no.  I was dealing with some incredibly selfish feelings, and they were all mine.  I am thankful that even in the midst of those feelings, I knew they were wrong, so while the emotions were real, I knew I shouldn't be acting on them.  So through gritted teeth I learned to let my things go.

But who wants to live life with an attitude like that?  I didn't.  I knew God was calling me to lay that stuff down, to be thankful in all things like He instructed.  Boy, was that hard.  I had a million reasons why.  After all, wasn't I just trying to take care of the things He had provided for us?  Nice try, but He never calls us to prioritize our things over our relationships and that's exactly what I was doing.

Hannah was more important than my things.  Hannah was more important than my organizational systems.  Hannah was more important.  I needed to put my time and efforts into what mattered and what mattered was Hannah.

So I worried less about whether or not all the shoes made it to the shoe basket.  I stopped the constant flurry of picking up random objects (although I have been known to "flurry" every now and again).  And while I teach my girls to treat things well and be gentle, I no longer flip out over a scratch on the dining room table or someone pulling the curtain down because they tried to close it with gusto.

Life is lived in this house now.  Not just a going-through-the-motions life, but an everyday-is-an-adventure life.  And that means that there is probably a shoe under my couch, an empty chocolate milk glass in the bathroom and all my mechanical pencils are missing.  It's the price I pay for this incredible, amazing life lived with three of my favorite people.

If you find yourself sacrificing your relationships for your things, take a step back.  Focus on what really matters (and I'm here to tell you, it's not the stuff).  Rather than getting frustrated because you are constantly picking up jackets, backpacks and Legos, take a moment and be thankful for who wears those jackets, carries those backpacks and plays with those Legos.  Do you really want a house without those things?  I don't.

Be thankful for those beautiful messes and for those in your life that make them!

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