My Poor Inner Neat Freak

I am a neat freak who is hopelessly trapped inside a messy person’s body. I find myself overcome with the desire to have a beautiful, clutter free home but the ability to keep it in such a state eludes me. This split personality frustrates me more than any other attribute I possess.

In May, we found the perfect, cozy little nest to call our home. It’s in a great location. The yard is great for the kids to play. We love it here and it was a huge upgrade from the tiny apartment we were living in prior to our move! As an added benefit, we live next door to our pastor and his wife. I work for the church and our offices have been located in my pastor’s home while our church was transitioning to a new facility so I can walk across the yard everyday to go to the office. Bonus!

Yesterday, I found myself colliding with my inner perfectionist when my Pastor called and said he had a dining room table we could have to replace the rickety one we had which never did quite fit in our dining area. It was a huge blessing! However, my house was not quite “fit for company”. I worked all day and then went to pick up the kids and rushed home to straighten up only to find out he was on his way at that moment. There was no time. In my frazzled state, my husband made a profound statement that shook me. He said, “It is what it is, why hide how we really live?” I can’t say I was happy with his comment at the time, but the truth is, we do live this way.

I can so easily find myself in a rose-colored world of denial where I run around like a madwoman attempting to hide the things I’d rather not let anyone else see. I can so easily find myself becoming comfortable with the chaos rather than mustering up the motivation to fix it. I can so easily find myself shifting the blame for my mania to those around me with things that are fundamentally true but possessing inherent faulty logic: statements like, “the kids really need to do more to help me around here. I shouldn’t have to do it all myself” which may be true, but I forget to acknowledge that I am responsible for assigning them tasks. I can’t complain that the house isn’t magically clean when I’ve not told them to do anything and I’m fighting in my own strength to stay on top of it as if I were some super ninja of organization. I can so easily find myself making excuses for my negligence (I am so busy, I work, I take care of three children, I’m pregnant and tired etc.).

Even deeper than the dirt and clutter in my home, are the implications these tendencies have in the realm of the soul. Are there areas I don’t want exposed to the world? Are there things in my heart, I’d rather not bother cleaning out, so I stuff them away to be dealt with later? Are there things that come out from time to time that would make me wince when others see them? Do I hesitate at the thought that someone may see “how I really live”?

My goal for this week is to examine myself both inside and out. I know better than to overwhelm myself with trying to conquer all my giants in less than 24 hours. I also know that starting where I am, in all my shortcomings, without beating myself up when I don’t perform up to my own standards, is better than remaining stuck beating my head against the same wall day after day. So today, I will accept where I am and take a step forward. My house won’t be spotless tomorrow and I probably won’t be posing for a write-up in Better Homes and Gardens any time soon. I doubt I’ll be receiving calls from the saints gone on before to tell me what a model of faith and holiness I am, but when all is said and done, no one will be able to say of me, that I didn’t try. That is enough to make me smile and I believe it pleases my Father as well.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” Colossians 3:23


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