I have said it before, and I will say it again – It is not always hunky-dory holiness around here, people! As I often say, my mess is my message, and believe me, sister there is a whole lot of mess behind each message I share.
When it comes to real life, I believe we have a choice – we can hide our struggles behind a fake smile and coordinating pillows, or we can rip off the mask, reveal our own personal brand of crazy, and in doing so utter some of the most powerful words in human connection, “Me too!”
I was crying in the bathroom last night…Me Too! I served my family pizza for dinner three nights last week…Me too! I used the pool in place of a real bath for so many days I lost count…Me too! See? Don’t you feel better already??
Satan would love for me to hide my mess behind a smile while he tells me that everything I feel is wrong, that I should be ashamed. But I’m not playing that game! I will often and continually let you know the things that I am struggling with because chances are so are you. Just because “Sister Holy Perfection” on Facebook seems to have it all together doesn’t mean there’s not a whole lot of junk behind that perfectly smiling selfie.
Right now, I’m dealing with maintaining peace in my heart, which I know translates to peace in my home. I believe as wives and moms we hold a lot of responsibility for the emotional environments of our homes. If our hearts and our minds are in chaos our homes will feel the same. Our husbands will grow bitter and quiet, and our children will grow crazy, rebellious and fussy. All of this will cause us to feel more anxiety and frustration and the cycle goes on and on.
How do we stop this craziness? Remember the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus came to visit? (Luke 10:38-42) Martha was so busy trying to do everything on her to-do list that she was running around crazy; in essence ignoring Jesus who was actually there in bodily form in her living room! But while she was running around, what did her sister Mary do? She just stopped everything and sat at His feet.
Now, I must admit, the type A person in me is thinking, “Well good grief! Somebody had to get all that taken care of, otherwise they would have no dinner! And seriously, if God Himself was coming over shouldn’t we at least make sure the house was straight?!” However, let’s pay close attention to what Jesus said. He didn’t say don’t do anything and just sit here, but what He said was that Martha was busy with and worried about too much while only a few things were actually needed, and Mary had chosen what was better.
So here’s how I translate this passage – Martha was busy making a gourmet meal, complete with homemade bread from scratch, vegetables from her own garden, eggs from her own chickens. She was most likely polishing her silver, dusting off the best china, ironing that tablecloth that she never used, and Jesus is basically saying, “Hey, throw a pizza in the oven, grab some paper plates, and come talk to me.”
So maybe we need to reevaluate what we are doing. I’m not saying there is never a time for a great, special occasion, homemade feast and bringing out the best of everything you have, but when the time is right for that you’ll be able to do it with peace in your heart and true joy in your countenance. On the flip side, if you find that you’re working yourself to the bone, you’re frantic, you’re frustrated, and everybody’s getting on your nerves while you’re trying to prepare a “perfect” environment…well, there’s a good chance that is not what God is asking you to do at the moment.
God will give you the grace, the peace and the joy to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. If you cannot do what you have planned to do and maintain your happiness and balance in your home then maybe you need to reassess your to-do list. In fact, maybe you just need to tear it up!
Each season is different. There are seasons when going the extra mile and doing all the extra stuff feels great and makes me feel alive. There are also seasons when I am running around and feel like a complete mess, and everybody is fussy and whiny around me. Nothing gets done and yet when I finally say forget it and I just sit on the floor and play a game with my babies all of a sudden I feel joy and peace, and I know that is what He has for me right then.
And please please please never forsake time each day for sitting at the feet of Jesus. I cannot express how important this is because if you are not in the Word and spending time in His presence none of these promises will be possible for you. You cannot breathe separated from oxygen, and as a spirit created in the image of the Almighty God, you cannot live a truly great life separated from your Life Source. He gives you strength, peace and joy and “all good things come down from the Father.” (James 1:7)
If you feel like a crazy mess, stop, order in, grab the paper plates, and rest your soul at His feet and see if your home doesn’t have more peace, even if it is less perfect. Choose the more important things over the more popular things. By doing less you can create so much more for your family and yourself.
A few great resources for to help your on your journey to be a more peaceful mama:
- The Pandora station “Autumn in New York.” LOVE! I turn this on almost every night when I make dinner and sort through the school papers for the day. In minutes I’m a dancing around the kitchen as Ella, Louis, and Frank set the tone for the evening.
- Recently I discovered to new friends, Megan and Diane. We’ve never actually met but they’ve spent hours driving the kids and cleaning the house with me while I binge listen to their Minimalist Moms Podcast. They are two real moms inspiring moms “to think more and do with less.”
- And finally, find more great tips for winning the battle for your peace and joy when you learn why we all need a little P.M.S. (Positive Mental Strategies).