Friday, May 2, 2014

When a Messy House is Better than a Messy Heart

I sprayed the bathroom mirror with Windex and watched the light blue mist trickle down in icicle drips over white toothpaste splatters.
"Come be with me," I heard God whisper.
 "But, but..." my heart immediately stuttered.

But my desk is a mess and I didn't dust. But I haven't changed the sheets or chopped the veggies or hung the Happy Birthday sign. But there are crusties on the highchair and crumbs in every corner. But...
"Come BE. With ME," He called.
I suddenly saw Mary at the Lord's feet and Martha reflecting back at me in the streaky bathroom mirror. 
"You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed," 
Jesus said to Martha.
Jesus said to me.

Yes, there was only one "but" I needed to pay attention to. The answer to all of mine.

BUT only one thing is needed.

Sitting with Jesus. Listening to Jesus.

In two hours and 39 minutes (give or take) my home would be filled with people to celebrate the first birthday of my sweet niece, Abigail Ann. My sister lived out of town and I was excited to host this special gathering to honor her little girl. I wanted everything to be perfectly prepared.

But the Gospel's words were stirring my heart. I thought of Mary. I thought of Martha.

And I had to ask myself...

Will my guests really notice little boys' dirty fingerprints polka-dotting the walls?

Will they complain about the piles of papers on my desk?

Will they crane their necks to spy dust bunnies lurking beneath the sofas and side tables?
Very unlikely.

But will they notice a hostess who is neck-tensed, jaw-clenched stressed in gotta-look-perfect, gotta-be-in-control agony?
Absolutely. Glaringly.

I had to ask myself, what does "perfectly prepared" really mean?

So in those precious pre-party minutes of calm while my three boys slept, I stepped away from the Swiffer and Clorox chaos to calm my spirit.

To clean my heart.

 Because a messy house is better than a messy heart. 

And my heart was messy. Mucked up with distractions and misplaced priorities. I was like Martha. Worried and upset about many things.

I removed myself from the mess in my house and I sat on the back porch with Jesus. Let the breeze touch my skin. Let His Word take precedent in my mind. Let prayer pierce through my preoccupation with self. Let praise  pour back from my lips to lift up the One Who Matters.

And time expanded. There was time to do the one thing needed, and then time to do most of the rest. And the undone stuff didn't matter anymore that afternoon.

There's nothing wrong with a clean houseshiny sinks and sparkling toilet bowls can speak love and hospitality when prepared unto God.

But if the choice is between the state of your home or the state of your heart, I understand now more than before the better choice.

*    *    *

Today I'm joining Lisa-Jo  to write about "mess."


Alissa said...

Love and miss you, friend!

Mary Smith said...

Great blog! That is s great reminder & a good example.

Stacy said...

YES!!! AMEN SISTA!!! Such a great reminder!!!

Miranda Meek said...

This morning in Sunday School we were talking about James 1:4: "And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." I love reading through your blog that God is reshaping your perception of what is perfect, because He is doing the same with me. He has been changing it from a definition of "without mistakes; with no visible flaws" to more of an idea of completion, maturity, and wholeness. The inward is what Jesus taught us to keep pure, and if it's a choice between a messy house and a messy heart, we know which one He'd have us choose every time! Someday the world will no longer be entangled in a downward spiral of sin and decay, and the external world will match our ideas of what is beautiful, but in the meantime, He'll honor your decision to pursue Him with your time, even if it means a few (or a LOT as I can sometime attest to as a mother!) imperfections in the external. Always easier said than done! Thanks for sharing your journey.

BARBIE said...

Such words of wisdom. It's so much easier sometimes to keep busy with our daily living, but when we stop and allow ourselves to be with Him, that is when our daily living becomes the easier. Thanks for sharing at The Weekend Brew!