Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Appearances are Deceiving

I used to be so caught up in appearances. I really, really wanted to be the one whom everyone looked at and thought, Isn’t she amazing? How does she do it? But God wasn’t concerned about that or about how content or organized I was. He didn't care how clean my house was or how together I appeared. He wanted to do some closet cleaning, a spring cleaning like I never expected.

As I struggled, prayed and surrendered, I felt God’s pleasure. I felt His smile upon me when I shared with teen moms that I still had the same issues but that God was cleaning my heart. The more I gave…to others and to God…the cleaner I felt. It’s been said that a messy house is evidence of a messy heart, but it was just the opposite for me. The more I got my heart in order, the more God urged me to move beyond my safe, happy little world.

After I started volunteering (at a crisis pregnancy center), my perfect house didn’t remain so perfect. Instead of scrubbing the tub until it shined, I trained volunteers and helped to remodel our new center. My kids couldn’t keep up their rooms because they were working beside me, folding blankets and stacking diapers. Now I’m comfortable if the floor only gets swept once a week or the mail stacks up for two. My clean heart equals a messy house, and you know what? I’m okay with that.

I used to hide the truth—my struggles, my feelings of insecurity—in the back of my perfectly arranged closets. But not anymore. Now my husband John tells me I don’t have any skeletons in my closet—because I display them on the lawn.

And, while I don’t like seeing dog puke and stepping over it or watching the tower of laundry topple over as I head out the door, I’ve come to realize that those things don’t matter as much as people—whether it be the people in my house or those in my community and my world. Like my friend Twyla says, “You fight dirt your whole life and then they bury you in it.” The fight to have everything clean will always be a fight, but it’s a fight that we can tackle with the wisdom of God. Wisdom to know when enough is enough.

What about you? Messy or clean?

Excerpt © Tricia Goyer, Blue Like Play Dough

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