On wanting to look capable

*2006 post*

Recently, I've been mulling over this excerpt from another blog:

I am a frustrated perfectionist. If you drop by unexpectedly, I’ll probably be scooping up the mess of my real and very busy life, tossing it in the laundry room, and slamming the door. Beats me why I think the laundry or the Lego’s or the lasagna pans should be a deep dark secret. It’s just an instinct that kicks in when I see a car pulling into the driveway...

I want to be more pulled together than people expect. I want to be capable. I want to be-- heaven help me- exemplary.

Oh my. That is SO me. That is why I like the advance warning that people are coming over. So I have time to "straighten up". And if I don't get a chance to do this, I'm apologizing for the clutter. "Sorry about this... we've had a busy day around here..."

I would like a neat and tidy home, but what I would like even more is a home where it's evident that life is happening. That's more important to me. I realize that there is a balance. I think it falls somewhere between my somewhat cluttered home and the immaculate homes I've been in of young families. The homes where there is no evidence that any children live there whatsoever. Every toy and picture is tucked away in it's proper place- the place no one can see. I don't want that.

But what I do want is to live more simply, to have less stuff, and to think less about that stuff and how it looks. I want to focus more on the people God brings into our lives, and on relationships with them.

And I do want God to clean up in me the pride that brings on that perfectionist, wanting-to-look-capable-and-having-it-all-together self.

My tendancy is to try to resolve these things by working on the outward. To tackle the things that are visible. Like my laundry pile. The one that is still waiting to be folded from 2 days ago. Or the dirty dishes piling up in and around my sink. Or the beds that need to be made, or or or... the list goes on.

But then there's this, from Psalm 51:

Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Yes, God. Work on my heart first.

*To read the full post from the excerpt above, go here.

1 comment:

  1. Jul. 7, 2006 - Amen!
    Posted by Corin
    Thank you for posting that Stacy! I'm the same way. "Oh sure, drop by any time! Ummm... would you mind calling first?" My mom came over and helped me clean my house today (it's been a really rough week!) and I had to resist the urge to pre-clean in ;-) I need to remember that when I go to other people's houses, I don't peek around to see how dirty it is, I focus on fellowshipping with them.

    That link was a huge encouragement to me as well!


    Jul. 7, 2006 - Why are we like this?
    Posted by reformingmama
    It is weird that we always want to look more put together than we are.
    This is why I appreciate it so much when someone allows me to see their messy self. I am most comfortable with those who allow me in when all is not perfect. I feel like I can sit back and put my feet on the coffee table, really relax.
    In the end though so much of it is our personal quirks. Like I can not go to bed at night unless my bed is made, Mike could care less!
    Good job with a "real" post :).


    Jul. 7, 2006 - That is me too!
    Posted by AussieinAmerica
    I am very much this way. I always wish I was more together and certainly want people to think I have it all together! But I don't ....I am working on it though. Glad you posted on this - I always love your honesty!


    Jul. 7, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by
    I think this is something we all struggle with to some extent. My mother-in-law lent me a book called Open Heart Open Home that talked about this. The one thing that really stuck with me from it was the distinction the author made between hospitality and entertaining. I think it's easy to think that everything needs to be just perfect- and we're more concerned with the entertaining aspect- then to focus on true hospitality- making people feel comfortable and welcome, cared for and loved. The homes I feel most comfortable in are often not the cleanest, but the ones where I feel at ease, like I can lay down on the couch if I'm tired or ask for something when I'm hungry. And I feel like it's the greatest compliment if a guest can do those things in my home!
    Bless you, as you seek balance, and as you seek to make your home a haven and place of peace and blessing!
    Have a great weekend,

    Edited by Rebeca on Jul. 7, 2006 at 8:33 PM


    Jul. 8, 2006 - What a timely post!!
    Posted by Michelle
    Thank you for posting this just a few days before you come visit me in Indiana!!! I will do my best to avoid MY tendancy to want every thing to look "perfectly put together!" So...when you do see a mess....just know that I left it there for your comfort! =) Great post! I need to find this balance also!


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