If you’ve ever been to my house, you know that I’m okay with messy. I’ve never been a great housekeeper. I have tried various systems and methods – none of them have gotten me to be a perfect housekeeper. One friend who was at my house recently even commented on my self-made chore chart on my fridge. I then pointed out how many of the items were checked off (hint: not many).
Because of this, and because of the pressure (mostly internal) I felt to have a picture-perfect home, for many years I would get very stressed out when having company. I felt as though things needed to look a certain way in order to invite people into our space. I had an image in my mind of how things would be (picture any Pinterest image), and when they weren’t that way, I would beat myself up and/or spend hours to get things as close to “perfect” as possible.
Recently, I have come to accept the fact that my house will probably never look “perfect.” I’m becoming more okay with messy. This doesn’t mean that I am not going to make efforts to clean and declutter. It just means I’m not going to make having a clean & decluttered home more important than inviting people in. Instead of stressing about how my home looks when I have visitors, I want to be able to focus on the relationships and being with those people. Instead of closing all the doors and hiding the messy in the bedrooms, I want to be okay with showing people around – even when there’s clothes on the floor or my office looks like a paper explosion.
Being okay with messy is hard. It requires caring less about what people think of you and thinking more about the other person. It means giving up pride and realizing that the majority of other people have messy somewhere, too. Even if they are the best housekeeper you know (think Monica on the show “Friends”).
In my women’s Bible study group, we’ve encountered messy, too. We call it the “ugly cry.” You know – the kind of crying when you can’t get the words out, and, well, it’s just not pretty. Most people do not like to ugly cry. It’s messy. It’s vulnerable. But we all do it. We all have messy.
Sometimes in Christian circles, we tend to think that no one should have messy. We think our lives need to look a certain way, and if they don’t, we shove things into closets and hide them, hoping no one will discover it. But the fact is, I don’t know a single family – or person, for that matter – without some form of messy. And no matter how hard we try to live the life God calls us to, messy still happens. Children are still disobedient at the most inopportune times (usually in church). Marriages still fall apart, despite best efforts at times. People still struggle with addictions, temptations, fears, anxiety, and depression.
We need to be okay with messy. Not in the sense of accepting it and telling someone their house (or life) looks perfect when it doesn’t. Instead, I mean letting go of the false gods of a perfect home and perfect life and ideal family situation. I want to be okay with messy. I want let people in, focus on the relationships, and love people. I want to allow myself to ugly cry – at times – with people who love me and who will pray for me and help me get through the messy.
Isn’t this the example we have in Scripture? The Bible never promises that our lives as Christians will be easy. And we certainly know we are not perfect. So perhaps it’s time that we become okay with messy – our own and others’ – and support one another through it.