The 9Marks ejournal this month was about discipleship. In one of the articles, the author encourages us that: This “is our confidence: not that we have the perfect home and well-behaved children, but that in the muck and mire, God’s Spirit is at work.”
I came across a quote on this idea from another friend this week:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life–the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” -C.S. Lewis
And then it hit me: I can’t wait until our life is “perfect” to live life! This IS my life, the days that God has given me. By waiting until it’s something that it’s not (and won’t ever be!) I’m wasting the opportunities that God is giving me now, today.
We had a friend over for dinner last week. When he came, there was flour all over the kitchen floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and toys spread from one end of the house to the other. Dinner wasn’t ready and my husband was tied up with a problem at work.
Rather than stressing out, though, I decided that I needed to embrace that this is our real life right now and that God has given it to us to steward well. So, when our friend came into the house, the first thing I said was: “Welcome to Real Life!” He looked a little confused at first, but quickly took the baby from us and made himself right at home.
As Mark and I have talked about it, one of the things he has reminded me of is that sometimes a less than perfect home can be more comfortable than a perfect one. He’s right, I think. Our homes should reflect our lives and the people that live in them. While we probably all want to project our perfection through our surroundings (who doesn’t want to be known as the person who’s on top of things, who can manage their home with a flick of the wrist, and have everyone admire them for that?), the reality is something different.
Am I concerned with a clean house, good food, well-behaved family because I’m concerned about the comforts of others or because my pride wants to be built up by people being impressed by me? Sadly, too often it’s the second motivation.
So, this past week, I’ve been repeating the phrase: “this is real life, this is real life,” to myself. It’s silly, but it’s been enough of a reminder to me that I don’t resent the interruptions, the unpredictability of daily life. I can enjoy what’s happening rather than worrying about the next thing on my list. It’s given me the freedom to live.
Welcome to Real Life
The dishes may be dirty
The beds may not be made
The clothes might be a mountain
The toys might be awry
But come right in and be at home
We’d love to have you stay.
We’ve found what is important:
Our Savior, family, friends.