Hi…I’d love to have you come in and chat, but my house is messy, so never mind.

Speaking from the heart

This morning I learned that one way you live out your faith is through hospitality. The original Greek word in the Bible for hospitality comes from two root words meaning love and strangers. Reading Acts 2:42-47, it is clear that the first century church got together…daily. In fellowship with God, and in fellowship with one another.

Fellowship. Showing strangers love, giving of your self.

I love to entertain…when I have the time…when the house is clean….when the kids are clean…when I have a wonderful, creative menu planned…..when I have the energy to do everything I just mentioned. Just right. Sitting here thinking of the past 5 years or so, I realize that I can count all the times I have opened my home to others (by my invitation) on one hand. Sad. Today’s message in church cut to my heart.

For many years, I obsessed about the cooking and cleaning before any family member or friend came for a visit. Especially Nate’s family. My family knows that I can be a slob and lazy…not quite as much now as when I was a teenager…but I still feel like I have something to prove to them since I’m grown up and all. I was mortified if anyone just showed up…which I think just happened twice…it was so startling for me that I still remember it…and the house wasn’t in that bad of shape…just not up to my company-is-coming-over standards. I love going into someone’s home and seeing a little dust or crumbs on the floor or papers on the counter. It makes me feel better about myself…not in a superior or judging sort away, like I somehow have it all together, but in a way that shows me they are human, and that our relationship is more important than the condition of their home. Why can’t I be that way…free to show the real me and be okay with the real me?

I love the freedom of honesty. When I was a kid, my room was a disaster….I mean the floor was completely covered. I don’t think I had a lot of stuff…it was just all out of my closet and drawers on the floor. All the time. I think my mom knew it was hopeless, so she let me have friends over anyway. This life lesson I need to remember as an adult. I was blessed with many friends and several close friends, they ranged from neat and clean freaks (I use that term in a loving way) to a little bit sloppy. I was by far the worst…off the charts of messiness. But I don’t believe that hindered our relationship at all, in fact, I would argue that it strengthened it. I was able to be completely honest with them….they saw the real me. Why am I so afraid of that as an adult? I crave neatness now, but I cannot maintain it all hours of every day with three young kids, a husband, dog, cat, homeschooling, working from home….unless that was all I focused on. But for me, that would not be truly living. And you don’t take your tidy house with you when you die.

This weekend I’m home alone and everyone will be back in a few hours. Usually I would clean my house, but I’m choosing not to today, because then instead of being happy when everyone comes home, I would be obsessing about the mess they are making as they settle back in. What is wrong with me?

I even left their Legos on the floor. And created a mess of my own. This (below) is my view as I type. That popcorn bag is from the movie I watched….yesterday. I straightened the pillows before taking the photo. Yes, I have a problem.

Here’s what they looked like before. I am more comfortable showing this to the general public online than my next door neighbor. Sharing photos of the kids’ rooms is not something I’m prepared to do yet. Just imagine unmade beds and things all over the floor. They resemble mine at that age, I’m sure. I see their messes as a reflection of me and my lack of parenting skills. Yes, I have issues. I clearly see that now, and I’m seeking help.

I am letting go, but I cannot do this on my own. I need You, Holy Spirit, Counselor, to make this change in me. Desperately. Because I feel like I’m living in a box, afraid that someone is going to knock on the door, and want to peek inside. I don’t always like the real me that is inside. I’m not perfect. Help me to let go of the fear that everyone else is.

* * *

This move back to our hometown, near more family, has afforded us many more unannounced or “minimal warning” visits. Terrifying at first, it has been liberating. Each instance has forced me to deal with it. Bit by bit my box is being torn down. I feel open…excited about the possibility of new, and strengthened relationships with others….nurtured in my own home. Confidant that my family and friends love me for who I am, and that when they visit, they will be paying attention to me and my family, not the untidy space.

Now what do I do about having people over in such a small house… :)

My “problem” may seem trivial to you…yes, there are far more worse things that people face…I know devastation personally…but it’s real for me right now and I wanted to share what’s on my heart. I pray that you see beyond my words and reflect on the greater meaning and how it applies to you.

As far as this blog is concerned I hope to share more of my self. My art is obviously a part of me and I share that regularly, but there is more to me than art. God may just use me and this blog to strengthen His relationship with someone else. And I pray that he does. What a humbling thought.

♥ Faith

P.S. A minimalist lifestyle has helped me immensely. I wish I would have been exposed to this way of thought years ago. It works for my family and I believe that it is Biblical. Now when my house is messy, it consists of just little messes that can be picked up in minutes…but they are still embarrassing for me….why, God, why?!

I need to just get a sign for my front lawn that says,

 “I’m messy, I wish I weren’t, but that’s not important, so please come in anyway.”

I think that would help.

In case you are interested, here are my favorite minimalist blogs:

becomingminimalist Our minimalism reflects his…we are a family with stuff, but not much excess. I have read all three of Joshua’s books, they are all quick reads, and I enjoyed them.

the minimalists Someday I hope to be as minimalist as them, my husband is not so sure about that. :) I was even able to get rid of our alarm clock in our bedroom because of their blog….I’m weird…I know.

And a book that I am downloading today, earlier this summer my Pastor mentioned to me that his wife enjoyed reading it: 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

Note to self….there’s so much more to life than stuff…that I have learned, but there’s also so much more to life than a perfectly clean house. Get over yourself. There are more important things to occupy your mind. These obsessions and fears of yours are trivial…holding you back.

Comments

  1. I love your entry on your blog. It is so true of many of us. We live in Arizona and we pare of a big international ministry when the Lord asked us if woe would give up our home and everything we owned except a few things , our clothes and our little Maltese doggy and our Siamese cat. We said yes, and basically He said you have 4 days. So we opened our doors and gave away everything we had our antiques , our furniture, well lets just say everything. I had so much “stuff” We did it in 4 days and the house was spotless on the night of the 4th day. That alone had to take angels LOL.We headed for Washington state ,not knowing what the Lord had in mind. It has been 3 years and we have been ministering the Lord all around the U.S. and with just basically what we have in our Ford Explorer SUV which isn’t very big. All the things I thought I had to have I found out didn’t matter as long as I had the Lord and my husband, People at first told us we were crazy and that God wouldn’t ask us to do that and now they are cheering us on, and there is a peace that we cannot explain. Do we want another home, yes, but it be for a while as we are now headed to the Philippines to minister. I love your post and you are so on the right track. I love your images and I love your blog, thank you so much for sharing with us . Hugs and blessings , Cathy K
    ckuntz@xpwebchurch.com
    http://www.greaterworkshealing.com

    • An AMAZING testimony, Cathy! Thank you so much for sharing! I almost didn’t post this on my blog today because I thought, this is so stupid, people are going to think she’s obsessing over nothing…but it shows how subtle the devil can work through someone of faith being inhospitable because of an insecurity. On the surface it seems minor, but I was convicted in my heart today that my insecurity has changed me into someone I don’t want to be. I have been staying in my safe shell instead of reaching out to others.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing Faith! It is wonderful to get to know you a bit more. That you are real…and not putting on a show. I struggle with that a lot, not believing that people would really like me if I’m just me. I’m not a huge slob, but I do tend to add clutter where ever I go. I drive my husband crazy, who in my opinion borders on excessive compulsive disorder! I like things tidy, but I’m terrible for getting corners and really only do major cleaning in project form. The clean the bathroom everyday thing…well that would never happen in my home! If I can’t see where I cleaned, then what’s the point??? The Lord has been laying on my heart as of lately, that in all that I have, it needs to have a useful property to it or I just need to say good-bye to it.
    Sometimes I think moving would be so great, because then I’d only take what I need.
    Thanks again for sharing!

  3. Faith, did I read some place that you moved to Nebraska? We would drive to Nebraska from Washingto state every summer and those are some of my best memories.

  4. Faith, I like how honest you are… I was much like you early in my marriage I would spend all day every Saturday cleaning my house top to bottom. Meanwhile my husband would be out playing ball or hunting with his buddy. It took me a while but I learnt that a clean house is not the most important thing in life…
    On another note people rarely come to see your house they usually come to see you :)
    Another hard learned lesson.
    Now when it is your first time coming to my house I clean like a mad woman and then I say enjoy because you will never see it like this again. The next time they get the well lived in look that we sport most of the time.

    • Thank you, Carmen. I love your philosophy! I think that is one that would work for me!! So funny!

  5. Faith, as an older woman I can say that my teens ‘cured’ me of the ‘must be perfect before visitors’ syndrome – they had folks over every (and I mean every) Sunday, and not just their friends, but whole families at times, but not without my permission…….. it meant that Saturday’s were tidy up days, but even that went by the by when they played sports!! And one winter their friends from out of town frequently came to our place between sports games to warm up, eat etc. :-) I have never recovered and now folks are welcome when ever, being of the mindset that they come to see me and not my house.
    Blessings
    Maxine

  6. Debbie Fisher says:

    Faith, I didn’t realize you moved to NE. Where did you move? Are you in Kearney? I go there every other month or so. Maybe we could meet up. You would NOT have to clean up for me. If you are ever in the Ord area, you should look me up as well. I would love to meet in IRL. Ü

  7. You could always put a duster out and say they had caught you in the middle of dusting?

    OR you could give them the finest welcome ever and they won’t mind what mess you have.

  8. Oh my goodness Faith…. to be honest, it’s been quite a while since I’ve visited (sorry!) and today I just did and read this post. This is soooo me! I told my husband our bedroom furniture is way too big for our small room and it’s too cluttered. There’s not enough closet space… or storage for everything so things end up in piles on our floor. I actually would wake up around 2 or 3 a.m. and be obsessed with wanting to minimalize. So I talked my husband into selling our bulky bedroom furniture on Craigslist and making a simple headboard that I saw using just wood slats and a cute hanging banner. We have yet to sell it, but we cleaned out all the drawers and got it ready to show and bagged up…. FOURTEEN Trash bags full of clothes sitting in closet and drawers that we havent’ worn in years and donated them to the Goodwill.

    I grew up with a CLEAN FREAK of a dad who made us keep our rooms spotless and had to do chores before we could leave for school. As soon as I went away to college the true me came out. I wasn’t “dirty” but very untidy. Enough with the folding and bed-making etc. Now, as I have early teen girls and our busy schedules, I find it very difficult to keep the house clean. I assign them chores like doing the dishes but their schedules don’t allow for even that. I’m already dreading the busy-ness of the school year (busier than last year) and it hasn’t even started. My dad used to just drop by – unannounced and that drove me crazy. If he did come in, I’d be listening to him as I slowly went around and picked things up. I think he finally either felt uncomfortable or noticed my discomfort and he doesn’t visit hardly at all anymore. *sigh* I keep thinking… when the kids leave in another 5 or so years, our house will be able to stay clean. I notice I say that about a lot of things though, not just keeping my house clean. It’s as if I’m putting my life on hold —- well, living it for my girls really — and waiting to make changes until this or that happens. What a waste of time. We aren’t promised tomorrow. We need to live each day to the fullest. That’s what I struggle with. Anywhoo…. my comments are not really helpful I know…. just wanted you to know that you are not alone. I’m sure so many feel the same way and it touches our lives on a much deeper level than just keeping a clean house. Thanks for sharing. God bless

    • LOVE this Kris!! Thank you so much for sharing, and it’s so great to “see” you again!! :) I actually had a dinner party last night…it was wonderful, I may blog about it this week. :)

      I’m so glad to hear that I am not the only middle of the night purger. ;)

      • That’s awesome, would love to read about it. :) It’s been way too long since I’ve had a dinner party. Even the girls birthdays these last few years are held at a pizza joint or bowling alley, lol. *sigh* One of these days!!!! **GRIN**

  9. One more thought….. the story of Mary and Martha comes to mind. Martha busy in the kitchen, trying to make everything perfect instead of just “being” in the presence of her company (Jesus). I’ve been a Martha way too often…. may He help us be more like Mary. :)