| Guest Mom Monday |
I once took a personality test that said, "Your desk is always clean, but your drawers are often a mess." Much to my husband's chagrin, this is true.
If nothing else gets done in a day, my floors will be vacuumed and my kitchen countertops will be clean. Just don't look inside the refrigerator or behind any closed doors.
I have a pile of stuff on the dryer that drives my engineer husband crazy. He can't seem to understand what paint samples, bills, and coupons have in common with the dryer. I do, however, have a perfectly logical explanation: I don't want them on the kitchen counter, and I don't want to forget about them!
I can't help but think that this humorous, sometimes irritating, quirk could be much more significant if I let it translate to my self. Do I get caught up in having a "picture perfect" life, while inside I'm a mess?
Somebody once said not to compare your insides with someone else's outsides. I think that is great advice, because if we did, we would always fall short or fall victim to envy.
Parenting often exposes your insides. It opens closed doors. It puts everything out there for the world to see. Have a bad day and use foul language? Your child will repeat it at church the next morning. Think you are a pretty patient person? I guarantee that a two year old will challenge that.
While we are often proud of our children, there are days when they humble us. Like the day when they throw a screaming fit right in the middle of Fred Meyer. . . and BiMart, and Lowe’s, just to make sure everyone in town heard.
Maybe one of the reasons God allowed us to have children is for the same reason that I put things on top of the dryer. Hear me out, I will make this sound logical: it's so things can't be "tucked in a drawer" and forgotten.
We get reminded daily where there is room for improvement, and the only way to clean up is from the inside out. We can’t “put on a show” for our children. They see everything — strengths, weaknesses and, thankfully, change.
They notice when we react differently, like when we strengthen from the inside and respond to their challenge with calm confidence instead of exasperation.
There is hope. The personality test I took during my college years does not have to determine the rest of my life. I am perfectly capable of rolling up my sleeves and cleaning out the refrigerator and the closets.
So also can I dig deep and root out whatever pride, selfishness or other weaknesses I find. Don’t worry, the kids will help.
When we clean up from the inside out, we stop having to manage appearances and we can just be genuine with other people. Then they can come along side and help us through the murky waters of parenthood.
How encouraging it is just to know that we are not in it alone. Other moms also struggle to figure out how to manage each new stage their children enter and they also discover their own weaknesses in the course of raising their children.
When we have friends like that, we can rejoice together when we overcome an obstacle, when we make it through a day without losing our cool, and of course, when we finally clean off the pile on top of the dryer.