Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Papers and Knicknacks and Tchotckes, Oh My!

I love a clean house. A clutter-free kitchen. A freshly made bed.

I crave clear, wide swaths of carpet. I dream of smooth coffee tables and kitchen tables and side tables and desks, with a few artfully placed accents.

I feel like I can take a big breath of relief and just relax when things are tidy.

Which is...

A. At 10 o'clock at night for about an hour before I collapse into bed.
B. Never.

Oh, did I mention I have kids? Three kids (8, 6, and 1)?

Did I happen to note that they are art freaks, nature aficionados, and tchotcke connoisseurs? You can see it in the collections that inhabit every flat surface, that swirl and eddy around the corners of closets, furniture, and every nook and cranny imaginable.

You can see my dilemma. You live it too if you have kids.

But here's the problem with aspiring to a clean, tidy home: It can become an impossibility, an obsession, an idol we pursue above more important goals.

Thanks to a very thoughtful friend, I've been reading Sarah Young's delightful little book, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, which she lent me.

Because Sarah is infinitely smoother-tongued than I, I'll quote from the entry that hit the bullseye for me.

You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.

Yes, that's me, to a T. How often do I wait to seek God until just one more thing is crossed off my to-do list?

A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead, ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment. He will keep you close to Me.