I’m looking around at my house. It looks like a tornado hit it. Not on the outside, but on the inside.
Dishes are in the sink. Groceries are on the counter, not yet put away from a shopping spree last Friday. Laundry is folded on the couch, still sitting there from two days ago. My dining table is covered in a baby shower invitation project.
My bookshelves are stacked with the remaining decorations from my parents’ 50th anniversary party. Mail is sitting on my dresser, begging to be sorted. Dirty clothes are in piles waiting to be washed. What nags at me the most are the 30 boxes that still haven’t been unpacked from our move.
Welcome to my life. Welcome to my home. I live here. I do life here. I play with my daughter here. I cook here and eat here. I sleep here. Cluttered and all.
My home in my hub. I come home, stay awhile, prepare for the next endeavor and then head out again.
What happened to my neat, clean, tidy, organized house? Life.
And, in this season, I have to be okay with it.
One would think that I have overcommitted myself. I have actually pulled out of most activities in this season.
One would think that I spend too much time watching TV or surfing the web. We don’t have TV, and I am rarely on my phone or computer.
One would think that I sit on my keister and do very little all day, but I hardly sit down.
So, what takes up most of my time? Relationships.
My busy 3-year-old princess is a full-time job.
I make time for conversations and cuddles with my husband in order to stay connected.
I do not function well without my sweet time with Jesus.
My parents moved here to be close to us, and I enjoy spending time with them and helping with their needs.
My husband’s parents also moved here to be close to us, and we see them as often as we can.
Praying with my life group girls from church offers each of us necessary discipleship and accountability.
And my precious friends continue to be iron sharpening iron for me.
These people are my world. I love them, and they love me. And to love well, we must put time into relationships.
I still go grocery shopping. I do laundry. I cook. I clean. I slowly unpack boxes. But, I do not neglect those I love.
If God took me home tomorrow and people came to my house to offer comfort to my family, they would look around and say, “Wow. This is a mess.”
But with a closer look, they would recognize the love and life that happened in every single room.
In this season, I want to embrace the people in my life rather than my to-do list. Pending God allows me to live a while longer, everything will get done eventually. My home will again be organized and decorated. But, I will never have this precious time with my sweet toddler again. We will only have these special years of growing and learning and discovering one time, and I don’t want to miss a thing!
I also know that our parents won’t live forever. So, it is well worth taking a full day to just love and serve them.
Needless to say, I’m beginning to be thankful for the small accomplishments. A couple of pictures were hung week before last. Some curtains were hung last week. One more box is unpacked over the weekend. And, I am learning to be okay with the process.
As nice as it feels to be settled, I would never take back the times my sweet girl wants to crawl in my lap and read a book ... or 10. As she sounds out words and begins to spell, my heart leaps. As she thumbs through the pages of her Bible story book and tells me the stories, I shed happy tears. As she turns on praise music, grabs my hands and dances with me around the living room, I know that all of the clutter is worth it.
This morning, I will catch up on dishes and laundry. This afternoon, I will take my mom to a doctor’s appointment. Tonight, I will cook dinner and enjoy time with my husband.
And the simplicity of this day will be enough.
I am learning that if I get one really productive task done each day, I’ve had a victory. However, my greatest victory lies in the priceless smiles and giggles I get to experience as I stop what I’m doing to go push my daughter in the swing or tickle her until she gleefully squeals. It’s always worth it.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be remembered for the way I loved and not for the tidy home I maintained.
I think my Heavenly Father smiles when I love His people well. I think He is pleased when I serve them and pour into their lives. I think this is why I was created.
So, when I wake up in the morning, look around, and quickly want to cover my head back up because my house boasts the opposite of immaculate, I relax and thank God for the beauty of this season of life.
I will choose to find joy in slow progress and sweet relationships.
Is God calling you to do the same? Let go of your to-do lists and invest in your family? In your friendships? In your marriage? In your church? In your relationship with Jesus?
What needs to shuffled around or even temporarily ignored so that others know they are important to you?
I will never regret the choice to choose people. I will never regret the choice to love. I will never regret the sacrifice of time. Because in a few short years, everything will change. And I do not want to wish I had chosen differently.
Misty Shultz holds master’s degrees in marriage and family counseling and Christian education. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.