My Annoying Flaw

15 Jun

I apologize. It’s 11:30 at night. I’m soooo sleepy. But I want to write about something that’s been on my mind. So while it may be a little short and undeveloped, I hope this short little post sparks some thought on a topic I believe is important and requires thought.

This week I came face to face with one of my most annoying flaws.  As I was preparing my house for my cousins Christine’s arrival, I began obsessing over tidying my house. I know it’s normal to want to be in a tidy house…actually it’s healthy and good. But as with many things, taken to an extreme it can become a flaw. I think I’m getting dangerously close to that point.

Take for example the other afternoon. I was standing outside with Amanda enjoying the beautiful weather. And then I noticed it…the garden…it was full of little leaves and weeds growing out of nowhere. They looked so out of place and were demanding my immediate attention. But I’m enjoying the walk, the weather, my daughter. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have gardening tools, or even gloves for that matter!! Clearly this wasn’t the time or the place. But that didn’t stop me.  I got down on the ground, propped Amanda on my lap and started pulling out the weeds with my bare hands. These are the moments where I wonder if my obsession with tidiness has gone too far.

Today as Amanda was eating her breakfast, I was so distracted by the mess that was being created in the process. Crumbs were EVERYWHERE. Instead of enjoying the fact that she was learning to eat solids and learning to use her fingers to feed herself, all I kept thinking was how messy everything was getting, and how I couldn’t wait for it to be finished so I could clean up. Another wasted opportunity to enjoy time with my daughter. More evidence that my obsession with neatness is developing into a flaw.

But here’s the thing. I’m not like this when it comes to cleanliness. If something is dirty, it doesn’t seem to bother me the same way. Stain on the carpet? Well, as long as the stain is the same colour as the carpet, what’s the problem? As long as the house LOOKS neat and tidy, I’m okay with it. I guess you can say that in some ways, I’m more concerned about the appearance of my home, rather than what’s hiding under the couch.

Is this not how the world operates? Is it not all about appearances rather than reality? People spend thousands and thousands of dollars in an attempt to transform their homes into picture perfect retreats, when all along the home may be filled with broken relationships and families. We spend endless amount of time beautifying ourselves on the outside, and often neglect to address the mess that may actually exist on the inside. We say the right things, impress others with our words and our wit, all the while hiding how we truly feel and what we actually want to say.

For the Lord does not see as man sees;[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Unlike the world, God is not deceived by appearances, nor is He impressed. He looks right through us and sees our hearts. He gets right to the heart of the matter. This is what concerns Him. This is what He is after. This is what He wants to transform.

My prayer is that I spend more time sitting in front of the mirror of God’s word, rather than the mirror that simply reflects my outward appearance. My prayer is that I spent more time tidying my inward man, rather than just obsessing over the “mess” that is in my home. My prayer is that I will be genuine in my conversations, sharing my heart, my weaknesses and my struggles, rather than focusing on how I can build an impressive self image through humour and impressive stories.

My prayer is that I too would focus on the heart, rather than just the outward appearance. How about you? Is this something you have struggled with? What have you learned about the importance of the heart rather than simply the outward appearance of things? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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