Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Everyone Else's Home

Is it just me, or does anyone else fall into the comparison trap? Perhaps I'm more prone to this sinful behavior due to some of my first born, perfectionist tendencies, but either way, sin is sin right! And let me be clear here, most of my comparing has no basis in fact; how pathetic is that!? Most of the time, I'm comparing myself (and falling short of course) to things I only imagine other people have or do. Here's a little monologue I shamefully play in my head at times:
"In other people's homes, I bet the floors and counters are always clutter free. I bet their floors are always swept and mopped and their windows are free of little finger smudges. I bet other people's bathrooms never have pink rings in the toilet or toothpaste splatters on the mirrors or make-up drips in the sinks. I bet other people's showers are always free of soap scum and their window sills free of dust and their carpets free of crumbs and... well I bet their houses are always perfectly clean! And I bet other people's children never fight or disobey or sass their mommies and I bet those mommies never respond in anger. I bet other parents are always perfectly consistent in discipline and have children who respond perfectly and lastingly to each episode of chastisement. I bet other mom's fix gourmet meals for their families every night and have children who quietly and serenely color in coloring books for the entire time it takes to prepare the meal. I bet other mom's get up at 5:00am every morning for a quiet time and a rigorous workout routine, even after only 5 hours of broken sleep..." And on and on it goes! I am confessing this here because I want to change. I want to turn from the sin of comparison and bask in the promises of my Savior. He promises to be glorified in my weaknesses, to give me strength when I rely fully on Him, and most importantly, He promises to love me with an unfailing love! Where is there room for shallow comparison when we humble our hearts before the Lord and realize what He did for us when there is nothing we could ever do to deserve it? We are all in the same boat, we all fall drastically and lethally short of God's glory and are in desperate need of Jesus Christ. Without Him, we are nothing, and no amount of good deeds is going to change that. And are we really loving one another when we try to appear that we have it all together or are we perpetuating the comparison game even more, keeping our focus on what WE can do instead of who CHRIST is?
So, my challenge to myself and anyone else who sees themselves in me is; let's be open and real with one another. Let's let people see our cluttered, dirty houses once in awhile. Who knows, it might just bless the socks off of them to see that "other people" can't keep it all together all the time either. This in no way means we stagnate in laziness of course, but rather that we link elbows in a sort of understanding that our jobs are hard and we don't always do them perfectly. Let's share our parenting struggles so we can glean from other's experiences and strengths. And if we have times of success and strength, let's not be tempted to judge or look down on those who are struggling, but rather, let's put on a servants heart (and perhaps some cleaning gloves) and serve our sisters in Christ, both through acts and through words of encouragement.
Just me growing, As The Lord Works:).

9 comments:

Katie said...

Oh Sarah! You would never find pink rings in my toliets! My kiddos never talk back to me! Ha!
Don't you fret, you are not alone!

Sheri said...

Sarah, I needed to read this today... I think every woman has felt like you so brilliantly wrote. And, like you said, this comparison-attitude is not from our Heavenly Father. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, and not on what we "think" others are doing. Hee. Hee. And, I agree that it may be a first born tendency. I’m there with you on that one too!

It was also wonderful to see pics of your beautiful family! I know you all are enjoying these newborn days as much as we are. I wish we lived closer so we could get our two girls and baby-boys together for a play-date. I know we would have a wonderful time of fellowship

Maryann said...

It's hard sometimes to remember these truths. Thanks for reminding us.
I find that working from home with a new baby has forced me to just allow people to see burp clothes strewn about and the lovely rings in my toilets. True enough, I think to myself, "I hope they don't see my dirty dishes or messy end tables", but in truth I'd rather they see me smiling and my baby well cared for.
Which is all I'd want to see from anyone I cared for.....and I know that your house displays these grand qualities, so dust bunnies be darned!!

Jenn @ Munchkin Land said...

Beautifully written friend, and oh so true! =) But I like friends that are real... and always-clean houses, always-obedient children, and always-perfect mothers are not real.

I just want to add that I also think that post-partum tends to magnify everything too. Whether it be full-blown depression, baby blues, or just adjusting to a new schedule, those feelings of inadequecy tend to be magnified by 100%.

I love you and I think you're doing an incredible job as wife to Travis and mommy of three. Hang in there. One day, we'll look back at these days and wonder where time went!

The Hill Family said...

i fall into that trap way too often! partly because i create an unrealistic set of expectations on each day...today i'm going to clean the house from top to bottom, catch up on all the laundry, and cook ten pounds of meat for the freezer so cooking goes easier next week...then I'm discouraged at the end of the day because even the part of the floors I cleaned while the kids were at school is no longer clean, forget about the rest of the house, and dinner for TONIGHT isn't ready yet! So thanks for reminding me that we're not alone and that regardless of what we think, our "success" on this earth is not measured by how many days our floors were crumb-less and our windows spotless...

Alycia said...

So well written Sarah! It is so easy to fall into this trap. Thanks for the reminder to keep things real. Have a blessed day, Alycia

Amber L. said...

Well spoken Seed. Why clean your house for guests when you're going to have to clean it again anyway after they leave. He he! Just joking. I do agree that it's easy to compare. If it's anything to you, I always feel at home at your house. Clutter or not. Actually, especially the clutter.
Love you.

Evans Family said...

AMEN!!!! Thank you for this post!

Mindy said...

I think this belongs in the garden of thoughts!!

Great post!