I have this hobby called “tweaking” (moving items from one place to another). I am constantly tweaking the decorations around my home, which I find to be very therapeutic. It’s an outlet for me. However, recently I found myself not finding any peace or joy in the process of “tweaking”. Instead, I was feeling overwhelmed, insecure and ready to pitch in the towel on decorating altogether.
In this day and age where social media allows us to catch a glimpse into the homes and the lives of anyone and everyone, it has become ever increasingly easy to compare our lives, homes, outfits, extracurricular activities to those of others. We know this. I know this. And yet, I still do it. I see pictures of centerpieces and kitchens and vignettes and living rooms of women across the country, and they all look so incredibly perfect and clean. From lighting to accents to pillows and throws, nothing is out of place, and not a wrinkle or crinkle can be found. While I love these snapshots into the homes of others, I have to be honest with you, it has become a source of anxiety for me. My love for tweaking has turned into a stressful, obsessive compulsive need for my house to be absolutely perfect, and I start panicking when its time to pick my kids up from school because I know that our kitchen island will soon be overtaken by homework and snacks and all the things. All.The.Things.
Here’s my reality, folks. Lots of people live in my house. And while all of those people appreciate the warm and cozy home I work very hard to create, they are in the business of actually living in this home, rather than just looking and admiring the decorations. While I’m over here crying, “Why can’t my house look like a magazine cover???” They’re over there making toast with peanut butter and still leaving a trail of crumbs even after they’ve wiped the counter down. Our couch is never smooth. It always has wrinkles in it and the pillows are typically out of order. This is because people sit on it, relax on it, and put their feet up for a little snooze or cuddle time. I love the fashionable, still-life picture perfect magazine cover, they love the functional, practical, this is my house where I can rest, relax and recharge from a long day at work/school.
To pull back the layers of this reality a little deeper, I believe at the heart of this obsessive need for the magazine cover home is image control. I want everyone to think I have it all together. That’s the bottom line. But here’s the honest to goodness truth: I don’t have it all together. Not at all. For a nanosecond I might actually believe that I’ve got a handle on things, and then I peer into the kitchen and that nanosecond is gone, gone baby. As much as I try, there is no hiding my realness.
Here is what I’m learning right now. It is not my job to “have it all together”. Colossians 1:16, 17 says: “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Regardless of what is seen or unseen, my life is His, and He is holding it all together. I don’t have to have that magazine cover home, and it’s okay if the kitchen looks a little out of sorts. These do not define my worth.
Guess what…we don’t need to have it all together.
And digging even deeper still, the issue you might be wrestling with may be much, much weightier than interior design and decorations. Your struggle may be sickness, a challenging teen, financial setbacks…it could be anything. I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But God does. He sees the visible and invisible parts of all of our lives. And he certainly does not expect you to have it all together. And neither do I. He’s holding you. Even when it seems unreal, impossible, and overwhelming. He is holding it all together.
From messy living spaces to hurting hearts and messy lives, God has got it all. So, let’s maybe make a little pact today…how about I stop trying to have the magazine cover house/life, pretending that I’ve got it all together, and you do the same. Can we do that? And can we agree that we don’t need to have it all together anymore? And even more so, can we let go of our stuff and allow God to hold all the pieces, all the worries and all of the details we’re trying to manage? And can we extend grace to one-another when there are piles of crumbs on the floor and dishes in the sink?
I think it’s worth the try.