My house was a disaster zone. I had dirty and wet laundry scattered all over the basement. There were dusty shelves and bathrooms that needed a good, deep scrub, streaked windows and a floor that seems to be constantly covered in dog hair. But I ignored all of this and played outside with the kids on a beautiful, warm summer day.
My in-laws came over for dinner that evening and walked out to the backyard to see me and my kids (who were in swim suits) dancing and being silly together in the yard. I had to apologize for the state of my house. I said I chose to do this (“this” as in dancing in the yard with my kids) instead of cleaning. My mother-in-law laughed and said it was a Mary and Martha moment.
First, thank God for a mother-in-law who can see the positive in a moment like that instead of criticizing me and my dirty house!!
If you recall the story from Luke chapter 10, Jesus came to visit Mary and Martha at their home. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to his words. But Martha was distracted by all of the work to be done for her guests. She pleaded with Jesus – “Don’t you see that Mary has left me alone to do all of this work! Tell her to help me!!” And Jesus said to Martha:
“You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
I have gotten better about this over the last few years – not perfect, but better. I used to be much more concerned about what people thought about me as a host – how clean was my house, was the food all homemade, were there enough activities to keep people happy?!? But as work got busier and kids made life more hectic, I realized that I had to try and give up perfection if I want to actually enjoy life.
So dance with your kids, cuddle with your spouse, talk to old friends on the phone, allow yourself some time each day to pray and build a deeper relationship with your God. Your house will not be spotless, there will be piles of laundry undone at all times, and you might serve food that came out of a box. But it’s OK!! Life is short. Think about what really matters in the end, and let your daily choices follow.