Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 2 Getting Real- I'm Messy

Yesterday I wrote about the comparison trap that I so often fall into.  Today I thought about something I remember learning in college: comparison creates an umbrella effect.  When we compare ourselves to others we either put ourselves above them or beneath them.  We gravitate over the umbrella or comparing brings us under it.  Either way is wrong.  It's pride to think we're better than another and it's pride masquerading as humility when we think we are less than someone else.

I want to share two things today.  The first has a lot to do with taking off a mask and the second was an unexpected God moment that I just want to share.  

clean, not put away dishes
Hi, my name is Danielle and I am a horrible housekeeper.  *gasp!*  Well, unless you really know me and then you are sitting at your computer nodding your head. ha!  It's true.  I hate this about myself but I don't care enough about it for it to really bring about change.  In fact, the only time I really care about having a super clean, neat and tidy house is if company is coming over.  In my normal day to day life it doesn't really bother me that there are little fur bunnies dancing around my hardwood floor or that my bed isn't made or that my desk is piled with papers and mail.  

I like to be organized but it doesn't stress me out when I'm not.  Well, until I have to find something.  Or, again, until someone is coming over.  Because if others know this then that means I am less of a woman.  It means they will judge me.  Or talk about my messy house when they leave.  It means they won't like me as much.  It means I'm standing under the umbrella and they are over it.  And I want to look like I have it all together.

My very messy Island
I remember as a teenager I didn't make my bed.  My grandma did.  Actually, as a kid I didn't have any chores.  My aunt told my grandma that I needed chores or I would grow up into a sloth of an adult (ok, she didn't use those words- she was much kinder. That was just what my heart heard).  So, my lack of housekeeping skills hit a tender spot.  Do I know I'm not a sloth of an adult?  Most days.  Do I feel less than because of them?  Yep.

Messy Counter
So, today I am peeling away that mask and am choosing grace.  I am not the tidiest.  And if you come to my house and take your shoes off (which you never ever have to do) your white socks may be a little less white when you leave.  But this I promise you- I will sit with you and I will listen to you.  I will offer you coffee or tea and if I have any treats you can help yourself. I will laugh with you and I might even cry with you.  That's what I can bring to my very messy table.

Here's the second thing I want to share with you: I had a really cool God moment today.  I ran to Target to pick up some Christmas gifts.  I thought it would just be a neat little trip in which I would treat myself to a tall, non-fat, no whip, caramel brulee latte and peruse the aisles with a sleeping baby in his carrier.  I did treat myself to a delicious latte and I perused the aisles.  The baby didn't sleep and I had to make a trip to the bathroom after he blew up his diaper.  The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

So, I was checking out and I just happened to look up at the lady that was cashing me out and I looked her in the eye and asked, "How are you today?" and I didn't look away.  She looked at me and I saw a little pain in her face.  She said that she'd been better.  I asked her why.  This morning she had to put her dog to sleep.  As she rang me out she shared about his struggles the past nine months and how today she had to put him down.  He was a little maltese named Gus.  

As I put my bags into my cart I told her how sorry I was and how I have a dog that is my baby, too.  And I leaned over and hugged her.  I don't know why.  I like a good hug but I am well aware not everybody does.  But sometimes when God works we don't have time to stop and think we are just in this moment, unaware of how big it really is.  And we act out of the core of who we are and I just like to hug.  This woman, she leaned in and accepted my hug.  She squeezed me back and thanked me and then told me to have a blessed day.

I walked out of Target knowing God had orchestrated that.  I didn't seek it.  I didn't start my day asking God for a great moment or to even help someone.  He just did it.  And I am incredibly humbled that I got to be a part of it.  I hope that lady knows that the God of the universe cares immensely about her.  Enough to send a random stranger to hug her.  Oh, the lengths God goes to to remind us just how much He cares.  

So, I'm a terrible housekeeper.  The worst.  But I can hug like a champ! I'll share with you the part of my day that cracks me up the most, I mean, since I already have you here.  After leaving Target I ran to Marshall's across the plaza.  As I checked out I purposefully looked the cashier in the eye and said, "How are you today?" just like I had done five minutes earlier in Target.  She looked at me like I was a weirdo, snapped out a, "Fine," handed me my receipt and ushered me on my way.  As my friend Kristie said, "It's not a recipe."  God does wonderful things.  On my own I do mediocre things. 

Lots of love to you today as you read this.  I'll be back tomorrow sans one more mask.