Content in the Chaos
My Mother used to quote this little poem: If you and I were to hang our dirty laundry on the line, you’d take yours and I’d take mine.
It looked like a bomb had gone off in the living room.
Blocks in the form of a fort, Legos everywhere, a Sippy cup on its side on the floor, and books strewn about the room. This chaos is life with four grandchildren, ten and under, beneath the same roof.
Company was coming later in the day so they needed to put it all away. Because they know where it belongs, it was all looking orderly in less than ten minutes.
Mom-mom was happy again.
Company arrived and after visiting for a while she commented on how neat the house looked.
We laughed out loud at what she had not seen before she arrived! If she were ever to arrive unexpectedly, she would see it is not always so orderly.
This little incident reminded me how quickly we can clean things up for other people to see, physically and spiritually.
Social media seems to be a hotbed of people making things look a lot better than they are. (This is not to say that some don’t like to make things much worse than they are.) But, many of us are comparing ourselves and our lives with what others choose to show publicly.
This week my Facebook friends have been travelling all over the world. Their children are graduating with promising futures, they are celebrating anniversaries of marriages that appear to be perfect, and buying homes I could never afford.
What we cannot know is what is happening in their relationships. It is hard to see if money is going on credit cards, increasing debt, or what is being touted as a promising future while there is turmoil in the home.
The underlying chaos in families is often not obvious. Some of it is like ours, external and can be cleaned up in a matter of minutes. This is everyday stuff.
What about those social media pictures that cover up a mess, one that is harmful to those living under it? We cannot know, and unless someone is asking for help, we are not to speculate or gossip about it.
The warning is for us not to believe (and be jealous of) everything we see.
Had our friend not commented on the cleanliness she was seeing, she might have left with the impression that our house is always like that (a dream come true for me).
The truth is not always evident. As Christians, we can be content with what we have as we scroll through all those beautiful posts.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. ~1 Timothy 6:6-8
- For Our Good - February 12, 2020
- Future Benefits - January 8, 2020
- Attention Getting Behavior - October 16, 2019
“What we cannot know…” So true, Beth. There is much that goes into picking up around our house before others arrive. But the details would horrify, especially with kids your grands’ ages, right? I always hoped that no one would open a closet because they might get bruised with all that would fall out! Same with peoples’ lives, right? We just don’t know. We cannot. Great reminder!
On Sunday, I visited my daughter’s young congregation in Nashville. Some of her friends stopped in the little kitchen while I helped her make the coffee (lots of it!) for those coming in for the second service. Some worked in the entertainment industry, some in Christian ministry. I met young couples with small children, and marveled as I sat in the service, making observations: “What a successful-looking bunch of young people!” I thought. But then, like you’ve noted here, I suspected all of them were dealing with life’s chaos living in Nashville: their long commutes to work; their personal challenges; their relationships. And I found myself praying for them.
Being content is so simple for me. Just keep my focus on Jesus. Keeping my focus on Jesus is where the difficulty comes in!