From an article originally posted July 24, 2013…
Each of us has some kind of stereotype to overcome, break free from, and find strength where only weakness is felt. For me, this area is home keeping. I actually keep a pretty tidy home. I have come a long, long way. But this is an area of extreme self-loathing for me. I once hated myself for almost a year because my front coat closet was a wreck. One day I decided I would face it. Guess how long it took? 15 minutes. Seriously, 15 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. I hated myself over that closet. 15 minutes was all it took.
We all carry wounds from our childhoods. For me, from before I can remember memory, my nickname was Pig Pen. I lived in a small town, and that was the name I was known as to many. It was certainly a name I'd earned. I loved to play outside. I loved to pretend to cook in the roots of large trees. But there was also a sting to the name that just encouraged my weakness in this area.
I have been working hard on the great purge of my house. I have dreaded the basement. I have loathed myself for the basement. It makes me feel like a failure somehow. I faced it this morning. Just like the coat closet, it didn’t take long. More than that, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined. The littles and I joyfully matched DVDs and purged unwanted toys. We organized closets and created a fort under the stairs. We played music loud and worked on making the office more inviting for Jason.
It sometimes feels hard to overcome cycles and patterns others expect of you. I do enjoy that I’m not tormented by a messy house when someone drops in unannounced. I can entertain without a Martha Stewart expectation of perfection. But I also need freedom and balance in this area of my life. I can clean, and I can clean well. I CAN organize and keep areas tidy. I also am able to leave it for a day of play with the kids.
It’s the self talk of failure and inadequacy that needs to stop. I’m no longer Pig Pen, I’m me, not who another thought of me. That was a cute, funny name, but it’s over. What stories, memories, notions of you keep you from freedom? What lies have you been told? What self-hatred spins in your brain and keeps you from the freedom in Christ you were set free for today!?
My dear friend Lori Sealy often quotes Martin Lloyd Jones, Talk to yourself, don’t listen to yourself. I love that. I also love having friends in my life that are safe to say my inner fears and weaknesses to and find Jesus in my messy story. I even have friends that help me face the clutter of my life, my house, my story. They love me here, but also love me to a greater story. Now off to face a little girl room that has gone unattended too long. Because, guess what, I CAN!
I’m a work in progress! Praise God!