The purchasing of and the moving into our first home has elicited from deep within me the most obsessive-compulsive dysfunction of my soul to date. I knew I didn’t do well with chaos, but I didn’t think I did this poorly. I realize it is one thing to feel a new and different sense of emotional attachment once you own rather than rent, such that you want to create a new kind of space to call home for the long-run. I think there is something right and beautiful and God-inspired in that. But somewhere in there, something in me has gone slightly awry and my strong perfectionist spirit is threatening to take hold on so many levels. I will confess. Somewhere in there is a twisted and broken need in me to show off how beautiful I have made my home.
And so, the protest of grace steps in through a houseguest that the perfectionist in me would say has come at just the wrong time. We had nothing to offer but an air mattress for his first evening in our home full of boxes, tools, trash, and a couple pieces of fruit that made it over from the old place. He slept happily and without complaint. When mealtimes came and went, I would eventually realize how I’d single-mindedly gone about the endless task of unpacking with hardly a thought as to what we might feed our guest. He waited graciously for me to realize that perhaps some amount of caloric intake might do us all some good, and as he waited for the food to arrive, he went about swapping out our old toilet seat with a new one. I protested his generosity and servanthood. He protested with grace. Let me do this for you. I want to. I was surprised at how deeply I struggled to receive this from him.
There is a bitterness that eventually comes with the elusive pursuit of perfectionism. The bitterness of constant failure, the bitterness of exhaustion, the bitterness of comparison, the bitterness of resentment for the freedom that others feel when they are free from perfectionism’s cruel shackles. The protest of grace is hard to hear when you are convinced people will love you more if you could just be perfect. How can you really be ok with my messy, chaotic home and an air mattress? How can you really not mind that I haven’t fed you and that you are instead changing out a dirty toilet seat while your stomach quietly rumbles? The simplicity of grace is offensive to my pride. But secretly, I ache for it, deeply.
It’s time to let myself sit with my boxes of junk and just be at home once again in the gracious heart of Christ.