Am I good enough?

Would you agree
that in visiting someone’s home
you are able to see
the real person?

Through the years, I’ve known people that I considered friends, but it was when I visited their home that I felt like I really knew who they were.  I can remember visiting one friend’s home back about thirteen or fourteen years ago. I thought she had it all together … and then I went to her home and I changed my mind. Her home a.p.p.e.a.r.e.d  to be somewhat disheveled. The sight of her home blew my preconceived notion about her out of the water.

But, Debra is a collector and a crafter so she has always had a lot of “stuff.” After visiting her warm, inviting home repeatedly, my stiff, judgmental heart came to realize … that my FIRST impression was correct. Not only did she have it all together, she knew where it all was and she was wonderfully comfortable in her skin.  She invited me in time after time …. even when I dropped by on the spur of the moment. She would sweep away the peanut butter and jelly sandwich crumbs from her homeschooled family’s lunch a few hours earlier and offer me a piece of warm pound cake and a cup of tea or some fresh pumpkin bread and coffee. When I left, she often had given me a gift … a book, a candle or some scrapbooking treat. But, more than that, she gave me the gift of seeing hospitality that was strong, authentic and gracious. She always made me feel welcome and c.o.m.f.o.r.t.a.b.l.e. My heart was always warmer, my life richer from entering into her sprawling, delightful home. In the two years I lived near her, she taught me more about being a gracious hostess than any other friend I’ve ever known. She taught me to stop what I am doing, brush the little messes out-of-the-way and sit down with a visitor and just … be myself.

And I’ve learned to do that. I’ve had many friends into my home this year. It’s been a won.der.ful year for fellowship. I’ve even been able to share with many of my visitors what a BIG deal it was that they were coming in and there was a little puppy-dog-hair dust bunny beside the dog bed … and I was okay with that. I didn’t cancel our engagement just because I hadn’t finished painting a room. I didn’t decide to make up some excuse to keep them away even though I was in the middle of culling a bookshelf. I let people in even though they would see the real me … which is a mess, on lots of levels.

With the upheaval that has been my home over the last month, my home remains in chaos. And honestly, last week when a friend ever-so-gently asked, “Karen, without risking hurting your feelings, may I ask what is taking you so long to get your house in order?” *stab to the heart* I almost cried. I’ve taken twenty years of homeschooling books and games along with a room full of crafting supplies and dumped them into my den. I’ve forced my man/child to pack up his junk and move it into a room half the size of his previous room with a closet that is probably only 1/6 of the size of his previous closet. And I’ve tried to systematically save the good, important and sentimental and let go of the unneeded clutter. I have had to paint a room that has not been painted in six years  … and has been lived in by a b.o.y. All this while r.e.g.u.l.a.r life continues to happen … kids need to eat, dishes and clothes require washing, carpooling and errands have to be handled. Need I say more?

I invited Stone to bring his son over for a visit soon. I chose a date that included a few things that I knew would interest them, including a scheduled bike ride and an awesome concert. He checked his calendar and thought that the weekend would work well. So, we penciled the date into our calendars.

When I told Glory about the weekend, she said … hesitantly … “Mom. You … do … realize … that … October 8th is … THIS weekend …. right?”
*faints*

My month-long goal has been to cull the stuff in my life and get everything organized and ready to sell at this past Saturday’s neighborhood yardsale. That goal came and went. I have made one huge van-load donation to Goodwill. I decided that it would be better to release the stuff for a tax-deductible donation than to keep it all and try to sell everything for a quarter a piece at a later date.  But, I’m still culling, moving, cleaning, purging.

But, honestly, with the weekend looming and the mess not melting away quickly enough, I have found myself hitting panic-mode.

Yesterday afternoon, I went into Glory’s room to get a “breathe”-talk. I poured myself out before her and she gave me a stern talk. “Mom, if Stone doesn’t like the person that he sees in you here at our home, he’s crazy. You need to calm down and just be yourself. Breathe, Mom …. and getaholdofyourself.”

BREATHE …..
*scratches head and wonders …. “
where is that necklace?????”

So, I headed back into the mess with new determination and I began to think about her words.
She’s such a wise young lady. And she’s right!
I know these things.
And then it hit me ….
this has absolutely.nothing.to.do.with.Stone.
nothing.

This is a trained reaction.
This “I’ve got to do this perfect” attitude is a learned way of living.

I think of women who have been raped or abused. I think of women who have been consistently told they are ugly, stupid, clutzy, useless, slutty, worthless ….. How do they recover? How long does it take? Because what I have been through is trivial in comparison to their tragedies … and yet, I live handicapped.
But, I have done the hard thing: I have at least R.E.A.L.I.Z.E.D
that the thoughts I have been conditioned to believe are the truth
are actually incorrect. They are lies.

The truth is
I don’t have to be “perfect” – whatever THAT looks like.
I just need to be myself.
I am a wonderful person. I don’t mean that in a conceited way. I mean that I love myself and I have a great deal to offer any friendship that comes into my life – male or female.  I am gracious, kind, forgiving, creative, loving and energetic. I am strong, sensuous, tactile, and ever-so-slightly musical. I am balanced, young-at-heart, open,  honest to a fault and exponentially passionate. I have a heart to please God over man and I welcome and embrace rebuke and correction as best I am able.
I say these things
knowing that I am also full of fault and flaw and deficit,
but
I am one step closer to being whole
because I’ve recognized one more stronghold in life
that I have unnecessarily allowed to rule and rock my world.

So, I will continue to work on my mess of a house this week
(expecting to take at least 300+ books to 2nd and Charles by tomorrow
and make several more trips to Goodwill)
but I will focus on the task at hand
(culling, cleaning, organizing)
rather than the thoughts that have been distracting me
(Will I be good enough?)

Because I want Stone and Jet to visit and see the “real” me ….
and my “real” family … warts and all …
I simply want to welcome them into our home
and I want them to be comfortable.

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10 thoughts on “Am I good enough?

  1. Someone once told me that they are not coming to visit my house, but to visit ME. It is still hard for me to get past any judgments that may take place though because we don’t live in a “perfect” modern house. Not sure where all that came from in my head…my dad? Who knows. But I am who I am and we live how we live. They will have to accept me or not.

    Breathing with you since my MIL and SIL are coming this weekend! Thankfully they are not judgmental people but I DO feel a bit of a pressure since I “stay at home and don’t work”…again that is from MY head and nothing they have ever said.

    Penny

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  2. I’ll be praying for you as you prepare for their visit, Penny, and that you will have a wonderful time and enjoy yourself. I think, when we, the hostesses, enjoy ourselves, our guests, in turn, have a wonderful visit.

    And even this past Wednesday night I had a man say to me, “Since you don’t work, what do you do all day?” I’m ALWAYS at a loss for how to answer that question. I know people who have to FIND something to do … I am NOT one of those people. I do the expected (cook, clean, organize, pay bills, work in the yard, take care of the vehicle and pets etc…. ) but ALSO make cards, scrapbook, blog, photograph, Facebook (I consider it a ministry, in a way. Yes, I’m serious.) sew, mend, paint, run, bike, camp, paddle, hike, and on and on and on. But, ya know, to someone who asks, “What do you do all day?” (ie, a man), none of that sounds important or time-filling. Makes me scream the “pirate scream” – AAARRRrrrggghhhhHHHH!

    Anyway, I hope you have a fabulous weekend. We still have plenty of time to do “the expected” AND get ready for our guests. Have a super week, friend.

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  3. I so wish I was there to help you purge! I love to do that. My mother has the same problem with the stuff. But, since I can’t I will tell you that these judgements you’ve made about yourself (having to be perfect and I’m not perfect or even good enough) are lies from the enemy. And we’ve all felt this way at some time. If he can get us to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on ourselves, he’s won (at least for the moment). Whether it be low or high self-esteem, the problem is the self part. We still are esteeming (thinking about, obsessed with) OURSELVES! Taking our eyes off Jesus. It is difficult to see sometimes how low self-esteem, or just thinking negatively about ourselves for a moment is not the same thing as humility (which is not even considering ourselves at all). When we have been hurt or offended in the past, even if we’ve forgiven, we’ve made judgements about ourselves based on the actions or words of the offender, and then tend to nurse the negative ones with help from the devil. When these thoughts overcome you say this prayer OUT LOUD so the enemy can hear you. “In Jesus’ name, I renounce the lie (say the lie that you are believing/hearing). I call this lie null and void, and loose its effects on my spirit, soul, and body. I bind myself to the truth (say what God says, what is opposite of this lie you are believing). Amen.” I hope that helps. It does me. My MIL comes this weekend too!

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    1. Thanks, Audrey!
      You’re right from start to end. I was just so thankful to realize what I was thinking and where this learned behavior has its start. Thanks for the prayer direction. It’s been a while since I’ve done this … but SO good for the soul.
      I hope you have a super weekend!!!! And, I wish you were here to help me purge, too! 😀
      Blessings,
      -|<@ren

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  4. Karen, LOOOOOOOVED this blog today. It is so me, through and through. My house is a wreck sometimes…And when I am asked why I didn’t get to it today, I think…Well, I started out to clean it. Then Joey needed a ride to school and Julie needed a ride to work, and in between there was only a half hour…Then I went by…and did….and then Julie had her break and wanted to go…and had an appointment with…and then it was time to get Jenna…and take her….and I hadn’t seen my mother in two days so I went there….and finally I got home around five, really tired, and didn’t feel like getting started right then…bla bla bla…
    It’s ok though. The next day my neighbor, whom I don’t know well, needed a ride somewhere. To get a battery for his car. But before that he had to get his paycheck, so had to go to work. But couldn’t go to work without combing his hair, and needed to stop at a gas station to get one. After three stations, work, bank, auto shop and back to his house, I was feeling a little frustrated, though glad to help. And realized that maybe that day that is exactly where I was supposed to be. For that person. And if my house suffers for it yet another day, then there is always tomorrow!

    The ONE SONG that always sees me through is Voice of Truth, and I know you know it. “The waves are calling out to me and they laugh at me, telling me of all the times I tried before and failed. The waves they keep on telling me, time and time again, you’ll never win. You’ll never win…But the VOICE OF TRUTH tells me a different story, ……….Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.”

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