I keep waiting for everything to be perfect in my house before inviting friends over.

I know, I probably miss out on some awesome “God moments” by being so concerned about what others might think of my house. But sometimes I get this crazy idea that others might think less of my family if they ever saw our messy house. Then I think, “Why am I okay with my family living in a messy house and not okay if other family members, friends, even strangers SEE my messy house?”

In theory, I know I should focus on taking the time to put things in their proper place or at the very least, put them away. For example, clothing gets hung up, not hung on the chair. Shoes go in the closet, not on the living room floor. Crafting supplies belong in the back room, not the dining room table, kitchen counter, living room floor, dryer — yeah, they’re everywhere!

Unfortunately I suffer from a condition. It’s called, “not being able to focus long enough to finish one room before starting another.” I promise each and every room in my house gets my attention — until another room grabs it. It’s the whole finishing what you start game. I tend to lose every time. Funny, I am not very competitive at that game — not near as competitive as I am at Wii Bowling.

The struggle does not only happen in my mind and within the four walls. In fact, it goes well beyond my mind and enters the realm of time management. If I had the luxury of “spare time,” there may not be a struggle at all. But that just simply isn’t the case. As if I didn’t have enough distractions of my own, add in the perpetual list of things that also involve my husband, who happens to be a very patient and understanding inhabitant in my mess. Our time is consumed by commuting, working, preparing meals, staying healthy, sleeping, etc. It’s as if the attention to order, detail, and cleanliness fall into an abyss.

Both my husband and I have a 45 minute commute into work, usually work overtime, and then have a 45 minute commute back home. On average we spend at least 10-11 hours each day away from home; not counting the hour each morning preparing for work. That leaves us 12 hours to sleep and take care of things around the house. After the recommended eight hours of sleep, that leaves four hours to prepare dinner, clean up, and spend time with the family. Mid-week Life Groups are 30 minutes away and take up at least 3 of those hours, so one day is completely shot.

For my husband, two nights take up two of those hours for working out, then coming home to shower and have dinner, then it’s time for bed. This doesn’t even include time spent working on laundry, mowing the lawn, or helping with grandkids. Our Saturdays are used for what doesn’t get done during the week, including grocery shopping, washing the cars, and finishing the laundry that got started but never got put away. Not to mention, helping our kids and grandkids some throughout the week and on weekends.

Are you getting the picture? I’m sure your reality isn’t all that different.

It may sound a bit “defensive” and in all honesty, I guess it is. I have always wanted to have that picture ready house. You know the one. The one that has perfectly cleaned floors, no dust, great contrasting dark furniture with bright walls, perfectly organized kitchen with fresh fruit or flowers on the counter, and so on.

I just haven’t quite made it there.

Not every family functions exactly the same, nor do they have the same schedule. Not every home can look as spotless and clean as the pictures.

(Unless you would like to volunteer your time and energy to help make that happen. If so, consider yourself invited and welcome to visit my chaotic, messy home anytime!)

I can guarantee one thing. The rooms are not only filled with clothes and crafts. They are also filled with LOVE and lots of laughter! The mess will one day fade away, but we pray that the love and the memories of laughing together remain forever.

Instead of letting my mess keep me from welcoming people into my home, maybe it’s time to focus on how I can share God’s love with people and show hospitality.

Even in the middle of our scattered mess.

[Image via Jimmy Hogoboom/Flickr]