Who is coming to dinner? Part One
It’s later in the day, the phone rings – it’s your hubby. He and the Boy Scouts, who have been out camping for the last 4 days, are headed home. They have had a horrid time. It’s been cold, it’s been wet and their food was eaten by a bear. They miss their families and are in need of some serious Momma Care. He’s bringing 5 Boy Scouts over to eat at your table and be ministered to by your family in less than 1 hour. Do you take time to spaz over your dirty dishes? your dirty toilet? the toys on the floor of the living room? No. Your heart is focused on getting some food into those boys and ministering warmth and love, yes?
How about this one – it’s later in the day, the phone rings – it’s your hubby. The regional manager is in town, along with 2 sales reps. They have had a horrid trip. Their plane was stranded in Denver for the snow storm, they’re tired, they’re longing for a good meal and they just miss their families. Your husband invites them back to your house, to receive ministry from your family. Are you spazzing about your dirty dishes? dirty toilet? toys on the living room floor? Like as not, you said “Yes! DUH! HELLO DAWN, ANYBODY IN THERE??!!!”
WHY? Why does one situation make us nauseous and the other just make us smile? Why can we pull out canned pork and beans and throw some hot dogs into them, serve some raw carrots and maybe, if we have time to whip them up, some cookies for the boys and yet, we will nigh on kill ourselves to perform for the manager and sales reps?
I fear that “perform” is a part of the equation – at least it is in my heart. I would want the adults coming to our home to see how well I’m doing. I would want them to think that Jeff was a richly blessed man and that his wife could cook, sew and leap small buildings in a single bound. I would want them to think that I had it all together, so together, in fact, it was tied with a shiny ribbon and had some really cool tissue paper sticking out of the top. 🙄
If any of the people that were coming was a woman, the problem went from serious to crisis in less than 10 seconds. There would be NO way that I would want her to see through me and suddenly it would no longer be a matter of ministering to her/them, it would be an issue of competition, almost. Am I the only one like this? (You may feel free to say “Yes.” I know this is an area of sin in my life. It is familial and I have seen this one in action for most of my life.)
If you were to ask me why I’m putting myself through contortions to make the evening stellar for the business associates, I would tell you my perfectionism was coming out. So, is it safe to say that a sure fire (and quick) way to see if our desire to do all things well, to the glory of God, has now slipped into idolatrous perfectionism is to check to see who holds the focus of my heart – me or my guests? Maybe. Although, I will tell you, I have perfected this sufficiently that I can convince myself I’m doing all that I’m doing so that my guests will feel special…. so how can I really, really recognize the sinful heart attitude that tends to go along with perfectionism?
I have an idea I’d like to offer, but I’ll save it until tomorrow. I’ve gotta go clean my house, just in case somebody drops by today. 😉
(Please understand this is all a part of my processing – feel free to disagree with me or simply offer an alternative point of view. I want to grow in my understanding of this divisive sin in my life.)