Yesterday, I put both boys down for naps, which they desperately needed; and then I realized.... I have two hours to get something done. The second volume of Hunger Games was calling my name, but I restrained myself and started up a new episode of Simple Mom Podcast while I pulled out the dust rags and vacuum to clean our living areas. (Love Tsh AND Jamie Martin on that podcast.) I scrubbed and polished. I dusted and swept. I laundered furniture covers and reorganized toys only to look at the clock and realize that it was time to start dinner. I cooked... and cooked... and cooked. You see, it was deep-dish pizza night (a 3-hour process), and I was determined to make Teacher Man's favorite (and extremely time-consuming) meal.
And I finished it all just in the nick of time. Teacher Man walked in, and the house sparkled. The pizza was going in the oven. The kids were rising from their naps. And I was finally done with all the things I had motivated myself to do. I expected a big "thank you" or at least a compliment. Something to enjoy after giving up reading time to go the extra mile on clean up and dinner.
We sat down to dinner, and Teacher Man said, "What's different about this pizza?"
I replied, "Hmmm... maybe I needed to let it cool a bit longer. Oh well. Let's just eat."
Then he said it, "Well, it doesn't look as good as last time, but it sure tastes great!"
You see the part highlighted in red? That's because I was seeing red when he said that. No matter that he was meaning that to be a compliment. He had found a product of my great efforts lacking in the Visual Appeal category, and I felt defeated. Meaningless. Meaningless.
Why was it meaningless? It's wonderful to have a clean home. It's a treat to serve a dinner I know Teacher Man loves. It's a relief to be caught up on the laundry, but it's meaningless to do these things for the praise of men (even if that man is your husband). I must do them as an act of worship. I must do these tasks to the glory of God.
I expected Teacher Man's amazement at my accomplishments to be the highlight of my day... You want to know the best part of the night? Throwing the kids in their bike seats for an evening ride around our neighborhood on an amazingly warm January night. This was not planned. Took no effort. Was not graded. But was so worth it. Because it wasn't about getting it done. It was about taking the journey together. It wasn't about reaching a level of perfection. It was about living in the perfection of a God-created moment. Seeing His glory and showing it to our children. Amen.