The granite counters gleam atop the pristine white cabinets in the charming country chic kitchen while a small feast simmers on the stove. In the background soft white light streams through the open windows, glistening off the charming chandelier that hangs over the breakfast nook. The smell of fresh flowers fills the air to mingle with the delicious aroma of fresh baked bread drifting from the oven.
This is my fantasy.
It’s not reality, it’s Pinterest. My reality is coffee stained cabinets with peeling paint and cheap laminate countertops covered in dirty dishes from last night’s dinner. While I do cook nearly every day, it’s more of a frantic rush to feed a busy family than a luxurious afternoon spent hand shaping artisan loaves of bread. Real life is often less glamorous than we imagined it would be and certainly not as perfect as our online obsessions make us feel it should be on a daily basis. If you feel like you aren’t measuring up to the images you see on Pinterest and lifestyle blogs across the web…you are not alone.
I’m getting ready to teach a class for a group of women at my church and it has become the first tentative steps toward a dream of mine: The Family Table. As much as I want to embrace this beautiful gift, my heart is afraid to hold it too tightly, certain it will explode in my arms in a face melting, heartbreakingly painful scene that leaves my dreams cold and lifeless at my feet. Overly dramatic? Yep. But, it fills my mind with fear and worry to the point of distraction. What if I’m not good enough? What will they say when they realize I’m not really an expert? I’m just a mom and a wife with a messy house and dirty dishes. What makes me think I can teach them anything? What if they hate it and they tell all their friends how stupid I am? Will The Family Table die before it even gets a chance to live? Then I sob into my pillow.
Now, this is terribly unfair and unkind of me. For one thing, I know the women who have signed up for this class so far. They are nice people who wouldn’t go around telling everyone how stupid I am (I hope.) But my own insecurity has turned me into a mess! I confessed this to a friend recently and she asked, “What would make you feel more qualified to teach this class? Is it the degree? Would that do it?”
I shook my head. Nope. My culinary degree will only teach me to be a better professional. It isn’t much help in juggling family affairs. In the end, her point hit home. The only thing that will make me more qualified to teach these classes is to have years of experience teaching these classes. So, I better stop letting fear stand in my way and get started.
In the end, I think we let fear keep us from doing a lot of things. Don’t you? Fear convinces us that we aren’t good enough, that everyone else has it more together than we do, that we’ll never make it. But it isn’t true unless we believe it. Sure my kitchen is messy, but do you know why? It’s because I cook in it! My life is busy, my kids are growing, my sink is full of dishes and my calendar is overflowing. That’s called living. It may not be Pinterest, but it sure is beautiful. And you know what? YOU are, too. Your beautiful mess is worth loving. Let’s all stop comparing ourselves to the imaginary and embrace the reality. Life is hard, parenting is hard, messes are hard, but in the end it is all worth it.
What mess are you struggling to embrace?