The Truth About Mess & Stress In Motherhood

Mess. Stress. Two words every mom knows…intimately.

We almost wear them like a badge of honor. Or at least like an inescapable part of life we should accept.

But I don’t buy that, dear one. I really don’t.

Let’s look at the lies that are becoming prevalent today and approach them with Biblical truth and grace for true freedom. And find out what we should be looking at.

Your Mess Isn’t A Masterpiece

Yes, kids make messes. Yes, your life gets busy and there are other priorities that come before housecleaning (and rightly so — good for you, discerning this!).

No one will argue with that, least of all me (with 8 kids, I am no stranger to chaos, my friend).

The Challenge With Mess

There was a time when church-going, Jesus-loving women made an idol of orderly homes. They reveled in their routines, clean floors, and immaculate counters.

Facebook feeds showed clean floors, creative dinners ready when Daddy got home, and kids with sparsely Scandinavian-styled play spaces. Minimalism became the maximum goal.

And then a new generation arose and called it out as a form of legalism that provided a misplaced sense of identity and worth in homemaking abilities instead of in Jesus.

In many cases, this was true.

And then there was a pendulum swing to the other side. Pictures of pristine surfaces were replaced with clutter and smiles of happy children.

It became a masterpiece created with layers of laughter and sticky fingers and time spent on loftier pursuits. Mess became every bit the idol that cleanliness was, but it was more cleverly disguised.

The Gift Of Mess

And then there’s the flip side.

Moms who seemingly have it all together sharing snapshots of their chaos so that no one elevates them to super human status.

They are trying to encourage other moms who feel like they’re drowning with photos of their own mess to help them see the they aren’t alone and it happens to all of us.

This is the gift of sharing your mess.

And it’s a good one. Truly, sweet. After all, we don’t want to feel alone, even in our mess. But if the only message is “I’m a mess, too” then it’s still a disservice.

The Distraction Of Mess

What if the discussion we’re having is the wrong one, sister?

What if a stance on mess v. cleanliness was a clever way for the enemy of your soul to cause division in the body of Christ and separate you, even just a tiny bit, from the body meant to encourage you closer to Jesus?

When the conversation moves from encouragement to condemnation, we’ve stepped out of God’s purpose.

When the focus moves from who we are in Christ to the home we create for our family, we’re steeping our lives in legalism and missing the point.

Is a clean home important? Sure. Is a saved heart eternal? Absolutely. Let’s not blur the lines between the two, though.

While the state of my home very well may reflect the state of my heart, attacking the state of my home (or reveling in it!) isn’t changing my heart.

Let’s remember what matters.

Your Stress Isn’t A Gift

I used to think that my stress was a gift, a reminder of my need for Jesus.

I used to actually say that out loud to remind myself. “I’m so overwhelmed, but that okay – it’s a gift; it’s reminding me that I need Jesus. My weakness reminds me of my need for His grace.”

After all, in our weakness He is strong. That’s Biblical, right?

The Disobedience Of Stress

Matthew 6:33 tells me to seek God first. And in Matthew 11 He issues a precious invitation:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Lisa Yvonne
Lisa Yvonne
Lisa Yvonne is a Jesus-loving wife, homeschooling mom of 8, overseas missionary, and author who encourages Christian women to bring the life-changing truth and grace of the Gospel into every single part of their day to day lives. You can find her at Graceful Abandon or on Facebook.

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