I had been away for several hours and came home to find stacks of folded laundry on my kitchen table. The scene before me was not the norm. I am usually the one taking care of laundry for our family, but there stood my husband with a Cheshire-cat grin on his face. He had been anticipating my delight at realizing he had freed me from this routine work.
But instead of feeling grateful for his efforts, I was frustrated. Why? Because instead of supported, I felt inconvenienced. My thoughts went immediately to clothing items that shouldn’t have gone into the dryer but did. And one could only guess how many load combination mistakes he had undoubtedly made. I stood looking over that gift with an ugly, angry heart that manifested itself in the look of annoyance across my face.
As Matt and I stood in silence around our laundry-piled kitchen table, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me in choosing between two perfects. As a recovering perfectionist, I wanted to focus on the laundry and the angst it was causing me. As a dedicated follower of Jesus, I needed to focus on my husband and the love he was demonstrating to me in working to remove this burden from my weekly routine.
I listened to the Holy Spirit and did my best to follow the leading. I confessed my negative feelings to my husband and told him it was difficult to embrace his help when it messed with my routine. But I also expressed how much I appreciated his willingness to spend time helping me with housework, and I recognized what I was feeling was not at all the message he was trying to send.
We’ve revisited the situation a few times, and I am pleased with the way we communicated through it. It’s tricky. Matt helping with the “Angie’s job” of laundry stirred some feelings and generated reactions that I didn’t like in myself. It would have been easier to simply tell him not to do the laundry than to work to untangle that mess. But I sincerely want to be someone who, with words and deeds, loves people well. So we cautiously explored the reasons the moments were stressful and claimed the truth that the laundry wasn’t ever the problem at all.
Christian perfection is about completeness in Christ. As we grow in our relationship with Christ, more of our heart becomes surrendered to Him. Through this surrender, we become purer in our love for God, others, and self.
From time to time, we will stand at a crossroads. Often, one road leads to self-protection, and the other leads to loving responses. We have to choose which one is most important to us. Will we seek an earthly understanding of perfect? Or will we lean into a Spiritual understanding of perfect and accept God’s invitation to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him?
The craziest thing is this – when I admitted my inner turmoil to my husband, he met me with grace. He was hurt at first by my reaction, but when I acknowledged my struggle, he looked past it to speak to the pain I was experiencing. Through the uncomfortable, my relationship with both my husband and Jesus grew stronger. And, much to my delight, Matt still helps with the laundry from time to time.
This post is chapter 3/5 of church words – PERFECTED