Updated: Mar 21, 2021
Insatiable Eyes Fixed on the Future
Our table has an identity crisis. It is not a kitchen table, as it does not reside in the kitchen. It can’t be named after the room where it lives anyway because it is in the living room that doubles as a dining room and also happens to be the front entryway. It isn’t just a table for eating either, since it often moonlights as a desk, painting easel, mail archive, and library.
This table has a talent for never being quite the right size. When the extra leaves are added, I am made acutely aware of my postpartum tummy pooch as I suck in, trying to wriggle past to get to the kitchen (probably for more dark chocolate). Without its leaves, something is always falling off when we clear enough space to feed our one and two year olds. All homeless items seem to find their way to our table’s vintage surface: toddler artwork, that swimsuit from Target I didn’t want to try on in the store but definitely need to return ASAP, and the odd toy that I promised to put a new battery in (but will probably just hide when no one is looking). The beautiful hand-turned legs upholding our table—lovingly handed down from my grandma—are nearly always covered in fingerprints and a bit of mystery jelly.
I find myself resenting our faithful table as I pick up the familiar clutter and wash its surface for the fourth time today. I move the chairs to vacuum, again, and my thoughts wander to my ideal future home, complete with an actual dining area, entryway, and maybe booster seats not permanently affixed to half of the chairs we own.
I sit and turn my gaze to my phone, and the longing for the future grows. I scroll my social media feed and see others with beautiful tables under lofted ceilings positioned just so within their open floor-plans. And look, they also have a trendy capsule wardrobes, more intentional activities for their child, a squad of equally manicured friends, and photos from their extravagant vacation destination. Other moms seem to be finding a way to make their workouts happen, go on family hikes, make healthy and delicious meals, organize their homes, and somehow have hair that isn’t just washed but actually shines. When will I arrive at their level? When will I be a mom that has enough? Does enough? Is enough?
“Stop.” The voice of the Lord silences the clamor in my mind.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:26). Jesus’ words snap my eyes away from the magnetic pull of the fallen world.
The constant pursuit of more is the siren song of our culture. Achievement is king. This toxic mindset is the enemy’s greatest weapon. Satan’s first move against humanity was to deceive Eve into believing the perfect bounty God provided was not enough. It creeps into our minds, burrowing into the cracks and settling over every surface.
My ears perk at the enemy's words and I sink into comparison. Covetous thoughts permeate my heart and I start to think I could do God's job better myself. What he has blessed me with is not enough. If only my prayers were answered when and how I asked, then I would be satisfied. But gazing upon the created and ignoring the creator will always lead to emptiness.
My small, sticky table in my cozy little home home is the corner of the world that God has perfectly chosen for my family right now. He has ordained me to be the keeper of the people and mess inside these walls and I get the honor of creating order out of this chaos every day. The smeared fingerprints are a reminder of the hands I get to hold everyday. They speak of God’s faithfulness in bringing children into our lives. The crumbs speak of God’s provision to feed our family. The toys remind me that there is laughter here, and that we get to play as well as work. The clutter is proof that we are doing life together—face to face, the four of us—around this table.
As much as it can make me grumble, I know there will come a day that I will miss this table. I will miss the loud, gleeful, hard, beautiful chaos of these little years in our first home. It is so easy to look ahead and put my hope in the next stage, but God is reminding me to look around and marvel. Thank you, Lord, for our home where we are growing a family. Thank you for your good and perfect gifts.
Today I spent the time to sort the clutter, scrub the surface, and place a vase with cut flowers from our garden in the center of my table. There will be long stretches of life when my table can look like this everyday, a peaceful and tidy reminder that everything is in its place. But for now I will praise God, enjoy this brief repose, and welcome the coming mess with a smile.