It was Thursday afternoon just after lunch… I was busy clearing half-eaten chicken nuggets and cheese sandwiches from the table. My dishwasher was full of clean dishes that needed to be put away and my sink was full of dirty dishes that needed some serious attention. Sandwich crusts, bread crumbs, empty cheese wrappers, and juice box straws cluttered the counter keeping company with bills that needed sorting and a dozen odds and ends that don’t seem to ever find a proper home.

My attached living room was equally chaotic.

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There’s a couch somewhere under all that laundry, grocery bags had been dropped on the way through the door, and shoes and jackets and socks littered the living room floor. The disarray was only accessorized by toys and books and a spilled bucket of beads from the morning’s toddler Pinterest project.

My silent prayer: “Dear God, do not let my doorbell ring right now.”

…Because, Lord help me, I would have to lie. I would have to make up some crazy excuse for why my house looks like this. I can only be “in the middle of a deep cleaning project” or “organizing the toy cabinet” so often before people realize that maybe my house usually – always looks like this.

I swear the UPS guy only ever comes on days like today. When the kids are screaming at each other and crying with dirt smeared faces and I look like the character of some comic strip with old popsicle sticks stuck in my hair. Seriously, I am racking my brain for a reason to expect a package, because with the house like this, the delivery guy must be on his way.

My son brings a bucket of trains into the kitchen, dumps the tracks on the floor and begins to build. Visible floor space is quickly vanishing and my anxiety level is through the roof. It feels like there is no end in sight.

Also, we need to be clear about something right now…

I am not one of those women who thrive in super organized environments. Ask any of my previous college roommates… it was bad. Really bad. If you found your way to my page from Pinterest, you will not find any organizational posts here… Unless, of course, Jesus does some serious transformational work in me… and honestly there are plenty of other areas for Him to work on before He makes me start labeling things… Anyway, long story short, messes doesn’t stress me out…

This mess… does.

Top it all off, my sweet kids want me to play. I am “one more second”ing them… and now I’m stressed and feeling guilty. It’s a good day.
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So, I do what I always do when I am overwhelmed. I plug in my iPhone and play music through the living room speakers. As I turn around to grab another cup from the dishwasher, I am face to face with my sweet two year old girl holding her pink ballet dress and a crown. “Will you put this on me, momma?” I put away the last cup and help her make a quick wardrobe change.

And then, I watch something remarkable happen.

She walks into the middle of our messy living room and begins to dance. Her arms above her head she sways and spins, oblivious to the junk all around her.

I stood there watching her and my heart was overwhelmed.

She didn’t care that the kitchen floors were sticky. She didn’t need all the clothes put away first… She just danced.

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And right before my eyes I witnessed a perfect picture of what God hopes for us.

He doesn’t want us to get everything in order before we find joy. Everything doesn’t need a proper place before we praise Him. He wants us and our mess… He wants us to invite Him right into the middle of it.

Because our joy shouldn’t come from the state of our circumstances… it should come from the state of our hearts.

In the middle of my living room, I am witnessing a perfect picture of Christian life. Maybe this is the key. Maybe true joy is found in learning to dance among the chaos.

Because this is life… there will always be more of it.

On this day, I took a clue from my precious girl. I didn’t wait until the laundry was folded or the toys were picked up… I just scooped her up and… in the middle of the Legos… with a million other things to do, together we danced for our Jesus.

And with tears on my cheeks and joy in my heart, we invited him into our day. Right smack in the middle of it…

And I thanked God for not requiring me to clean up before He comes over…

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