Friday, August 5, 2011

fishbowl living

we are on day five of fishbowl living.   the outside of our house is being painted this week. trim, siding, shutters...that kind of thing.  and it has been an interesting few days.  the painters couldn't be a nicer group of men - but they do seem to be everywhere. showing up at every dirty window, every glass door, catching me by surprise.  wednesday morning i was washing breakfast dishes when i looked up and locked eyes with one painter at the kitchen window above my sink -  a little bit awkward, i'll be honest. i've had to remind the kids to be aware - to be modest.  the first day was easy, but then all of a sudden by day 3 or 4 it seemed, as if, our painting crew had become part of the fixtures...part of the family. (well sort of).  anyway, they have had a good glimpse of the mcnatt family  - the good and the bad.

from their ladder perches, these painters  (who, i realize, probably aren't the slightest bit interested) have watched our summertime chaos:  nerf gun wars and spilled milk and the dog feasting from the trash can.  we tried for a few days to be well behaved and all buttoned up - but that never lasts particularly long in our house.  we are in the final weeks of summer vacation and the children have chosen this week to be "at" one another a bit more.  our painters, unfortunately, have had to listen to sassing sisters and bickering brothers... and let's not forget the frustrated mother who shows up on the scene. it seems the TV has been on more than usual, the mischief turned up a notch higher and the patience level kind of on the low side.  i don't know,  maybe it's just me feeling ultra aware because five extra sets of eyes have been peering through our windows for five days straight.

and then they watch this rather frazzled woman get into her black suv about a dozen times a day.  she comes and goes too often.  do they wonder what in the world she does with all these trips?  probably not.  but this woman surely does.  it is funny, how comfortable we can get in our crazies.  we can run around in our hurry or sit a bit in our squalor and think nothing of it, until someone is watching.  we can come and go all day long and think not a thing, until we see ourselves through the eyes of others - if just for a moment.  reflective and aware.  but maybe we need to live more like that...even when our house isn't being painted.

as a little girl i remember my teacher telling me God was always watching, that His eyes were always on me.  i am sure she shared that piece of information with our first grade class for two reasons:  one, it's true and it can be a comforting thought.  and two, we'd be slightly better behaved 6 year olds.  and we were.  at least i was for a while.  i remember kind of slouching around afterwards, afraid i might come face to face with God and His omnipresence.  my especially vibrant imagination was certain i could physically feel the stare of His eyes upon me.  this caused me to look up and look around a lot. but it also was the beginning of  my talking out loud to God.  i liked to talk and figured if He was hanging around, then we might as well chat.  i still talk out loud a lot. my children think it is because i am on the brink of crazy, but truly it is because i am sure God is listening...and watching.

i know there has been plenty in my life of which He wouldn't approve.  plenty which has caused my God grief.  i haven't and don't always live as if God is with me, in me, right in the room, right by my side ... listening.   when i remember to think this way, i am startled. and sometimes even embarrassed.  of course, i have used this same lesson with my children - and it really does work for a while.  but if we are only living pure and acceptable lives because someone - even if it is God - is watching...than we are kind of missing it altogether aren't we?  our relationship with Him isn't about putting on a show.  it can't be.  our outward living is a reflection of what's on the inside.  but, keep in mind, it is never perfect.

"in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your 
good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."  ~  matthew 5:16

and so today the painters will finish up.  i'm not sure if they saw a lot of light shining or a bunch of good works working in our home this week. i would have liked that to be the case.  i don't know if they return each evening to their own homes and tell the tales of all they have seen.  i'm sure they have witnessed plenty of interesting things.  homes are like that.  not just mine.  we all have issues we'd prefer to hide and we plan to fix.  we all have stuff hidden under beds and cloistered away in closets.  we are messy people with messy lives.  i want our home to be filled with shining light and good works and, ultimately, God's glory...but i live in my own house and i know this isn't always the case.

and none of this is really about being well behaved.  don't get me wrong, what mother doesn't adore well behaved children and husbands.  we do.  i do! but what counts is a transformed life.  inside and out.  this week of fishbowl living has just been a simple reminder:  people are watching. maybe not the painters, but others. and who we are and what we say and how we live...well, it is important.  we skew it at times and make it about us and our accomplishments or behavior or good works. but it is not about us.  we are not created for our own glory, but for His.

 "we are God's workmanship, created in Christ..
to do good works." (ephesians 2:10)

and that is sometimes hard to remember. and we, occasionally, need reminders like painters peering in windows.  we need reminding to live authentic lives which bring glory to our Creator. i have this new house to look at from the street. i like the change on the outside.  i like it very much.  but i know it is the inside which still needs my attention, still needs a lot of work.  it is the inside which counts and it is the inside which God really sees.

"the LORD does not look at the things man looks at. 
man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 samuel 16:7

colors: khaki shade.  outerbanks.  bronzetone. (sherwin williams).


Simply LKJ said...

Well said Jody! I always used to (and still do occassionally) remind my girls that "little eyes are watching" and they want to be just like you when they grow up. Maybe this mom needs to be more aware of that too! It was good seeing you the other day. Hope you have a great last few weeks of summer. We are back to school Monday!!

myfourgems said...

What i absolutely love about you is that you know us gals are thinking as we read your beautiful words, "LOVE the new colors! I wonder what she used?" and you provide it at the end! haha you are the best. Remind me to tell you a hilarious story about painting peepers way back when i was nursing one of the girls!

Aus said...

Beautifully said Jody - yeah - living in a glass house....what would we change....good food for thougth!

And your home looks awesome!!

hugs - aus and co.