What would be the first thing you would do if a friend arrived at your door unannounced? Would you willingly invite them in and enjoy the fellowship of a friend, freak out about the house not being picked up, or be secretly annoyed that they interrupted your day?
For me it would have been ‘freak out’ mode. When that friend arrives, I immediately think about the mess around my house: toys laying around, crayons scattered on the table, half-eaten apples and glasses of milk on end tables, the dreaded dishes in the sink, and so much more. Who knows, sometimes there’s that lurking smell hiding in a room and you just can’t figure out where it’s coming from! Yes, that describes my life. No matter how many times our family cleans up our home, it never stays clean. Huh, how can that be? Why can’t kids keep the house clean all the time?
One time, a new family friend and her children were coming to visit me. Thinking about the condition of my home, the mad dash started with a bang! I had to clean up, especially the things I didn’t get to that morning! After quickly cleaning up, a sense of relief fell over me. They could now enter my home and I wouldn’t be anxious. They came over and we enjoyed each other’s company.
Some of you may think that is normal and can relate, and some may think I’m crazy. The fact is, I didn’t believe my friends would care for me if my house weren’t arranged nicely. I thought that was true, until my new friend proved otherwise. She inspired me. She taught me without her even knowing. Friendships are more important than what my home looked like. She wanted to be my friend and she expressed that.
Here’s what happened.
On a hot sunny day a month ago, my new friend and I were enjoying the full sun and water at Baker Pool with our kids. As the clouds began to darken, I knew the storms were rolling in. Not wanting to end our afternoon early, I anxiously invited her to my home. I knew the house wasn’t picked up to my usual standards, but I invited her anyway. We grabbed our things and stopped at my home. As she entered my home, I fully expected to see shock on her face, but there was nothing there. She walked in, as if there was no big deal. We enjoyed fellowship together, and built our friendship.
The next week, my kids had spent the night at her house, and I went to pick them up. Knocking on her door and walking in, I see my sweet friend making coffee for me, just so we can chat and hang out. I glanced around and noticed her home was “lived in.” But, I didn’t care. I could tell the love of Christ that was inside of her and she wanted nothing more than to talk and have fun. Nothing was going to stop her from that. I guess I needed to see that I wasn’t the only mom whose house wasn’t always picked up.
Are you like me, afraid to let others see the real you, wanting everything to be perfect on the outside? Did Jesus provide us with that example? Jesus invited people into his world regardless of the mess they had going on. Think of the tax collectors and prostitutes and sinners, or even his own disciples. Peter was rebuked by Jesus for having the spirit of Satan and denied Jesus. Many of his other disciples bickered and fought with each other. Or, consider the Old Testament stories of people like the prostitute Rahab, Jonah, and King David. They all made messes, but God wasn’t scared of their messes. He embraced them in their messes and everything they had to offer. Peter became the rock of the church. His disciples spread the gospel around the world. Rahab helped the Israelites capture Jericho in their quest to the Promised Land. Jonah, despite running away from God, turned and preached repentance to Nineveh. And David, a king who committed adultery and plotted murder became in God’s own words, “a man after my heart”.
Is that not the attitude we need to have with one another, that ours and others’ messes don’t define us? We are called to have the mind of Christ. We must embrace those around us as God sees them. We must know whom God created them to be and spur them on towards what God has called them to be. We are called to love deeply, inspire, and encourage others to live wholeheartedly in the assurance of who they are. We are beautiful messes that He uses for His purpose.
My friend loved me that way. Intimacy really is pronounced, “in-to-me-you-see”. When we are willing to expose both the good and the not so good of your life with those you are in relationship with, then you are living in intimacy.
I want to build those kinds of relationships. Do you? Will you let people see that your home and your life are not always perfect? Will you be real? Turn on that coffee pot, invite a friend over, open yourself and see your friend as God sees them. Enjoy the fellowship that God so wants to bless our lives with.
Connect Group Ministry Leader