Welcome to My House-Not-So-Beautiful

…Welcome to my
house-not-so-beautiful. Don’t worry about taking your shoes off, because truthfully,
the floors haven’t been mopped in a month. Make yourself at home amidst the
blessed mess. Settle into the lopsided cushions on the dog and child-stomped
couch, and don’t mind the dust bunnies lurking in the corners…I promise they
won’t bite. Relax with a cup of weak tea. My home, where real life happens
daily, is a place you, too, can be real…May you leave more refreshed than when
you came, in spite of it…
I hosted a ladies’ Bible study in my not-so-immaculate home
this Spring, sporting a baseball cap, yoga pants and bare feet, no less.
Oh, yes, I did.
I know…GASP!!! Go
ahead–get it out. Because when you recover from the shock, I have some nuggets
for you…
I’m not saying we live in squalor…I do my best to keep the
place picked up, but it’s not my driving passion in life, nor is slaving in the
kitchen, creating epicurean delights or crafting Pinterest-worthy decor. That’s
not me, and I’m ok with that, though I do admire my happy-homemaker friends.
Thank the Lord, He’s delivered me from my former prison of
perfectionism, to a healthier place of self-acceptance over the years. A place I’m
free to be uniquely ME, dust bunnies, mediocre cooking, and all. So I can shine
my light in the unique ways He did
wire me: to write, to encourage, and to lead.
Sure, I wiped the counters and picked up toys before our
meetings when I could…certainly we honor and bless our guests by preparing for
them. But the pursuit of perfection does
not bless. It enslaves. Alienates. Breeds competitiveness. Defeats the very purpose
of hosting others in our home: to extend love. Generosity. Service.
So when my friends filled the place for fellowship each week,
there was a thin layer of dust draping every square inch. Breakfast dishes filled
the sink, and little handprints smudged the stainless fridge. There was a maze
of puppy gates to stumble over. And “gifts” left by said puppy-in-training in
the dead center of the deck, that I raced to clean up while my girls
congregated in the kitchen, microwaving their own water for tea and trying to coax
caffeine from our finicky Keurig. Not only that, but I forgot things every
time: plates, napkins, pens, you name it.
There was not one meeting when everything was perfectly in
place. And you know what? For the first time in my life, I didn’t apologize
once. AND IT WAS OK.
One week upon request, I even gave the ladies a tour of the
upstairs, unmade beds and all. And one of those dear ones actually uttered
these words: “I’m impressed you showed us your house—I don’t know that I would
have shown mine, had it not been perfectly picked up.” Ha!
In spite of the mess, each one of us left our meetings
refreshed. Filled. Because despite my lackluster abode and imperfect hospitality,
those gals were blessed to have a home to meet in. To cry in—(to my credit, I did faithfully remember the Kleenex—priorities,
people.) Because it was about being together,
regardless of how imperfect the setting.
And let us consider
how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up
meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one
another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Who cares, really, if anyone sees our (literal) dirty
laundry? We’re all in the same messy, crazed life boat, after all. Not one of
us can’t relate to the mess and chaos that is real life. Solidarity, sisters.
Now, lest anyone misunderstands, this is NOT a yay, me rant…I assure you, this
recovering perfectionistic control freak spent many a miserable year fussing
and stressing over every last detail before ushering people into her home…and
wholly abhored every moment. So thoroughly did I scour our home, and the joy right
out of entertaining, that for years I stopped hosting all together.
I find this new kind of hospitality—my own brand, rather than another’s–exponentially more
refreshing…more enjoyable. And I submit that my guests do too. For one, because
their hostess is more relaxed; more at ease; more real. Real is refreshing. People
take comfort in other’s imperfections—blessed reminders that they’re not alone.
Don’t wait ‘til your house is perfect and you’re a bonafide
hostess-with-the-mostess to have people over. Believe me, your guests will be
more blessed, and leave infinitely more refreshed by your authenticity and
peaceful demeanor than your casa de flawlessness.
Come to the River…
We ought therefore
to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.”
3 John 1:8 (NIV)
“Share with the Lord’s people who
are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13 (NIV)

How can you practice (imperfect)
hospitality where you’re planted, with what you already have?

4 thoughts on “Welcome to My House-Not-So-Beautiful

  1. Yes! I love this! I truly so admired you for showing us around! It was a great example to me of knowing we arent alone in this! And as a side note-your house always looked great! Love you girl!

  2. This is awesome, Leslie. So glad you've discovered the freedom of hosting with peace instead of panic. I've been there too…touching up paint, re-caulking sinks and scrubbing scuffs off of baseboards with a magic eraser before company. Insane! Thankfully the Lord has delivered me from such neurosis!! Have you ever read "The Cure for the "Perfect" Life?" By Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory? It addresses some reasons why we do those crazy things 🙂 I had a chance to make a small contribution to the book, so I have an extra copy. If you're interested in reading the book, email me your snail mail address I'll send it to you. 🙂

    1. Love it–we all have those moments of insanity, trying to keep up, in our insecurity…I’d love it! I’ll send it to you 🙂

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