My girlfriends were coming for a quick last-minute dinner. It was hot outside, so salad was on the menu. Easy meal to put together quickly, and throw bread in the oven!
But I questioned my intentions, after I sent the text to both friends. What in the world was I thinking? I hadn’t been home all day after a full-day commitment, I knew my house was a mess, and we had agreed to meet in 45 minutes.
Forty-five minutes! I threw the dishes in the dishwasher, wiped off the counter, quickly picked up the back patio where we’d be gathering, and tossed all miscellaneous items on my unmade bed. Yes, my unmade bed. My husband was out of town for 4 days and there’s something about when he’s gone–I sort of let loose on my housekeeping.
I had in my mind, I’ve got to look good. It has to look good. What will they think of me if it isn’t all good?
I shut my bedroom door as my beautiful friends pulled up. Whew! And I thought to myself, “No one will go in there! I’m safe!”
I’m safe. Safe from what? My friends seeing who I really am?
It’s easy to hide our stuff and imperfections from the world. To shut the door. To think that no one will know. But really, what are we trying to hide? That we’re real? That we have bad, disorganized days like everyone else? That our lives are hectic and we don’t always get our “to-do” list done?
We sat in the backyard–the late afternoon sun pounding the back patio–talking about life, love, teenagers, college students, work, life–all good things. It was dreadfully hot, but it was so good to be with friends.
Then it happened. My friend decided to use the bathroom in our master bedroom.
I quickly said, “Don’t go in there!”
Don’t go in there! I thought to myself about 10 times.
But it was too late.
I then covered for myself and said, “Oh, go ahead. I’m not afraid if you see my mess!”
Years ago I would have been devastated, but I’ve since learned the balance of what really matters in life. True friendships or false ones. Things of substance, like friendships and love, or ideas of image and perfection that only steal our joy. Pure love that covers a multitude of sins.
I thought about my favorite verse in the Bible, which Eugene Peterson sums up perfectly. I really love the symbolism between love and hospitality.
“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless – cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it.”
I Peter4:8-10, The Message
Whew! Once again, Peter does not say that our houses or lives have to be perfect and orderly for us to be used by God.
I’m off the hook now. I can move forward even in imperfect times, and still reach out to others.
Back to questioning my intentions. I know my heart was to show true hospitality to my friends. I needed them!
I really believe that God allowed that bedroom door to be opened, to expose who I was on the outside, to teach me more about who I want to become on the inside.
Are you open to a last-minute invite, shutting the bedroom door, and focusing on your friends?
Have your friends ever seen your “mess?”
By Sandy Coughlin at Reluctant Entertainer