As summer approaches my home anticipates the change of the season. Like the shorts I don’t care to put on, the porch and fire pit call out to me all dusty and ready to be enjoyed in the sun and they tell me that it’s time to invite people over. It’s time to invite them in and out. And this fixer-upper house that we live in teaches me that I will never be fully ready and this space will never not have power lines and a pile of trash patiently waiting to be taken to the dump.
If I want to be in community, if I want to have friends, I have no choice but to invite them in right where I am. Because it might look different next year but it still won’t be perfect or ideal, so why keep wasting all that time waiting around?
The young pastor and his wife we just met arrive and the appetizer I tried at the last minute turns out gross and nobody cares because there’s still dinner food and they didn’t come to try a new appetizer anyway. The longtime friends expecting their second baby come on a Friday for mediocre homemade pizza, driving almost an hour each way, knowing they’ll have to put their little one down to bed while they are here and risk waking her up for the long drive home.
But connecting is worth it. They come after their long days; we host in spite of the mess. And it’s worth it every single time.
I never regret inviting someone over. I only regret putting it off and focusing on all the wrong things.
So we text and call and ask them to come anyway and they always say yes. They say yes because they don’t care about power lines and green pools and cluttered coffee tables and we ask because we’ve learned that we can trust our friends not to judge us. Why would they do that?
When I hesitate to invite people in, it’s usually because I forget that I can trust them.
When I remember that I can trust people not to judge and I still don’t invite them over, that tells me I’m focusing on all the wrong things. Like myself. And my stuff and me me me and more of me and that’s the exact opposite of why we want to have people over. We have people over so we can connect. They come and don’t judge because they can relate because guess what, their life and house isn’t perfect either.
They get it. They get us, and I bet your people get you, too.