I loved Myquillyn’s recent post about the near-extinction of the drop-in visit because it conjured up memories of my greatest fear when we lived in Turkey: the drop-in visit. As a culture that straddles both European and Middle Eastern cultures, unannounced visits were perfectly normal.
In fact, they are considered an honor—it’s a great blessing to have guests in your home, so for people to drop by with no warning is to tell you that you are seen as a real friend: hospitable, a soft place to land, worthy of someone else’s afternoon.
And I have to admit, that totally stressed me out.
There’s layers of psychology behind that, but I won’t bore you with it right now. Here’s the real reason it was stressful: because I’m a perfectionist in my flesh, and if someone came by unexpectedly, they’d see my laundry piles and encrusted kitchen counters and children with no pants.
I learned to deal, but I can’t say I ever succumbed to surprise visits being an honor. But three years later, I can look back and safely say I learned about how I’m made because of that cultural norm, and how God can use my inner driving need for perfection to remind me that He alone is perfect, He orchestrates all things in His goodness, and that I can rest in Him as perfectly loved.
I’m not loved for my near-perfection, and neither are you. We’re loved because He is love, plain and simple.
Furthermore—our friends don’t love us for our perfection, either. In fact, don’t you breathe a little sigh of relief and smile a bit when you come to a friend’s house and you witness a peek of their crazy? There’s something comforting in seeing reality in others’ lives.
When my family goes to a museum-quality house for dinner, I spend most of my time making sure my little kids don’t break stuff. When we go to real houses, I let them run off and explore, and I lean back and savor the dinner served on mismatched plates.
Drop-ins don’t happen often in the States, but my time in Turkey has taught me to let go of the never-happening ideal of perfection—not only for my own good, but for the good of others. When we let others into our real, imperfect lives, we’re inviting them to be their true selves in our presence. And that, friends, is where true intimacy is birthed. That’s real friendship, real life, real communion. Our imperfection can remind each other of only-God’s perfection.
Let’s let down our hair a bit with each other. Let’s let people into our real life, our real home, crayoned walls and all.
What imperfection in your life will you embrace this week?Leave a Comment
I embrace my imperfect chaos! My 4th grader who stares blankly at me when I ask about an assignment that he didn’t know about. My house that has crates from Halloween and fall decoration shown everywhere because the kids are making forts out of them. My being not ok with chaos. Three kids doing homework at the same time, dog wanting to play, laundry and house neglected. I will let go of these things! Thank you! Thank you!
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I am embracing the fact that I am, and probably will always be, a clutter-bug. My true friends, however, love me AND my piles lol. A wise woman once told me the difference between “entertaining” and ” hospitality”. Entertaining shines the spotlight on you and how beautiful your house is. Hospitality shines the spotlight on your guest and says, “Hey, come in; let me fix you a cup of tea and lets sit down and talk awhile.” I try to practice hospitality instead of attempting to entertain. Thanks for a great and honest post!
Missy June says
I had to learn this smack-in-the-face when I became a single mother and desperately needed the help of others. Even having a babysitter in home everyday exposes the laundry piles, bare cupboards and poor habits. It’s risky to become vulnerable, no doubt about it. But when your friends see the rough edges and still love and accept us, we experience true intimate fellowship. Being fully known is the only way to be fully loved.
alina y says
I have had a few of those drop-ins by friends and family and I get stressed and embarrassed. As usual, the drop ins happen when its not “perfect” and I absolutely have to be perfect. I never thought of myself as a perfectionist until my friend and sister told me. So I would try, and try to always have it together… it just doesn’t work when you have 2 kids under 5. Still learning to embrace these drop-ins and see them as gifts. Thank you for posting, this was totally for me:)
Ooo, entertaining on a whim is a hard one for me. I guess I feel like if my house is not spot on that I’ll be judged as a bad housekeeper, not having it together, etc. Really, those are my issues and not someone else s. I really need to let those go.
I don’t know that I could get used to the drop in either, but I absolutely adore going to a friend’s house and my visit bumps up against their reality. Huge sigh of relief. We’re all imperfect:)
To be honest, if you were trying to find the perfect friend, it would not be me. I’m faithful though, in my imperfections and emotional whirlwinds with the LORD and life and well, least I’m honest and my home is a mess cos I’ve not been able to clean up for a week cos of a minor op. I slept for three days all out. The laundry piled and is still piled. My husband is frustrated at my lack of concern for the appearance of my home. My health is far more important, I so tell him, with a frown in his face.
O well, this is life and what real life is all about. When the downs are downs, hahahahahhaha, the housework can wait till the ups are ups. hahahahahahaha
I’m so pathetically funny. hahahahahahaha
Shelly Hendricks (@Renewed_Daily) says
When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and became disabled, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Letting go of perfection and control, allowing people into the “real me” and my “real home”, unvarnished was tough!
But you’re so right! This is where the beauty is found. This is where Christ is showcased. This is where soul connections are made. Thank you for the reminder! <3 Blessings
The imperfection I am choosing to embrace in my life is the fact that I cannot ‘do it all’ (whatever that is!). First, God did not create me to be everything to all people, nor am I fully trusting in Him as my Provider when I try to meet up to my own and others’ expectations.
In making time for Him, I make time for others, and THAT’S what life is truly all about – Jesus.
Yes, Tsh, please drop in! Come, join our little corner of family chaos today. After all, this ‘stuff’ is temporal, but fellowship is eternal…because of Him!:)
Araceli Day says
Yes,yes and yes!!!! I so miss that from my culture. Drop in happiness and a little cup of coffee with people that feel so close to you to just walk into your living room 🙂 …. I get the uneasy feeling of not having the house meeting your *guess standards* too ;). Great post Tsh, as always!!
Bethany Wheeler says
Love this! When I see my friends houses for the first time in their natural state rather than “done-up” for a dinner or something I actually feel quite privileged that they should be comfortable enough with me to let me see that.
I have the opportunity daily to let others feel like that, by letting them into my untidy rooms,both the literal ones in my house and figurative ones in my life.
Thank you for these challenging thoughts
Paula McLane Jennings says
The ‘drop-in’ visit always terrifies me. I actually dated someone for 2-3 years before he ever saw my house (and yes – despite my disaster we are still dating a few years later!) I’d like to say I’m a perfectionist because that is how I would WANT my house to appear to everyone BUT…I never ever reach that level of cleanliness and orderliness…I am a horrid clutterbug. Things aren’t actually ‘dirty’. There aren’t bugs or rodents just lots of piles of stuff and things not put away. Every so often I get it to an acceptable place but when you have 2 sons (15 and 21) that are used to growing up in clutter and also don’t know how to put things back where they belong it gets back to a state of chaos really really fast. I do thank God for the people in my life that I have allowed in that do still accept me and my clutter as is and don’t talk about it behind my back. I now live in a different state and don’t know that many people but in my old neighborhood I had plenty fairly close ‘acquaintences’ that I would die if they saw my house as theirs were always ‘museum’ quality and I know the state of my home would be the topic of the day at coffee.
I’m choosing to embrace my home school clutter and dusty surfaces, the fact that perfectly balanced meals don’t always happen around here, and I’m not super woman! I’m a perfectionist too, but I have to let go of it to stay sane.
I’m more relaxed about hospitality after living in Turkey myself. I learned to accept help from guests, sometimes it even breaks the ice!
Catherine Morgan says
“When we let others into our real, imperfect lives, we’re inviting them to be their true selves in our presence.” So true!! Oh my gosh, my messy house has been showing off my “true self” for years — and as a pastor’s wife, I live in terror of the drop in. Sigh. But it’s true in other ways, too — letting other women see my imperfections is the best starting point for real friendship. It’s grace, and it’s so inviting!
Beth Williams says
My husband is not fond of drop-in visits. He prefers to be alone in peace and quiet. I, too, find it hard to just drop in on someone-lest it be a bad time for them. I usually call before I go and make sure they are home.
We in this country must get over being perfect. NO ONE IS PERFECT! ONLY GOD!! 🙂 We must learn to deal with the daily business of our lives and let people know that we are human and make mistakes, don’t always have neatly tidy homes, etc.
God made us all unique and HE loves us just as we are!
I think that your true friends are ones that you can drop in on and they can drop in on you. They are like family. They aren’t going to love you less if there is a little dust around and dishes in the sink :). I have to admit that I cherish and enjoy my time with those people the most.
I’d like to see a little more of that in our closed culture.