I had it all planned:
when they would all arrive
what I needed to do beforehand
how I wanted my heart to feel when they got here
Not wanting to become “the frazzled friend” I often turn into when hosting a get-together, I banned myself from Pinterest and my own desire for perfect.
I wrote out a timeline and recruited help from a friend. Together we would be prepared. Simple appetizers and decorations. A few pretty touches. We could do everything ahead of time so I would be ready before anyone got there, with time to spare and room to breathe.
I wanted to feel calm and happy when friends arrived. I wanted to greet each one, face to face. I wanted to let her know, not only was she welcomed, she was wanted.
But even the simplest of plans don’t always go as planned.
A crisis at work kept my husband from getting home in time to help pick up the house. Traffic was horrible and my friend/co-host got stuck on the other side of town, unable to come early and help with setup. The food wasn’t ready. The kitchen was a mess. And my three hungry kids kept asking when dad would be home to take them out for pizza.
I was not calm. I was not happy. Things were not getting done, and I could feel myself coming undone.
Deep disappointment and a slight sense of panic came crashing in. Why do I even try? I so desperately wanted to enjoy this night. These friends. And then I remembered . . .
I still could. I didn’t have to let my “far-from-perfect” reality crash the party. My plan, to NOT become “the frazzled friend,” still had a chance to survive.
The most important part of gathering friends that night was to be with them. To be present. To create a place for women I knew so we could connect and share our hearts, our stories, our lives. And all of that was still possible.
When Jesus stopped by to hang out with His friends and enjoy a dinner party with Mary, Lazarus, and Martha, He didn’t care what they were having for dinner. He wasn’t concerned about dishes in the sink or the decor of their home. He just wanted to be with them. (See Luke 10:39-42)
Letting friends see our imperfections may be the best gift we can give them.
Having everything all-together can be intimidating. As women, it’s so easy to compare ourselves, our homes, even our party-hosting skills, and feel less-than.
Maybe someone needed to see how very not-all-together I am. Or perhaps someone needed to hear my heart as I shared openly about my struggle that night. Maybe letting friends see my messy imperfections made being together even better.
I am learning to go to Jesus and ask Him what He wants. And every time, He shifts my perspective of my failed plans and my frustrations with “imperfect.” And He reminds me that being present always trumps being perfect.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Amen! Being present ALWAYS trumps being perfect. I have questioned why I have struggled so with this over the years. Granted, I have gotten a LOT better. But I really think, for me, it comes down to an ugly little obstacle that I don’t want to admit….pride. I want to look like I’ve got my act together. I want it to appear that I can do this (hosting friends) with ease. I want it to be a nice gathering so that I will somehow look good – ouch! Even just admitting that sounds awful. Wrapping my little head around the fact that showing hospitality is about God, first….the people I’ve invited over, second….and I’m a distant third has taken me longer than I care to admit to embrace. Like you said, I think people heave a big sigh of relief when they see that we don’t, in fact, have it all together! Perhaps that’s the best “hostess gift” we can give them. Nothing says “welcome” more than people knowing I’m human too and that my love for them is more important than how I appear. Awesome reminder this am.!
Renee Swope says
Gosh I love your honesty Bev. I have embarrassing struggles with pride too, and your admission has me asking God to show me mine. I want the grace He gives to the humble cause I surely need it!
Love the idea of a hostess gift. “Welcome to my imperfect life, I’m so glad you’re here!”
Michele Morin says
Even though all the other plans fell through, thanks for sticking with the plan to be present with your friends — and for the much-needed perspective that our vulnerability (and not our stellar entertaining skills) may be the very thing God will use to minister to the people in our lives.
Vulnerability is the word as my sister in Christ mentioned in the comment before me. I so often give up before I start wanting to host, the stress, the worry all until your friends arrive. Your right its about the time spent together not what our house looks like! Nobody is perfect! Thanks for the reminder x
Maija Jokinen says
Thanks for the reminder, Renee, I so agree with you. Just when I was thinking about how I am going to look like in the evening when my new cosmetologist friend with his husband come for a visit. I guess God wanted to remind me of being present. I know we both (me and this friend) have gained some weight (not even that much!) because of our illnesses, and still I’m not feeling confident. It’s so funny how we tend to think in this world, no wonder it says in the Bible that we should let our minds be renewed.
Thank you for sharing your heart! As I too will be hosting a Fall get together at my home! I’m so excited, and this past week I have been exploring Pinterest Fall Porches …lol 🙂
I love fall time and I tend to be a bit nervous once the day comes, wanting everything in its place..
You’ve helped me to realize, it’s the gathering of my sweet friends that’s most special and important!
Warm Fall Blessings!
Gina Butz says
Amen! Thanks for the great reminder.
Renee Swope says
You are welcome! I needed it too.
Pearl Allard says
Renee, thank you! That is tremendously encouraging that maybe it’s the very things I’d rather sweep aside that God is planning to use.
Renee Swope says
Susan Daugherty says
Thank you! When everything IS just right, or I let people see only the end result after the chaos, I could be unintentionally discouraging them from reaching out to others. How much better for us all to model for one another the open door rather than the clean house.
Renee Swope says
What a great insight! Yes, our attempts to have it all together could be the thing that makes others feel like they can’t pull it off. Maybe our imperfections can be inspiration instead!
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
Are you saying I don’t have to be hard on myself because I took potato salad and potato chips (two potato sides!) to my picnic for family and friends. Yes, I started to berate myself for poor planning, but all was well as we sat on the hillside and watched the hot air balloons rise against blue skies above us, and everyone ate my pork bbq sliders, no one complained about the menu that included two potato sides. They just kept thanking me for planning our evening at the Balloon Festival.
Of course, I didn’t have to clean house for a picnic!
Renee Swope says
A good old fashion picnic, what a great idea! Yes I have also felt the guilt over store-bought sides, deserts, and main course! But I’m getting over it, and friends are getting used to it!
Beth Williams says
We are all just human & life happens all the time! Friends just want to be present with you-no matter the state of your house. It may ease their minds to know not everyone is “Pinterest” perfect. God cares more abut the gathering than the food. When Jesus visited the home of Mary & Martha-He didn’t care about the meal. He simply wanted to be with them & have them listen to Him. That is what friends want-to be with you & enjoy your company fully. Instead of slaving in a kitchen for hours at Thanksgiving-I usually order the turkey & a few sides from grocery store & take to my in-laws. I want to be there present with them not all tired from cooking.
Renee Swope says
Me too!!! ❤️️
Erin Whitmer says
You bring so much to light that we all struggle with! This desire to be perfect even though we know it isn’t authentic or possible. In a carefree moment I invited dozens of moms to my house for a play-date while my husband was away. I felt the need to be the fun mom while fun dad was away, and life is always more fun when we bring women into the circle. I was encouraged and excited until I walked outside. All I saw were the weeds we’d neglected as we’d focused on our family. Or the umbrella that my husband hadn’t fixed yet. Or the grass that I needed to mow but was out of gas. And then I regretted the invite. Who was I kidding?
As it turned out, very few people could make it, but those who did didn’t say one thing about the chaos of our home. They were content to be invited. And even those women who couldn’t come expressed how joyful the invitation made them. I was able to touch the hearts of women with an invitation. And perfection wasn’t even on the menu!
Thank you again for your encouragement and your humility and bringing all our flaws to the surface so we can be blessed.
Renee Swope says
Oh goodness Erin, I could so relate to your excitement about the invitation and then panic over the preparation. I have been there many times!
Here’s to invitations that make people feel welcome, and messes that make them feel right at home !
Rebecca L Jones says
Frazzled , frizzled and frantic. Mary of Bethany didn’t mind as she broke her alabaster box. Did she? And He was at the house of Simon the leper, I’m sure He wasn’t a leper anymore.
I totally agree! I have been blessed with friends who are better off than my husband and I (not a bad thing). I have always been intimidated thinking to myself that I cant compete with them (not that they gave me that impression). But I really enjoyed our times together, because we all had the same interest and it is always fun to hang with someone who you can share interest with. I was trying to be perfect for them because I thought they were perfect. But each time that I would go to there house, I would notice things like, what?!?! She has dishes in the sink? Just like me? Her kids leave toys every where?!?! Just like mine? Her husband slacks on the help?!?!? Just like mine? I started to relax and realize, they just have bigger responsibilities, but we are both human and don’t have it all together as much as it looks like on the outside.