Welcoming People Into Your Life — Even When It Is Messy

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I am going to be honest with you and admit that I am one of those people that thrives on order and organization.  It sounds “pretty” to say that I like keeping a clean and organized home.

The reality is more often that I like my home clean and organized because I like control.

I also am often too concerned about my image, and then my house becomes an idol to my image.

I have had the privilege all summer long to have lots of guests into my house.  When I know company is coming, I run around cleaning my house until it sparkles.  I want it to look as “perfect” as it can look with seven people living in it.

Sometimes in the process of cleaning, I forget that it’s more important about having a welcoming heart than an attractive home.

God always has a way of gently correcting my heart and attitudes and revealing their true condition.  There’s no pretense with Him.

One of my dear friends recently visited me, and I mentioned to her that I have had to come to accept that with five children, my life isn’t going to be the pretty little package, all under wraps, tied up with a pretty bow, like I would prefer.

She said so eloquently, something along the lines of, “Love is messy.”

Love requires us to get messy. 

To truly love others, we have to be willing to get messy ourselves.  We have to be wiling to be transparent and to welcome them into our own messy lives.  We have to be willing to accept people in all of their disheveled, messy state of brokenness.

God has been working on teaching me that life is messy, and grace is sometimes best seen in the messiness of life.

I love the following quotes from the book, Glimpses of Grace, by Gloria Furman:

…controlling my circumstances wouldn’t fill the void in my soul.  You can’t organize your way into communion with God.

I forget that homemaking is not primarily about my personality; it is primarily to adorn the Gospel…

For many of us homemakers, our greatest fear is in being found incompetent, insufficient, and ineffective.  We prefer to look like we’ve got it all together.  We give lip service to the idea that nobody’s perfect, but we would rather die trying to prove that we’re the exception to the rule.

God chooses to use the weak and broken to show himself to be strong and sufficient.

If you struggle with developing close relationships with others, perhaps you struggle with the same problem of making your image an idol.

When we live for our own “glory” or image, we are incapable of allowing people into the vulnerable and messy places of our lives.

I love this quote from Glimpses of Grace in regards to this:

Perhaps our relationships are terminally casual because we’re not willing to disclose what’s at the heart level.

  1. Maybe we’re unsure of how we are really doing.
  2. Maybe, we’re not willing to hear from others.
  3. Maybe, we’re afraid of the truth.
  4. Maybe, we’re insecure because we’ve been burned in the past.
  5. Maybe, we’re just ignorant to the beauty of self-disclosure shared for the sake of the Gospel.
  6. Maybe, we’d rather cling to our own assumptions of others.

What’s the solution to letting go of our false need for control and pride in holding onto false pretenses?

The solution is knowing the truth about who we are in Christ and knowing the truth of Who God is.

The Gospel isn’t just giving us a fresh slate to try to get things right again.  The Gospel means that Jesus not only met God’s justice on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins, but that He also exchanged our “rags” of sinfulness for Jesus’ righteousness.  This is our means of redemption and transformation!

Glimpses of Grace says this as well:

Jesus faced our sin and our enemy and determined to remain on the cross until our debt for every last sin was paid in full.  He nailed the record of condemnation against us to the cross in triumph!

The gospel inspires in us a willingness to cede control to God over the image we are trying to portray through our lives in the home.  Through Jesus, we can be most concerned with imaging God and being conformed to His image.  Because of the gospel, we can run away from any Magic Mirrorgate, rejoicing in who God is instead of devastated by who we are.

When we are unwilling to be honest and authentic with others, we must ask ourselves whether we have the proper view of God and of our position in Him.

Glimpses of Grace said, “Don’t be a victim of identity theft. .. everything God has for you is grace upon grace because of what Jesus has done for you.  …Your image is not really about you but about Him.”

One last quote, because I love the way God welcomes us into His heart and family — even in our disheveled, messy sinful state:

“Part of your image bearing and image conforming is experiencing the joy of making God your treasured possession, as He has made you His.” (From Glimpses of Grace)

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