Letting Your Lil Light Shine | day 16: invite someone over

Sometimes, inviting someone over just seems like too much work. Doesn't it?

That would mean I'd have to corral the kids to pick up their toys, while I throw miscellaneous shoes and sweatshirts in the closet, and Daniel runs the vacuum. I'd have to finally transfer the pile of dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. Overflowing recycling would be moved to the top of the dryer, and hidden behind closed doors. I'd have to quickly wipe up stray crumbs from counters and dining room table--we won't even go into the recurring mess that is Ian's high chair.

We're not a slob of a family. We are, however, a busy family with two young kids. Crumbs are a given (and often finger smudges on the wall, too). Toys seem to walk themselves out of their hiding places. Keeping up with the kids makes us adults of the home almost as bad as the kids.

What if we ignored the mess? Or got proactive about it, instead of using it as an excuse to be inhospitable?

We have, and we never regret it. Inviting a friend and her kids over for an impromptu playdate. Quickly throwing our house back to normal after inviting a couple over for dinner. Leaving the mess when my understanding sister and her family are willing to pay us a visit.

There is just nothing that can match the shine that happens when we open our homes. When crumbs are vacuumed or ignored underfoot visitors. When lonely chairs are filled with warmth. When the chaos in myself is replaced with friendly conversation. When I reach beyond my perfectionist tendencies to lend a Christ-like welcome.

When the darkness of a closed home is opened up to the light of community. That. That is what opening our homes--our imperfectly lovely homes--creates.