Welcome to our series, Letting Go of Perfect! Be sure to visit the other posts in the series here.
She walked in my front door and immediately, her foot kicked a toddler toy, which went sailing across my living room.
Jo had probably been to my house once or twice before, so we still weren’t in a stage of friendship that should’ve permitted messy houses. I was mortified. I only had one child, and I prided myself on a tidy house and homemade bread (as in all the bread–including sandwich bread. I know I was crazy. The end).
Somehow, my toddler had managed to dump out her toys before Jo’s arrival and that would explain the toy that doubled as a missile that day.
Before I could even apologize, Jo gave the perfect response: “You make me feel so normal.”
This friendship later turned into one where I could be honest about my struggles, where I could rely on her to pray for me. I remember telling her about my rude words to another mom. Jo was grieved over my harsh words but also compassionate, and she prayed with me for reconciliation and humility. Her prayers were answered and God enabled the other mom to forgive me. We have that kind of friendship, where we can both pray and problem solve with each other.
Gabby & Jo at my baby shower for my second baby. Our friendship has only gotten stronger since she moved away for her husband to go to seminary in Kentucky.
Ours is the kind of friendship where one of us can call the other to say “I want to quit homeschooling and be a checkout clerk at Walmart!” Well, not really. Target maybe.
It’s the kind of friendship where openness and honesty reign. Superficial desires to impress are gone.
Why? Because we quickly became comfortable with messy houses and messy hearts.
I know that not every friendship will be a Jo-friendship for me. Kindred spirits are hard to come by. But authenticity can happen in so many forms and it can make any friendship go deeper. Unfortunately, we’re often too busy doing a mad dash to vacuum the floors and hide the unfolded laundry before a friend comes over, when what we really need to do is prepare our hearts for open relationships.
Perfectionism, mamas, can poison friendships before they even happen.
Authentic friendship happens in messy houses with toddler toys. Friendship happens when we’re real and honest about the state of our homes and the state of our hearts.
I dare you to invite someone over and don’t clean beforehand. Have someone over for dinner and order pizza because you didn’t want to stress out over cooking something fabulous. Ask a bunch of moms over for a play date and I bet they won’t even notice the mess. They’ll just remember how normal you made them feel.