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Your Home Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

Your Home Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

The following is an exclusive excerpt from Holley Gerth’s newest devotional, Do You Know You’re Already Amazing?

“My home has to be perfect.”—Ginny

“My home just needs the presence of Jesus.”—Lydia (read Acts 16:13–15, 40)

As Ginny wipes her best serving platter, she catches a hazy glimpse of herself in the surface. She tucks a stray hair behind her ear and is surprised by the look of weariness in her eyes. A high-pitched voice calls out “Mom!” and small hands wrap around her legs. She looks down to see ten sticky fingers clinging to her white capri pants. She’ll have to change her clothes, and a group of women from her daughter’s school will be here in an hour. “Lord,” she sighs, “maybe more than just my pants needs to change. I’m so tired of trying to make my home seem like it’s perfect all the time.”

Like Ginny, Lydia’s week has been full of expectations and obligations. As a prominent businesswoman selling purple in Philippi, she has many demands on her time and energy. Scripture implies she has a family to take care of as well. Perhaps seeking a moment of peace, she finds a grassy spot near the river and listens to the ripples of the water. This wide-open space also attracts religious teachers who preach from the riverbank. She shifts her attention when she hears a man talking about how God sent his Son to die for the sins of the whole world so we could belong to him. A fellow listener tells Lydia the speaker is Paul, a Jewish rabbi who once killed Christians but is now leading people to Christ. Lydia is intrigued. Although she’s “a worshiper of God” she doesn’t yet know the whole story about this Messiah named Jesus (Acts 16:14).

As Paul speaks, Lydia’s heart readily soaks in every word. Soon she and her entire household become believers and are baptized. She’s filled with joy and gratitude. How can she repay Paul and the others traveling with him for what she’s received? When she hears Paul doesn’t have a place to stay, she has her answer. The author of Acts says, “She invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us” (16:15).

Lydia could have said something like . . .

“I have a guest room that looks like a page from a magazine. Come and stay at my house.”

“I can whip up meals better than a chef at a fancy restaurant. Come and stay at my house.”

“I have children who are going straight from kindergarten to college because they’re so smart and well-behaved. Come and stay at my house.”

Instead she simply says, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” In other words, what matters most about where I live is not that it’s perfect but that the presence of Jesus is in it. That’s good news for us. It means we don’t have to decorate beautifully, cook fantastically, and entertain effortlessly before we invite others into our space. (It also means we don’t even need an actual house. A dorm room, apartment, high-rise building, hut, or wherever else God has us will work just fine too.)

As Ginny’s anxiety reaches its peak, she hears the doorbell ring. It’s been a hectic hour, and she hasn’t finished everything she hoped. A dirty dish still sits in one side of the sink. A shriek followed by laughter and what sounds like jumping on the bed comes from upstairs. This is not how she pictured the evening beginning. She considers hiding in the pantry and pretending not to be home. Instead she gathers her courage and opens the front door.

A few hours later, as Ginny ushers out her guests, a new friend pauses to talk to her. “Thanks for letting us come over. I’m going through a hard time, and I’ve been feeling like a failure because my life isn’t perfect. It means a lot to see you’re real and you can relate. Being here helped me feel better.”

As Ginny walks back toward her still-messy kitchen, she has a different perspective. It no longer matters that her refreshments didn’t turn out just right or that stray toys are still scattered across the living room. What matters is that she provided a space for Jesus to love on people—even if her friend doesn’t fully realize that’s what happened yet. The burden of expectations carried far too long slips from Ginny’s shoulders as she realizes what Lydia knew: true hospitality just means opening our homes the same way we open our hearts. Jesus dwells in both, and he’ll take care of what matters most.

If you’re looking for Biblical encouragement and a reminder that God made you {and you’re amazing!}, Holley’s 30 Day Devotional will surely bless you. Learn more in the video below:

 

To purchase Holley Gerth's newest devotional Do You Know You're Already Amazing?, click here. To view our entire Holley Gerth collection, click here. For more from Holley or to subscribe to her blog, click here.

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