She was coming over to my house in a few hours. I wanted everything perfect for the first time she’d meet me and see my house.

I vacuumed, scrubbed, cleaned—even swept the outdoor steps leading down to our basement apartment. The apartment smelled so nice and clean. It looked so put together and organized. But I was exhausted and worn out.

By the time my new friend arrived, I was so frazzled from trying to have my house look so spotless that I didn’t have much energy left to really pour into her.

And I learned a valuable lesson that day: it’s much more important to have a heart of hospitality in relationships than to wear ourselves out trying to pretend our lives are the epitome of perfection.

The truth is: None of us have it all together. We all have messy parts of our life—whether that’s literally or inwardly or both.

It’s time to stop the facade and fake smiles and just be real with each other. When someone asks you how your day was, be honest. Tell them if you’re struggling.

If you need some encouragement or prayer, pick up the phone and text or call a friend to let her know you’re struggling. Ask for advice. Accept help when it’s offered.

Now, I’m not saying we need to air all our dirty laundry to anyone we meet in passing, but let’s start opening up and being truthful to those who are closest to us. Holding in our heartaches and heart cries and stuffing them under the rug while pretending that we’re fine not only hurts ourselves, it also hurts our relationships.

Here’s the thing, if we try to pretend we’re someone we’re not in order to impress another person or get them to like us, in order to keep impressing them and having their approval, we have to keep pretending. And that’s just plain draining!

It’s scary to be honest and real and share the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it’s also the most freeing thing I’ve done. To know that people love me for exactly who I am—not the person I’m pretending to be. They know the real me and they still love me.

The next time someone asks how you’re doing, don’t just say, “I’m fine”; stop and take a minute to give an honest answer…even if it’s not the answer you’d really like to give or the answer you think you should give.

And as for me, the next time you come over to my house—even if it’s the first time I’ve met you—I can almost guarantee you that it won’t be picture perfect. But I will hopefully have a lot more energy to invest in you since I didn’t expend it all trying to impress you with my clean house!


  1. What area of your life do you most feel like you need to “clean up” before showing it to the world?
  2. Can you think of a time that someone in your life has been really honest about the state of their home and life? What difference did that make in your friendship?
  3. How can you be authentic and real with someone this week?


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