Yesterday, I was stressed to my limit.
I was hosting a board game party, but everything that could possibly go wrong was going wrong. Several friends suffered terrible, unfair things this week. Justin was sick this week. Critter was sick this week. I hadn’t cleaned. I forgot to buy disposable cups.
I was rushing around, trying to make the house look like civilized people lived in it, when I found myself repeating a mantra that came from nowhere: “make space for grace.”
I sat down and took a deep breath. I might’ve cried a little about all the things my friends were dealing with. But when I stood up and started working again, that mantra kept playing through my head.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t have disposable cups. I had mugs and glasses, and a wonderful husband willing to wash them afterwards.
It didn’t matter that the baby was quickly undoing any progress I made on gathering her toys into the toy box. There would be plenty of kids to play with them.
It didn’t matter that I forgot ice— my parents were kind enough to bring some by while I was panicking.
It wasn’t a perfect party. There were too many people and some of us had to sit on the floor. My child tried to convince my friend to put her four month old in a doll stroller. (And my friend was obviously smart enough to say no.)
After the party was over, I felt… kind of fulfilled. It’s the third big party I’ve hosted at my house, and even though there were some bumps in the road, everyone had fun.
Then my friend gave me the best compliment ever: “you and Justin have the ability to bring people together who normally wouldn’t.”
So where is this going?
It’s easy to put things off until you can do them perfectly. But too often, that means putting them off forever.
If I’m going to work on building and inspiring community this year, there’s only one way to do it: make space for grace. God loves us even though we’re pretty imperfect. Take me, for example. I’m stubborn, impatient, and sometimes hot-headed. But God loves me anyway. So, as a Christian, it’s important for me to show the love of God to others… even when they’re stubborn, impatient, and hot-headed. Even when they’re me.
So to create community, I have to show some love for others as they are, not as I want them to be. My friend group won’t be picture perfect, and we may spend part of our parties sitting on the floor.
But this is where we learn to love— sitting on the hardwood.