The Power of the Imperfect


This post is part of a little series that you can read in any order, Part 1  and Part 2

We’ll I’ve figured it out.

I’ve said it a majillion times.  I truly believe that the imperfections in our home have the ability to help put people at ease.  There’s something about walking in a house and being greeted by a kind person who lives beautifully within her imperfect home, without apology that makes me want to be friends with her and tell her all my secrets.  Why would I want to try to pretend that my home is perfect when imperfection can be so powerful?  When I walk into a home, I find myself scanning for something asking myself–is this house too perfect? too put together? too unapproachable?–because if it is, I’m not nearly as comfortable.

Funny, the secret to taking  friendship from surface to deep is the same We already know it, we just wish there was another way.  It’s simple and nearly impossible all at the same time.  We have to show our junk, share the crud, let others know about our imperfections before we can move deeper into friendship.

We’ve got to show our ugly because everyone has carried a pee cup.

It’s the only way.

And just like any risk, the best way is to start small.  Take a baby step and share a little something personal and see how your friend reacts.  Do they listen?  Do they encourage?  Do they accept you?  If so, you are laying the groundwork for a stronger friendship and most of the time, the other person will start sharing their less than perfects too.  And you build from there.  It’s risky.  All good things are. But friends are worth it.

Maybe you have some friends that you are wishing you were closer with.  Dare to be an imperfectionist.

Still don’t believe me about the imperfections? Last year I asked on facebook if anyone wanted to send me a photo of their messy house. I had so many photos I couldn’t even include them in this video–there is something about imperfections that just connect us and we all long to be connected. It’s beautiful and when I watch this video I instantly know I could be friends with the messer of all of these rooms.

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  1. You are such an encouragement to me! For a long time I thought the only options for my house were Martha-Steward-Perfect, or verging-on-hoarding-disastrous like my mom’s house was. But it’s ok to be only half-way there. I’ve been blessed with some great friends over the past few years who love me for my imperfections (although sometimes I think they don’t believe me when I tell them my imperfections!)

  2. I still get into a tizzy when someone comes to visit. I want things picked up, bed made, dishes washed, bathroom clean, etc.
    Our place is small & I fight clutter all of the time. My husband & I have a tendency to ‘keep’ things. I try to let go of my emotional attachment to material things.
    I am striving to give myself permission to just relax & enjoy the person (s) visiting rather than focusing on how my home looks! It is not easy. :)

    • I’m right there with you, Dee. My “problem” is that I hold to too many things because of sentimental reasons. I am however working on it and I have gotten so much better at it. Since the beginning of the year we have donated about 10 boxes of stuff Goodwill and we’ve only just begun! :)

  3. You don’t know how much the messy house video blessed me! I feel like my house is in good company. You know, at some point you have to decided whether or not you’re going fight to keep the house in magazine condition or actually live in it. I choose to live.

  4. I love seeing that everyone else has messes too. Thanks! You’re right, it is such a great way to bond…when we let our guards down and show everyone the real side of life. I often share real life photos of remodeling chaos on my blog in hopes that someone will be encouraged.

  5. I had this cheese grin on the entire time watching that video. Good one. I see a room from my house in so many of those shots, defiitely enjoyed it.

  6. Robin EKBLAD says:

    You are so inspiring! I just can’t tell how much today’s post spoke to me! It is exactly what I needed to hear for today….. Love your blog for so many reasons… THANK YOU!

  7. I love what you wrote about baby steps as we begin to reach out for some real friends. Do they sem to really care about what I’m saying? Can I be truly authentic with them … or do I feel like I’m wearing a mask? Will they accept me just as I am? And what if my house or kids dont’ look like something out of a magazine spread?

    As a pastoral counselor, I often talk to women who are desperately lonely, and they head into new relationships as needy needy needy. For some reason they are drawn to people that do not deserve their trust.

    Too quickly we seem to take our “emotional clothes” off and share much more information than is wise. And then we just get hurt all over again. And our trust issues seem to get deeper and deeper.

    We’re wise to keep those emotional clothes on, and move ahead with relationships, slowly but surely, being sure they are mutual, helpful, joyful, and real.

  8. The magical widget says I’m supposed to be living next door to you and coming over later today for ice cream. I promise to bring something imperfect with me. It will likely be my hair.

  9. I’m with Lisa-Jo ~ I’m on my way over!! Will be leaving behind the piles of laundry running down the hallway, the piles of “good ideas” on my desk etc… It’s good to know we’re all the same!! Have a great day – great post – made me smile! ~CA

  10. Loved every word. The video made me smile. No better anthem than Sammy Kershaw =)

  11. Proof that imperfect is powerful:
    Jesus chose 12 imperfect men to be His disciples.

  12. Love this idea! Hoping to get together an (in) real life here in Joliet, IL!

  13. God bless you Nester. You have been an encourager to many today.

  14. You will feel right at home in our apartment because it is so very imperfect. Feel free to spill all your secrets. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. Looking forward to in(rl). Have you heard of Pastor Craig Groeschel? In one of his messages he talks about how his wife approached him one time and said (this is my version) “Honey, I think we are supposed to be “the House”. What she meant was the house where all the neighborhood kids congregate, where friends, neighbors, and life groups were to meet and fellowship, and where imperfection was a-okay. A house where everyone was okay with a few toys strewn on the floors, where some clutter was acceptable, where a spill of fruit juice didn’t cause gasps of frustration. They wanted to have “the House” where everyone felt they could share and didn’t have to bring their picture-perfect selves. I love people who share that message.

  15. Love this, love your heart, love your encouragement. Love that our imperfect home reflects imperfect us, and that in its own way it is an expression of letting down our guard, lettting go of the impression of perfectionism. Ah, a deep breath. Thank you.

  16. My dryer died this week and I went to my local appliance store intending to buy the dryer to match our one year old washer and finally have a matching pair after 17 years of marriage. When I got to the store, they had a great dryer on close out for 1/2 the price but it didn’t match. I thought of your slogan “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” and bought the non-matching but way cheaper dryer. Now I have extra money to do other fun stuff with. Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. I can not tell you how much I appreciate this post. My house is not dirty but it certainly is messy most times. I have an 8-5 job along with after school activities and what not. I do what I can in the couple of hours I have in the evenings and do whatever catching up I can do on the weekends (if any). I have been judged and criticized (by family of all people) because of the laundry on the couch, messy office, unorganized garage, etc., etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  18. I think the idea of imperfection links to finding the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. I saw this *amazing* TED talk by Brene Brown about the power of vulnerability. I think it really relates to what you’re getting at here, so I wanted to share. It’s 20min long, which is long for a busy person like yourself, but I promise it’s worth the time if you’re interested. Hope you enjoy!

  19. Your linky worked – it showed me up as a host here in N Ireland.

    At the moment it looks like it may be a party of one! But I am hoping, and praying, that some I invited will join me, and maybe others I don’t know (yet) in our community will discover it too.

    Great encouragement as always!

  20. Check out my #11 on my 25 things link up. I try to remember nothing is ever perfect, but it is easier said than done sometimes!

  21. So encouraging! I love your line “there is something about imperfections that just connect us and we all long to be connected.” Amen!

  22. I cracked up at the picture of the ceiling fan covered in dust!!!! My fans are ALWAYS on for this very reason. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

  23. Seriously. Love you.

  24. This post makes me happy! I’m totally in agreement with those words of wisdom you share about friendship. I think that is how most of my close friendships have surfaced..that sense that we know it’s okay to go deeper, further in, despite what that might mean for sharing some of those broken pieces of our stories and sharing our imperfections.
    How have you been Nester?? :)

  25. It’s been a while since I visited… Sorry. I’ve been busy getting back to work which means that I’ve spent less time making my home perfect. Ceiling fans with dust? Not only the ceiling fans, but light fixtures all through the house. Dishes in the sink? Most nights if it’s after 7 and dishes appear in the sink after dinner dishes are complete, they’re staying there until the next day.
    Anyway, glad I came across this. I just painted my dining room on a whim. It is a color I thought would be fantastic as I loved it when I saw it. On the walls, I realize not so much. However, I can’t paint it until April due to time constraints. In the meantime, I will host 1card party, 1 book club, and 2 craft clubs. I have paint on the trim and no decor that matches. It’s going to stay that way and peeps are gonna love me for being real – and choosing an interesting paint color! :) Thanks Nester for all you do.

  26. Thanks for finally writing abot >The Power of the Imperfect <Liked it!

  27. Great article mywifiext

  28. You are so inspiring! Love this

  29. So encouraging! I love your line

  30. Awesome post! I am actually getting ready to across this information, is very helpful my friend.

  31. I love that you did this! Seeing everyone’s picture perfect houses gets tiresome after a while… like yeah okay like your house always looks like that, give me a break! It’s cool to see someone keeping it real for once :)

  32. very good post keep it up

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