True Hospitality

I want to think that I am a hospitable person.  To a degree, I am.  I try to make people feel warm and appreciated whenever I am around them.  But after listening to  Shauna Niequist at the Allume Conference the past week, I realize that I stink at TRUE hospitality.  The “Jesus kind of hospitality.”

Maybe you are like me.  Maybe you worry too much about your house to invite people over?  I know I do.  Especially since I started blogging.  I mean, I am a home blogger.  I take pretty pictures of my home.  But 99% of the time, my home looks nothing like the pictures on my blog.  I am always worried that people will be disappointed when they come to my house and see what it really looks like.  I know…sad but true.

I also put pressure on myself to be the perfect host with Pinterest-perfect food and decor.  Do you do that?  I truly enjoying doing a lot of the pretty stuff I see on Pinterest, but if it keeps me from having people I love over to my house, then that is not good.

You know what I mean?

Shauna taught us what TRUE HOSPITALITY means…

1.  True hospitality is when someone leaves your house feeling better about themselves, not about you.
2.  Hospitality is giving people a place to be, when they would otherwise be alone.
3.  Hospitality is creating a sacred space where God can work in and through you.

In Acts 2, the early church gathered in each other homes and broke bread together.  No fancy tablescapes.  No picture-perfect desserts.  Just fellowship and food.

If we want to build anything of substance, durable, beautiful, meaningful….we need to build it around the table. Meal by meal.

The early church wasn’t built in coliseums, short essays, short conversations…it was built around the table.

I was challenged to ask myself, “Am I living a life of hospitality?”

“Am I practicing the Jesus way of Hospitality on my blog?”

Many times we do not practice hospitality because we are too busy or too afraid.

But hospitality can be simple.

I particularly got a kick of how Shauna gets ready for company to come over.


Fifteen minutes before they come, she grabs three things…

1.  Bacon or an onion.

2.  Laundry Basket.

3.  Baby Wipes.


She puts bacon or an onion on the stove to make the house smell good and homey.
She gets a laundry basket and runs to the rooms where her guests would be and picks up things they could possible sit on or trip over.
Lastly, she uses baby wipes to wipe up anything sticky or icky in those rooms as well.


When company shows up, don’t apologize!  Do you do that?  I am sooooo guilty of that.  I point out every imperfection in my home and explain why it’s that way or why we haven’t fixed it yet.  Truth is, our guests would probably never notice the imperfections if we didn’t point them out!  

You know the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.  Jesus is at their house, and Martha is busy getting everything ready for her guest.  
Mary doesn’t help Martha, so Martha tattles to Jesus.  Secretly, we wish Jesus would agree with Martha, but He doesn’t. 

Jesus says, “She (Mary) has done the one thing and it will not be taken away from her.” 

Mary was PRESENT.

The soul of hospitality is connection and presence.

I want to be present and connect with my guests when they are in my home. 

How do I do that?

I think it is by focusing on my guests more than my house and myself. 

I think it is by creating that “sacred space” where God can work in and through me when others enter my home.

I think it is by putting away the notion that everything has to be Pinterest-Perfect, and just embrace the imperfections in our lives and homes. 

What do you think?

I would love to hear your thoughts on True Hospitality!


  1. Traci, so very true!! I have struggled with this need for things to be just right before I invite someone over and I usually give in to it! I have been thinking lately how much I need to try to change that and just call someone on the spur of the moment and ask them over…..just to be led more by the Spirit than my own pride. Thanks for a great post!

  2. I’m just like you….afraid to invite people over. I’m trying to stop apologizing or explaining imperfections when people do come over and have gotten better at that. But, mainly just family comes over and not that often. I’d like to be brave but I keep waiting until my house is “perfect” which will probably never happen. I’ve thought often about the times I’ve visited others and their homes were messy and they didn’t apologize and I didn’t judge them. In fact, I felt comfortable. I don’t know why I think others will judge me. Something need to work on for sure!

  3. we do not entertain a lot..but when we invite folks over, the first thing we ask..”are you allergic to cats? we have 2 plus a dog.”
    with no kids in the house, we are fairly ready at all times..
    if you happen to be in the neighborhood, give us a call..and come on over!

  4. This is a wonderful and timely post. I will be hosting a more formal party in December and am already stressed about it. Thank you for the reminder!

  5. Enjoyed this post. Need to be reminded the meaning of true hospitality. I try too hard to create “Norman Rockwell” holidays for family and guests in my home. I am so off the mark, need to focus on my guests. It’s not about me, or about my home. Thank you for the great insight!

  6. I am glad to see your post. I spend time looking at blogger’s homes, on pinterest and making lists of things I need to do to make my home “perfect” like all of the bloggers. That is starting to stress me out and my list of “to do’s” just keeps growing. No house is perfect all the time – it is made to “live” in. Sometimes I wish bloggers would show how their house looks during normal hours when the family is truly living in it- not a staged setting. We might not feel the pressure of having to have the perfect house. Thank you for this post – I need to get a better grip and perspective on my home and hospitality!!!

    1. Great post Traci! Sherri, The Nesting Place blog might be a great one to add to your list if you aren’t already subscribed. She shows her house in it’s lived in state, often and always says, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” I appreciate that. You might also. ;)

  7. With eleven kids, a farm, home schooling and running a business from home, I get my share of challenges on having a house that “presents” as I would like it to for guests. Thankfully, God did give me the gift of organization and that has helped tremendously, but like everyone else, I have those days you look around and think, “What happened?!”

    As a result, I have become the “Queen of Bi-Lo bags”! I got this title because early on in my marriage, we shopped at a grocery store called Bi-Lo. We ended up with tons of plastic grocery bags from Bi-Lo. Years later, we don’t shop at Bi-Lo, but the name stuck for any plastic bag coming in our home. If I am short on time and long on messes when guests are about to arrive, I will swoop through the house, gathering up clutter into a Bi-Lo bag. The house looks neat in a matter of minutes.

    The good thing about this method is that I am forced to go through the bag the next day or so and eliminate or organize the contents of the bag!

    Now, it has become a standing joke in our family, “Mother, is it time to bring out the Bi-Lo bags?!”

    1. I do that method with mail!, but it ususally just ends up staying in the bag!(I have important stuff emailed, but still) Papaer trash is my nemisis and whatever method I use never lasts for long. :( However, I try not to let it keep me from having friends over. Neighbors, YES…friends, NO!

  8. So guilty of this. I love to have people over don’t get me wrong but, I am nervouse and never relax until they are there for awhile, then I guess I get passed it. My husbnad always gets mad when someone is about to come over because I am swooping in the rooms and grabbling ‘messes’ and he says, “just leave it!” “they will feel more comfortable if the newspaper is laying out”. Ha!!!

  9. Traci,
    Wow…you filled my heart & soul with your words! So very true…we wait to invite someone because a project isn’t quite finished or something isn’t done…when that is not what matters! You spoke so well and your words just dug deep into my heart…I just invited a mission family from church for dinner last week…we had been meaning to do that for weeks…my house was not spotless, but we all had such a great time! It gave me courage to do it again…with other friends! Thank you for your words…you reach strangers…and far more people than you can ever imagine!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *