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.