The idea of opening our home to friends and family more has been on my heart this year. I’ve gotten past the idea that I have to entertain people when they’re here. I’ve relaxed into the role of simply welcoming people into our day-to-day and sharing life with them.
I’ve noticed that each time I make an effort to be hospitable, I run into an obstacle or two (or four or ten). Sometimes it’s a physical obstacle of a laundry pile 🙂 but more often than not, that obstacle is emotional or spiritual.
Here are a few hospitality obstacles you might face along with a few tips for overcoming those obstacles.
Having company takes time. While I don’t freak out over the condition of our house as much any more, I do like to at least do a quick cleanup of stray socks and dust bunnies. Our schedules are so often jam-packed that taking a few hours to spend with friends or family may feel like ONE MORE THING. But that one thing may be just what we need to energize our spirits.
While the tasks on our never-ending to-do list usually drain my energy, taking the time to sit and connect with people in our home refills my reserves. In fact, I’ve been known to enthusiastically diving into a project after people leave our house. A die-hard introvert, I’m energized when I’m surrounded by ‘my people’. The time spent with them is time invested in relationships and my own heart’s well-being.
Feeding a group of people (or even another family) a full dinner can throw the grocery budget an unexpected curve ball. If a dinner party isn’t in your budget right now, be creative about how to open your home without breaking the bank. Instead of a dinner party, have friends over for a covered dish dessert party or appetizer party.
We had a group of friends over on Memorial Day evening. We figured everyone would’ve had their fill of picnic food earlier in the day, so we opted to not fix a huge dinner. Instead we invited everyone to bring their favorite dessert or finger food. We added a dessert to the mix and provided drinks. It was low-stress and didn’t cost much at all.
Your house isn’t perfect? It’s not as nice as Susie’s? Not a problem. Yes, cleaning up your space before people come is good. But don’t let your house hold you back. I remember a Christmas party we had in our first apartment. We crammed a bunch of friends into the living room of our tiny, one-bedroom place and had a fabulous time.
Sure, having space for everyone to spread out is nice. But it’s not a requirement. I’ve felt welcomed and loved in big houses and small houses, houses that were showplaces and houses that needed some TLC.
Hospitality isn’t about your house. It’s about your heart. <<– Click here to tweet this.
The Heart of It
God’s desire is for us to live in community with other believers. He also wants us to open our hearts to unbelievers and share His love with them. The Enemy would prefer that we go home, close our doors, and isolate ourselves and our families from the world. Each time we make the decision to offer hospitality to others, we need to be prepared for spiritual resistance. Maybe it comes in the form of the dog or kids misbehaving while you’re trying to get the veggie tray put together. Maybe it comes as we start to feel grumpy for no good reason. I’ve learned that being aware of the power of hospitality and the spiritual impact it can have helps me keep my eyes open and my guard up, ready for anything that might try to derail me.
This just happened to me today. I’m having some friends over for an essential oils class and wanted to make a conscious effort to make them feel welcomed and loved. As I started planning out what needed done before they came, I found myself crying for no reason. I felt overwhelmed (even though there wasn’t that much to do!) and emotionally edgy. After some prayer, reassurance from my husband, offers of help from my sweet daughter, and encouragement from a friend, I realized that it was a spiritual issue. Once I saw what was really happening, I was able to jump in, get things ready, and take on the day… with a smile.
There are obstacles for every good thing that we attempt. Hospitality is just another one of those things. Yet it’s so important, so life-changing that it’s worth the struggle. I encourage you today to think about who might need you to open your home.