Truthfully, I once thought hospitality meant keeping the house clean and the fridge full. While I think that’s definitely a part of hospitality, it’s one of the many facets that make up an entire life posture.
We have had nine visitors since we moved to new England this past January. I think first that tell you we have some really awesome friends and family members. It has blessed us abundantly to have our closest people visit us and share life with us for a weekend here and there. But having so many visitors has also shaped my perspective on the art of hospitality.
With nine visitors in a span of 8 months, our lives can’t come to a halt every time someone spends a weekend with us. We have to keep going… so those friends are along for the ride. For example, last weekend our dear friend Erica stayed for five days and she not only helped me sew and paint a set for the youth group kick off, but also spent 13 hours with us at church from the Sunday morning service until youth group was finished. She didn’t sit off to the side, either – she was in the thick of it with us. And, you know what? She loved it! She loved seeing a true slice of our lives here and getting to experience our day to day shuffle.
So for those of you who look at the word hospitality and feel your shoulders getting heavier quickly, breathe a sigh of relief. I have a few reminders for you:
I totally get it – I’m a clean freak, too, even when people aren’t coming to stay with us! I appreciate a clean home, but I can’t let myself get bent out of shape over it. Life is too short to worry about the dishes and un-vacuumed rugs. Do what you can and then forget about it – your guests will feel comfortable anyway.
Don’t feel pressured to make a big show.
Whether you have friends coming into town or are just hanging out with your local friends, don’t feel like you have to set aside additional time to do that. Do things with them like grocery shop, go for a walk, work on that craft you had been planning to finish, or do the dishes together. I understand your desire to do something big for out-of-town guests.. if that is your true desire, go for it! Just don’t feel like every second of each day needs to be that way.
Be authentically you.
There’s nothing I love more than truly knowing someone. You know that friend who just gets you? You have probably shown each other the real “you” behind all the masks and pretenses. Your friends don’t need you to put on an emotional or physical show to win them over, either. Be you – it’s less work and more rewarding. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will be able to rush less, worry less and grow more.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below – I would love to hear what hospitality means to you and how you’ve grown in being YOU recently!
*This post first appeared as a guest post on Banana Grove Designs