Last week you read here how I struggled to practice hospitality because I compared my home to the homes of others. Comparison is the thief of joy! It’s true! Today I’m going to get to the tough stuff, revealing our root struggles with hospitality. If we know God desires us to welcome guests, love others with our houses and our time, and give grace by entertaining strangers and friends how do we get there when we are too scared to step out? Are YOU house insecure?
Are You Willing to Be Real?
Let’s unpack some fears. Again, Heather wrote a brilliant post on the fears behind why we clean like a mad woman before guests come over. Her main point was: Are you willing to be real?
You’ve got to ask yourself this question first. You’ve got to be willing to be transparent. That is how true friends are made, in knee deep vulnerability. I mean that’s what I really wanted to know when I invited that new friend over to my house for the first time. We all want to know this same thing as we invite people into our homes,
“Here I am. Here are my messes. Will you still be my friend?”
It’s like a test. How will they handle my not-so-perfect house? But therein is the lie: I have to be perfect so they will like me. IT’S NOT TRUE!
Who walks around with a running list, evaluating new friends with a criteria of a perfectly clean house? Nobody! It’s all in our heads. It’s our fear of inadequacy. Somehow we believe that how we clean speaks to our own personal worth. But where does our worth really come from? It is bestowed on us by our Creator Father who gave his Son for us so that we could be made heirs with Christ. Psalms 8 show us this, “what are mere mortals that you should think about them…yet you make them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.”
Being REAL means inviting someone into your home without the facade of perfection that’s driven by inadequacy. And we can do that because God has already won all the perfection we needed on the cross. Deep down, if I know I am accepted and that God’s glory is displayed in my weakness, my cluttered mess, my inability to be perfect, then bring it on! YOU are welcome in my home.
Now, for the real challenge. What if we invited someone over who DOES live in a huge mansion? Four car garage, a personal assistant, offshore bank accounts, drowning in Jimmy Choo heels. Would you compare yourself to her? In my flesh, I probably would. And would I let that stop me from being hospitable? No more!
Comparing has robbed me of possible friendships, tribe members, villag-ites. That makes me so sad! Heather sent me home with a Body Image prayer once, here’s one line from it,
“Remind me that my purpose for today is far greater than figuring out how I compare to her…or her…or her. Help me to aspire only to look and be more like you. I need your strength, dear God. Please fill me with your spirit and empower me to fight this battle well today.” Can I get an Amen!? Let’s meditate on that prayer and let God change our hearts, empower us to focus on the Truth-that we are all the same way deep down, all created in the image of God and the outer trappings don’t matter at all. Human to human, mother to mother, we reach out when we open up the front door of our house. Let’s not miss out on any more friendships!
You can be hospitable in other ways too…
You can have a trendy friend host Mom’s Night In and you bring all the food-tag team approach. You can bring a new mom a meal in disposable tupperware, (please, so she is free from worrying who’s glass dish is this and to whom shall I return it to, those questions are annoying in your 4th trimester). You can hang out with someone who’s sick or having a down day. You can drop flowers off on their doorstep, drop a sweet note in their mailbox. Offer to watch their kids for an afternoon, I mean why not add a few more wild, whooping hoodlums to your crew? This is how we carry each other’s burdens, a great gift if you are finding yourself friendless or new in town or struggling in your marriage or faith walk. We NEED to bear one another’s burdens.
What does your home say about you?
What does it say about your family, about your relationship with God? Are you putting your treasure where your heart is? Are you investing in things to make your home shiny? Watch your intentions.
I have a tendency to see shiny things on TV/Facebook/Pinterest and want those THINGS! But here is what I’ve learned after being convicted for desiring earthly things that will rot and rust: My home may not be brightly painted the way I want. I may not have an eye for design and definitely don’t have the money to overhaul the house with modern renovations. But you will always be greeted with a plate of yummy snacks, we have plenty of toys to entertain the kids, we will laugh and have fun.
Or cry, maybe we’ll cry!
Overall, my desire is to encourage all who come through my home. If you are frustrated about something, let’s talk, let me carry your burden alongside you. If you are hurting, let me offer some kind words of encouragement and let me commit to praying for you. If you are having a hard time with your kids or are just plain tired, let my boys run them around for you! I’ll watch the kids, you sit here and have a cup of tea. Now sometimes I fail, sometimes we end up complaining all afternoon but I’m through with that. I’ve done that for years. I’m ready to let God be glorified through my home. After all, God gave us that home! He has purposes for you and I to accomplish in the neighborhood in which we’ve been planted.
Esther is a recovering perfectionist who lives in Dallas, TX with her husband of four years, Riqui, their two boys, preschooler Emory and baby Elio. She revels in God’s grace and attempts to dish it out to everyone in her life. And she loves to cook and grocery shop. Read Esther’s posts here.