If you are just checking in with us here, I'm going through the book Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others chapter by chapter and sharing what I'm learning as I go along.
Click here to read my thoughts on Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3.
Chapter 4 is entitled, "Hospitality and Management" which was probably the most difficult for me to read. Why? Because it talks about what you can do to manage yourself and your home better in order that it might run decently enough to offer hospitality to others.
There were some GREAT tips in this chapter - don't read me wrong!
It's just that....well...I'm not a list maker. Once anyone suggests that I start making a list I kinda zone out and take on the good ol' blank stare. I don't get lists. By the time I'm done thinking through one and writing it down, I could have accomplished about half of the things on the list already! I simply don't see the point.
Therefore I am a rather random organizer/cleaner/planner. I like flying by the seat of my pants pretty much.
Pity then that I married a list man. I'm pretty sure if I made lists we'd probably understand each other and our goals a little bit better. Instead, he keeps a list in his head and I tackle whatever project immediately catches my eye. Somehow or another, we've learned what each other expects when we want to have people over and we're running more like a well-oiled machine instead of like chickens with our heads cut off.
Lisa Tatlock authors this particular chapter and she is a good organizer. I imagine that Monica would find a lot to apply because I've noticed that Monica also makes a regular habit of making lists and keeping notebooks. (Am I completely hopeless?) If you are a list maker and a right royal organizer - this chapter is for you! If not, then your eyes might start to glaze over and you might start in with that blank stare. But don't go there! There are still things to be gleaned.
A few tips and advice from Tatlock when it comes to preparing yourself and your home for others:
" . . . [T]he truth is that there is no secret to managing your home with excellence - it is simply hard work!A friend of mine makes use of the Flylady.net to help her keep her house in order. The concept behind FlyLady is to spend a specific amount of time every day cleaning "zones" in your house. The idea is that if you fulfill the responsibilities given to you in e-mails on a daily (weekly?) basis, then your house will always be in a state of general order. Eventually, if you are cleaning "in the zone" you'll have cleaned and decluttered your whole house. It's a great idea but I haven't done it yet. (Tsk, tsk!)
Consistent effort is required to have an orderly and prepared home, whereas ideleness nullifies hard work. You must work diligently - every day. According to Scripture, the consequences of idleness are always disastrous:
- want (Prov. 20:4)
- poverty (Prov. 10:4, 20:13)
- hunger (Prov. 19:15)
- bondage (Prov. 12:24)
- apathy, and ruin (Prov. 24:30-34).
(Chapter 4, page 105)
If one of your excuses to not offering hospitality to others is that your home is not in a state where you feel comfortable inviting people into it, then both Tatlock and likely the FlyLady would urge you to bring your home into order. Not only will YOU feel more relaxed about having guests in, your family would probably also appreciate the peace which a clean home can bring.
There are a lot of good reasons to bring and maintain order in the home. It is not an easy project to keep the home maintained. Certainly it takes a lot of concerted thought and effort. But the end results are worth it:
"Understand that orderliness, not perfection, is your goal." (Chapter 4, page 111)
- The freedom of knowing that you are ready to have unexpected guests come calling at any point in time and you'll be ready to host them.
- Peace and a calmness in the home and in your person.
- The ability to really relax.
I don't know about you all - but the ability to relax within my own home and in the company of my guests is something worth working towards! Agreed?