As far as hospitality goes, I have two things working against me: I am unintentionally single as well as an incurable introvert.
Both are excellent excuses for avoiding hospitality.
But that’s exactly what they are: excuses.
I’m the last person who should be writing this post. Though I love to have people over, I rarely do it. Social engagements are something that I struggle with. I don’t like going in to anything alone, but that’s what I need to force myself to do. While I’m a fan of more intimate gatherings, I let my busyness and my fear of man (not wanting to be turned down or thought “weird”) stop me from doing them more often. Not to mention my selfish desires for my time to be my own time.
I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been given to be hospitable, whether hosting someone in my home or organizing a breakfast for others. But I need to be better at reaching out for opportunities to serve, sharing the love of Christ.
Here’s advice that I’ve been given or discovered and have found helpful/challenging:
Take the initiative. If you’re like me, you haven’t been offered too many invitations to come over and enjoy a family meal. Don’t wait for someone to invite you…invite them.
Be creative. Perhaps you’re limited in space or by those you live with, but be welcoming nonetheless. Pay attention to the needs of those around you: Is there someone new at church that could use a new friend? Is there a couple in desperate need of a night away from their young children? Is there a family going through a trying time that could use a meal? Is there a neighbor who needs to be shown the love of Christ, such as having their windows deiced in the morning or a plate of muffins delivered to their door?
Treat wherever you live now as your home. Of course our true home is in heaven, but treat wherever you live now—however temporary—as a home and not just a place to lay your head down at night once you shove your discarded wardrobe and books off your bed. Keep it organized. Find inexpensive ways to make it look nice. This will be a blessing to yourself and your family/roommates as well as make you feel more comfortable hosting guests.
Don’t apologize for a meal/dishes/furniture that aren’t up to some cultural standard. Don’t be restricted by what you see in a homemaking magazine. Hospitality doesn’t require hundreds of dollars of investment. Sure, save up to buy a complete dish set that would complement your décor, but don’t wait until you have it to invite anyone over. Be a good steward of what you have, but don’t feel bad if your couch has some warn spots, your apartment carpet shows evidence of previous occupants, or if your best dishes don’t match. And as for the cooking, try out a new recipe ahead of time to work out the kinks. No need to be gourmet…I always have felt more at home with more down-to-earth menu options.
Just do it. Stop making excuses. Make one hospitality goal this week, and carve out some time in your schedule to do it. Plan ahead to next week…is there someone you can invite over?
I hope you’ll join me in seeking to be a better servant of God by serving others. Carolyn McCulley has this excellent reminder for us:
“Ladies, may we never fear odd numbers around our tables, for our Lord is always with us.” Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?, p. 115