I love to open my home to others. I always have enjoyed the idea of hospitality, but I haven’t always known how to practice it with grace.

I have gone through many awkward seasons of hospitality! I remember so well the years where entertaining was quite stressfultrying to prepare a delicious and memorable meal, create the perfect ambience, clean a spic and span party-ready house, organize all the closets (because you never know when someone might unexpectedly look in your closet), and of course, wanting to show off well-behaved children.

However, my expectations of juggling perfection set me up for failure. I was too self-conscious to invite people over when my house was looking ‘lived in.’ I made excuses for the effort it would require to extend an invitation to a neighbor. I apologized to guests for overcooked vegetables and crunchy rice or for an imperfectly decorated room. I was mortified as my child threw a tantrum at people’s feet under the dinner table. I failed countless times to have the laundry done and my party dress on before the first guest rang the doorbell.

I wanted to be gracious and witty and welcoming and instead I felt awkward and self-conscious. I failed at my own expectations for gracious hospitality. Yet through every excuse, failure and mistake, God was gently whispering over my shoulder, quietly asking me to consider what hospitality means to Him:

Oh my dear one, it isn’t about the food. It isn’t about your perfectly clean home or your clever conversation skills. It isn’t about your furniture placement or the clothes you wish you had to wear. There is nothing wrong with enjoying any of those things or wanting to create a wonderful experience for your guests, I understand that — but are these details the things that matter most to me?

Gulp.

He just wants me to be there, to open the door and greet people with open arms. He wants me to practice hospitality as an opportunity to share His love. Oh how humbling it has been to learn to see my actions and attitudes from God’s perspective. Many days I stumble and fail, I miss opportunities and shine bright glaring lights on things that should not matter. I’m a slow learner. Thank goodness He is patient.

I’m growing in my understanding and practice of what hospitality means to God. I’m an imperfect hostess, but I am actually learning to enjoy my imperfection! Embracing imperfection means I open my home more often, I am free to simplify my style of hospitality rather than complicate it, and I can focus more on the hearts and souls that walk though my door.

Find this post and many others in  DaySpring’s Fall Magalog!

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I love the featured products this month! The pretty place mats, apron, table runner and tea towels are all on sale at amazing deals so be sure to check them out here!

The wooden caddy is a MUST HAVE around my house for entertaining! And the pedestal is one of my favorite items, it is versatile for all seasons of entertaining and you’ll be amazed at how substantial it is in weight and height! You won’t regret getting either of these items, and with a 50% off coupon code, they are a great deal too!  You can find the code here.

Reviewers, be sure to link up here!

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  • http://cantelmofamily.blogspot.com Melanie

    I love the wooden caddy!

    • http://www.theinspiredroom.net Melissa Michaels

      Me too, it is sitting out all year round at my house!!! LOVE IT!

  • http://ladybugkisses.wordpress.com Risé Brown

    Melissa ~

    I loved this post … I have been there too, where I thought I’d have to have a ‘perfect’ home in order to entertain … but it never worked out. Being a hostess was hard for me at first – but like anything, to ‘perfect’ something takes work.

    I have finally learned that those who really love you, don’t look for perfection – I think that having a happy home with love and laughter is what is going to make folk feel more comfortable than a floor you can eat off of (so to speak.)

    I love having people over … I just don’t do it enough. I should really do it more than I do!

    • http://www.theinspiredroom.net Melissa Michaels

      Yes, absolutely, love and laughter are the keys!!! :-)

  • http://www.wordsfromgodfortoday.blogspot.com Angie

    Don’t we all struggle with this, however laid back we think we are? A great reminder to keep on being open, being real, and becoming more humble than we pride ourselves on being…

  • Michele

    Melissa,
    I always enjoy your honesty. I’ve found myself in those situations more times than not. Not how I want to be. The older I get, the better I have gotten at “letting go” and not worrying if the whole house is vacuumed or if the closets are cleaned out. :o) I’m trying to be a better example to my girls that it is all about the relationships and memories being made and not so much about having all of my “ducks in a row”. :o)

  • http://TheElizabethW.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    Hospitality flows out of my heart, but I struggle with the same sorts of things you struggle with. I’ve been trying to blog now and again on the topic. http://theelizabethw.blogspot.com/2011/10/bring-them-home.html is my most recent post.

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  • Katy

    An excellent reminder of what truly matters–thank you!

  • http://theintentionalhome.blogspot.com Su@TheIntentionalHome

    I was looking for the 50% off code so I could order the pedestal. The link above does not seem to work.

    • http://incourage.me (in)courage

      Hi Su, the coupon code for 50% off the pedestal and caddy is table50. After you add these items to your cart, just enter this code at checkout and it will give you the discount. Let us know if this doesn’t work for you!

  • Anne

    As a new wife, I’ve already encountered a similar battles of feeling self-conscious of our small apartment and the mess that seems to multiply in small spaces. Thanks for the encouragement to break those thoughts now!

    I’ve been browsing the DaySpring products online, and they seem lovely! I was also trying to find the 50% off code, but I must be having the same issues as Su@TheIntentionalHome, as it didn’t work for me either.

  • http://wvgurl.wordpress.com Aimee

    I can’t find the code, either. I click the link, and it takes me back to the original post, which I LOVE. Thank you!

    • http://incourage.me (in)courage

      Hi Aimee, the coupon code is located at the top corner of the (in)spired deals page: http://www.incourage.me/category/deals
      Sorry for the confusion!

      • http://wvgurl.wordpress.com Aimee

        Oh duh! Thanks for pointing it out!

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  • http://thisgraciouslife.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    I can’t seem to find where to link up my review. Here it is:

    http://thisgraciouslife.blogspot.com/2011/11/product-review-and-giveaway.html

  • http://www.mrsvsplace.blogspot.com Donna Vandygriff

    I cannot get my review to link up with Linky. I have tried for 2 days. Sorry. Here is the link:
    http://mrsvsplace.blogspot.com/2011/11/hospitality-what-matters.html
    I sure appreciate getting a chance to review your products and LOVE your cards! I buy them at LifeWay every visit for special occasions.
    Blessings,
    Donna Vandygriff

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