I was running around feeling frazzled just moments before opening my door. Dogs were barking and my family was frantically trying to get dressed and out the door. The kitchen still felt disheveled from breakfast. Dirty socks were magically appearing on the floor. Sigh. Hosting this lunch seemed like a grand idea the week before when I had invited ladies over.
When I extended the invitation, I really wanted the experience to be a blessing to these ladies. I thought through the details of how I wanted to prepare my house so it would feel welcoming and to create a space where guests would feel comfortable.
I love creating an atmosphere for connection. It really is my love language.
But once the day arrived, I let wayward socks get in the way of my true intentions. I’m not proud of my perspective, but I’m pretty sure these words came out of my mouth (speaking loudly and firmly to no one in particular):
How can I possibly entertain when there are smelly stinky socks all over the floor?
As soon as I uttered that ridiculous question, I knew I’d forgotten why I was gathering women together in the first place. Rather than focusing those last few moments on how I wanted to bless these ladies and make them feel welcome, I found myself rattling off all the reasons I should never have volunteered in the first place.
Fortunately for all involved, I pulled my attitude together. I even successfully snatched the socks off the floor and tossed them down the laundry chute just before I opened the door. But you know what? While there are often things that don’t come together as beautifully as I want them to (such as that time when I discovered a pair of undies attached by static cling to the back of a towel in the guest bathroom), I still hope my guests feel cared about.
I clearly don’t have it all together as a hostess, but I am convinced that not being perfectly prepared or equipped is exactly what brings people to together in an authentic way. Genuine hospitality is about caring for other people.
Do you ever feel like you probably aren’t qualified enough to be a hostess? Do you rattle off your long list of shortcomings that discourage you from opening your home? Perhaps you worry about the state of your house before the invitations even go out. Maybe you’re not confident with cooking or cleaning or conversing. Maybe perfectionism or a list of imperfections frustrates you or prevents you from opening your door at all.
Oh, friends, I have felt all of those insecurities at one time or another, and often at the same time. You might not always believe what you can offer is enough, but God has given YOU gifts that will be a blessing to someone else. We all have areas where we might be more confident and others where we could use a little grace or creativity to pull it all together.
Even though our imperfections can bring people together, your God-given gifts are also an opportunity to really bless others. If you find joy in cooking, invite people to enjoy an amazing dinner. Give God the glory for what He’s provided. If you enjoy setting a festive mood, don’t hold back from delighting in every detail. God is a creative God and YOU are His daughter. He gives His best gifts, and we can use hospitality as a divine opportunity to His love shine.
What are your strengths and limitations when it comes to hospitality? How could you creatively use your gifts to be a blessing to someone else?
By Melissa Michaels, author of the upcoming book, Simple Gatherings (Click to get your pre-order gifts!) Releasing October 3rd from Harvest House.