Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Heart of Hospitality

I’ve always had a heart for hospitality; I *love* hosting people and making my home available to them as a place of comfort, rest and enjoyment. One of the greatest compliments I’ve received since getting married and setting up our home was “it’s so comfortable here”. I love that my brothers-in-law fall asleep on our couch, that my best friend didn’t think twice to text me last minute to come up and crash at our place for the weekend, that we’re the ‘half-way’ point that my father’s family thinks of on their way down further south. I think hospitality is a blessing not only to those who have a place to stay but also for my husband and me as we host. We get a chance to be close to people and to open up our hearts as well as our home.

There is a counter point to all of this though… I’m a perfectionist, type A person. I also worry too much about what people think of me, I want to look like I have it all put together, everything in order, like I have a cleaning routine and don’t have to rush around madly to do the things I’ve been meaning to for 3 weeks (which is exactly what our apartment looked like last night while I did that very thing). *sigh* I’m pretty sure that my friends who told me that they feel comfortable in our apartment felt that way not just because the coffee table was dusted or the carpet vacuumed. People feel comfortable when it’s not just the home that is opened, but the hearts of those who live there. We don’t have a Pottery Barn ad living room (or any room for that matter). Our cat will probably leave fur everywhere as soon as I finish vacuuming and we have random barriers up around our TV to prevent said cat from destroying every cord in sight.

As much as I would love to have the perfect, Norman Rockwell welcome for my family that is coming to visit tomorrow night; with a hot, delicious (and perfectly presented) dinner, candles lit and scenting the air, no clutter and freshly vacuumed floors waiting them as soon as they walk in the door… that’s not truly what hospitality is about. And even if dinner is late, early, or burned, even if I don’t get to vacuuming the floors, or cleaning up kitty’s toys underfoot; the most important thing is just to love on them, to cover them in prayer as they travel, to share whatever God has given us.

So as I prepare to enjoy the company of my family, I seek most of all to prepare my heart. I will labor at covering them, us and our home in prayer first and foremost. And as I straighten and clean, I ache to be aware of the attitude, the heart that I am filling my home with, one of peace and rest, not anxiety and worry.

Today I’m meditating on 1 Corinthians 13, will you join me?


  1. Thanks for your beautiful prayer on (in)courage! And I loved this post. Decorating makes me hyperventilate so it's reassuring to hear that home is more about comfort than perfection. Well said, girl. (:
    Holley - (in)courage

  2. I can so relate to this post. I love to open up my home, and I struggle with wanting everything "just right".

    But I have a friend who lives where I used to live who has been such an inspiration to me in this area. People loved going to their house. But it was rarely every perfectly clean; sometimes there would be missed cobweb or the bathroom would actually be not all that clean, or there would be dirty dishes in the sink. But we all loved going there because we would be welcomed, we would be blessed with food and friendship and accepted just as we were.

    That's how I want to be.