The holidays have come and gone, and most of us are settling back into our routines. This is a new year that we started with new intentions. One of the things I challenged myself with this year is to have an OPEN DOOR POLICY. Translation: If someone is in need, my door and my table are open. No need for planning or notice, just come knock.
I am not sure what makes your top 5 priority list, but hospitality should be one of them. Here is why…
Most people are more comfortable looking at their phones than looking at each other. The art of conversation is dying, because natural pauses in conversation make us so uncomfortable.
We are losing connections with people. REAL connections, and we are trading them for social media followers.
If we don’t open our door to others, we lose the ability to listen and to refresh the people around us. People in need. I think you all are still following me on this, but here is where it gets tricky.
If hospitality is so important, why don’t more of us make it a priority?
Perfectionism & Comfort Guarding
There are countless excuses we make when faced with the task of being hospitable.
I’m too tired.
I have work in the morning.
The house is a mess.
I do not have food to serve.
My house is too small.
All of these can fit into two categories:
- My self image is more important than serving people (perfectionism).
I want my house to look Pinterest worthy before anyone else sees it!
You know what makes any house larger? An open door.
The more people you invite in, the larger your house and heart become.
- My own comforts and time are more important than serving people (comfort guarding).
I am just really not in the mood to be social, can this wait?
DISCLAIMER: Rest and family time are IMPORTANT. I am in no way saying that you should never prioritize those.
If you’re anything like me, however, a self check may be over due. I didn’t realize how self-centric I had crafted our home to be until I challenged myself to the open door policy.
The Self-Centric Dragon
If left to my own devices, I am selfish. I like planning ahead, advanced notice, and the time to hide how messy our lives really are. I realized that none of these preferences have biblical roots, rather they echo the cultural glorification of perfectionism. Furthermore, hospitality is not a mere suggestion in the Bible, it is a command.
Hebrews 13:2 2Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
1 Peter 4:9 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
How to Kill Dragons
- Focus on the WHY of hospitality
Is my goal to impress others, or to love others?
Do I prefer to relieve someone’s stressors, or vocalize my own woes?
What level of connection do you seek with other people and WHY?
- Strive to be Counter-Culture
Be that haven of rest for others. Invite people to slow down, and to just be. Encourage a disconnect with busyness (i.e. put down your phones) and cultivate a time of refreshment. The world may celebrate over-working ourselves, but we don’t have to.
Hospitality is easier when we change our habits. Here are some that I have done to help make our house a haven!
- Double a recipe once or twice a week, and start stocking your freezer with meals. Then you will always have a home cooked meal on hand for last minute guests. Do the same with cookies! There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked cookies to warm a weary heart.
- Keep a few allergy friendly items on hand whenever possible. There are so many different dietary needs these days, it helps to have some BASIC foods to offer as alternatives. For example, leave cheese out of a meal because that’s super easy to throw on top if your guests are not lactose intolerant.
- Let go of STUFF. It really is simple: The less stuff you have, the faster you can tidy up. We just did a cross-country move so we got rid of A LOT of stuff, and it has been so freeing. We can tidy our entire place in under 5 minutes, and that’s with two toddlers!
- Involve the entire family in serving others! It never hurts to teach our children that the world does not revolve around them. Let even the tiniest hands help serve and love others.
- Remember, be open and flexible. The most needed hospitality is often the most unplanned. Look for the neighbor whose head is hanging low. Push past the “I’m fine” text and ask how you can serve someone. Refuse to be okay with just saying “I am praying for you.”
Is it always easy or convenient? No.
Yet, caring for others should be more important than convenience.
Hospitality paves the way for actually loving our neighbors as ourselves, and for living in community.
I hope you’ll join me in the Open Door Challenge, and experience the blessing that comes with blessing others.
Feel free to share your own hospitality stories!
For more about our 2019 intentions, click the link below: