Perfect people kind of freak me out a little. They sometimes make me nervous. I guess because I get this “less than” feeling. Do you know it? That feeling? We probably all have have a couple of people in our lives like that. Perfect clothes, perfect hair, the body of a twenty year old, sweet car, beautiful house, you get it. Or, the other kind of perfect, which also makes me nervous. The people that you think probably never get angry, have never yelled at their children or honked their horn in traffic. The ones a that are perfect Christians and would never talk negatively or hurt a soul. They would not accidentally overshare or make a joke about something that’s probably not even funny, and maybe inappropriate. And they’d never have to apologize because who are they wronging anyway? Ugh.
I think a lot of us are bothered by perfect people. And, I think it’s because we know that they don’t exist. Scripture tells me that they don’t exist. It tells me that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” I know that this perfection doesn’t exist, and so it makes me uncomfortable when I see people play the “I would never” card and look down on others for their shortcomings.
Strangely, the people who are the most real to me, even if I happen to know their faults and failures, are the ones that make me want to be better. The ones that push me to be more godly, more kind, more generous, more patient, and less angry. They make me feel like we’re all in this together and when I fall they will pick me up. And, because they are real and transparent, they’ll let me do the same for them.
Do you realize that hospitality is this way? Biblical hospitality, hospitality shown in the scriptures, is not just allowing people into your home. It’s a mindset. It’s saying, “I want you here.” “You’re welcome here.” “I’m so glad to see you!” Hospitality is not entertaining. Entertaining says, “look at my beautiful table.” “Did you see the sweet fireplace?” “Don’t you love these beautiful dishes?”
Hospitality puts the emphasis on the road weary traveler. It emphasizes the people, not the things. And, sweet friends, recognizing this will help you be one step closer to having your home be the sweet, welcoming space that you desire for it to be. As we head into the holidays, let’s look into some ways that we can be more hospitable. Ways that we can shed the perfect entertaining mentality and take on an attitude of gracious hospitality.
Look around your home. Whether it’s clean or messy, you have your favorites. You probably have your favorite chair, favorite spot at the table, favorite glass, even favorite bathroom if you’re blessed to have more than one. Why? Why do we favor these things? What makes them dear to us? My favorite chair squeaks (really), my favorite mug is chipped, and the bathroom, well, let’s not speak of it. But sometimes there are just things that are comfortable and familiar. They speak to us. Sometimes I notice that when friends enter my home they too gravitate toward the same chair every time, pick the same mug out of the cupboard, and even favor the same style of plate. (we’re a big family, we have a couple of sets) When you begin to say “You matter” instead of “Look at this!” our focus shifts drastically. No one feels uncomfortable when they wrap their cold hands around my old, chipped mug and begin to tell the story of how their life feels a little like the broken spot that we can all see but are too embarrassed to address. Instead, it becomes a me, too moment. “You have a broken mug? Me, too! You feel a little broken today? Me, too! Let’s chat about that.”
Today’s challenge is simple. Look around you. Look around your home. Name the things that you love, the things that bring peace. Write them down, if you want. Determine why you love them so much. What makes them special? Memories? Stories? Familiarity? The fact that you saved every penny for it? A worn out spot on your carpet could tell the story of a tired friend who sat there every Saturday night until she worked through her anxiety. A chipped mug could tell the story of your friend’s precious child who dropped it, but you took the time to care more about the child than the mug. You get it. You understand.
Today just observe. And remember. And ponder. Decide what is important, the things and showing off; or the memories and stories behind them? Are people your number one priority? Because if not, even our family will not feel secure in our homes. Our home will not be peaceful for anyone, even ourselves.
After thinking and observing today, tell us a little about your favorites at home! I love doing this together with you!