Maybe you’ve been reading this blog and this series and have been wondering, “When are all the great hospitality tips going to come in?” Well today is your lucky day.
Before we wrap up this series with a more serious post about the root of our longing for home (stay tuned next week), I wanted to write a slightly more practical post, with a few tools to help you jump start your hospitality. And just in time for the Holidays!
Hospitality Jump Start:
- Don’t over complicate it. We’ve talked about this already a bit here, but hospitality doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as sharing what you have with others, or as fancy as preparing an extravagant meal with them. Growing up, my mother showed me a wonderful example of hospitality. It was always okay to ask a friend if they would like to stay for dinner, because there was always enough food and she’d always make sure there was a seat for them at the table. Best of all, she did it so naturally that all growing up I thought of it as “no big deal”. Now of course I realize that there was intentionality and planning that went into her decision to always make sure there was enough for her small army of children as well as a few more, but at the same time, though not easy, it was incredibly simple. We shared what we had, no fluff or fuss. And that will always be more than enough.
- Motivate your inner cleaning guru. If you are like me and have begun the journey towards recovering from perfectionism, it can be hard to motivate yourself to clean once you are no longer cleaning in like an angry (and very tidy) tornado. For me, a lover of beauty, it’s been helpful to think in these terms: Beauty Starts with Clean. It would be silly for me to take time arranging flowers and laying out a table runner on the table, if I first didn’t take the time to wipe off the jam from breakfast and the crumbs from last night. So when all I really want to do are the “fun” parts of making my home ready and welcoming, I remind myself that beauty starts with clean, and I start where I need to in order to make my home a place of welcome and rest for others. There are many home bloggers whom I really admire who also write about this topic. In her book, Love the Home you Have, Melissa Michaels from The Inspired Room talks about making your home “clean enough”, and how that can change from day to day or hour to hour even depending on what your home needs to be used for. She is also a big proponent of always having things “clean enough” so that you don’t feel like you need to hide under your dining room table when your next door neighbor stops by unexpectedly.
- Create a Home Motto. This is something I picked up from the fabulous Sally Clarkson. In her book Own Your Life as well as The Life Giving Home, she talks about creating a vision for your life and your home, and using words to help you set that intention before you on a daily basis. That inspiration is what led me to creating my own home motto, and I keep in my laundry nook where I see it almost every day and am reminded what I want my home and my life to reflect. It could be long or short, simple or complex. I recommend using phrases that stick with you, that you can repeat to yourself when you are in the middle of fog and have forgotten why on earth it is that you are doing what you are doing. It is SO helpful.
- Don’t let fear stop you; let love lead you. For some of you, the very mention of hospitality might be frightening. For others of you, it’s intimidating but acceptable under the “right” circumstances. I implore you all, brothers and sisters, those who belong to Christ Jesus, do not let fear stop you; let love lead you. It has been said that you can only do things out of one mindset or the other; out of love, or out of fear. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect; your imperfections make others feel welcome as they are. Don’t worry if the food doesn’t turn out as you wanted, for the loaves and fish were not too little for Jesus to use. Don’t worry if your space is small, it is the space you create for others in your heart that matters more than the size of your home. Don’t worry what people think about you/your home/your family/etc, because the only opinion that truly matters in that of your Savior King, and how he loves you! Whatever your fear is, I encourage you to name that fear in the presence of Jesus, and choose to believe instead the truth that he speaks over you. And when you feel tempted to shut down and not even try, remember this question from one of my favorite authors and podcasters Emily P. Freeman; “Am I being led by love, or pushed by fear?”
- Enjoy someone else’s hospitality. This one may seem entirely counter intuitive, but in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of caring for others, we are blessed when others pour into us as well. Let other people extend hospitality to you, and enjoy it! Don’t waste time comparing, but notice what they do well, how they serve, what they make you feel when you spend time with them. Then, decide to do likewise and be a refuge for others. If you are a doer like me, sometimes this is a hard one; there is no pride in letting someone else serve you in your neediness, and in my opinion, that is exactly why we should do it! It gives others an opportunity to serve, it blesses you as you learn to encourage another person in his or her extension of hospitality to you, and we can gain inspiration when we enjoy the kindness extended to us by someone else. Free from unjust comparison, this can be one of the biggest blessings of all.
As we look forward to the holidays and all the hospitality opportunities they bring, lets remember our Savior Jesus, and the hospitality he so generously bestowed on us when he left his home to find us. Let’s let faith move our feet, instead of fear. And know that God will always bless what we bring, and make it more than enough.
Resources & Inspiration:
1.Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room has been such a blessing to me, I especially love her book Love the Home You Have, you can find it here if you are interested in more home and hospitality inspiration! I was personally so blessed by it when I read it a couple years ago.
2.Myquillin Smith or “The Nester” as she is called in the internet world, is a one of the creators of Hope*Writers as well as the sister of one of my favorite authors Emily P. Freeman. She writes about the perfectly imperfect home and calls herself and “imperfectionist” and goes by the motto, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” Defintiely a motto I have chosen to embrace for myself! You can find her online at The Nester, or check our her awesome book The Nesting Place here.
3.If you are an aspiring minimalist Mama, I have learned a ton from fellow Blogger Allie Casazza. And not only does she blog, but she also offers all kinds of courses you can take as well as some free tools etc.
4.Emily P. Freeman, my favorite writer and Hope*Writer co-creator, recently started a podcast called The Next Right Thing. Two weekends ago I had the priviledge of meeting her in Charlotte NC, and I got a chance to tell her how her podcast has literally brought me to tears, every. single. time. It’s been such a blessing to me as I figure out next steps in a season of change, and I’m sure it will bless you and you go forward in your next steps towards hospitality. Click here to check it out.
5.And last but certainly not least Sally Clarkson. I imagine Sally is the kind of woman I want to grow up to be; an awesome Mom with great relationships with her children, a passionate homemaker, writer and speaker. I would love to have tea with Sally someday! She just released a book last month called The Lifegiving Table which I haven’t had the chance to read yet, but really look forward to. I personally loved her books Own Your Life, and The Lifegiving Home, the second of which she wrote in tandem with her oldest daughter Sarah. You can also find her online at SallyClarkson.com.