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Monday, May 16, 2011

.Hospitality is {not} a Dirty Word Part 2.



The door bell would ring, and I would grimace as I mentally went through my calendar and schedule for the day. I would peek out the window and grumble.

Why is so and so here? I did not invite her over. Doesn’t she realize I have things to do?

This was my mindset for so long. I would begrudgingly open the door with a {fake} smile on my face praying that whomever had come to interrupt my day would leave soon.

Or sometimes I would invite someone over and then spend the hours prior to their visit scurrying around my home screaming at anyone or anything that got in my way – trying my best to make everything appear perfect and in control while feeling frazzled and very much out of control the whole time. As soon as the doorbell would ring I would plaster on my plastic smile, pull my perfect looking, but now wounded due to my crazed actions, family to my side, and act as though, why yes my home is always this sparkling and why no it is no inconvenience at all to host you. I had become quite good at being plastic.

Or how about the times when an entire family would come over and their children would run unruly around our home and mess up what I had just spent so long on staging? I would surely grumble in my heart then. Or the guests that do not take off their shoes and track mud onto my freshly vacuumed carpet? Oh how my heart grumbled in protest at the sight of that mud.

And then there was the clean up after the guests left. The mountains of dirty dishes. The crumbs on top of the once freshly swept and mopped floor. Oh how the grumbles would spew from my heart.

I was very good at masking these grumbles for my guests, but my family knew my heart. What was I teaching my children about hospitality? I was teaching them exactly what it was not. I was teaching them that it was a performance, an inconvenience, a show. Even more important than my precious family seeing through my charade – God saw through it.

My heart has been pricked by the words in I Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

That verse was in exact contradiction to how I was showing hospitality.

I slowly realized that this was an issue of pride and of a false sense of control. All that I have is God’s – my time, my home, my possessions. When I see it in that light I tend to loosen my grip on the perfect image I am trying to portray and find my identity in Christ. I find it easier to open my doors, easier to relax my expectations, and as the grumbling ceases my heart is filled with joy. Ultimately hospitality is not about me -it’s about giving God the glory through serving and loving others.

[This is reposted from an article I wrote for Raising Homemakers. God continues to need to refine me in this area, but I am thankful for his grace which has allowed my growth. To read part 1 click here.]



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