It is not always about what you do but how you do it.
When I was first married 22 years ago, we lived in a 900 square foot apartment in a suburb of Chicago. I had started teaching piano lessons, with only 2 students but I did it with all my heart. I wanted them to feel important so on a Sunday afternoon I decided to host a recital in our humble little home thinking their families and a few friends might show up.
We all went to church together and so our circle of friends were all linked together as well. I had prepared for maybe 10-15 people thinking there is no way we would exceed that number. I had moved our couch and coffee table (the only furniture in our living room) to the bedroom to make more space for the guests. The bedroom was so small we had to literally put the couch on top of the bed.
I had made a few batches of cookies and a small thing of punch to celebrate. We couldn’t put the goodies out until after the recital because I needed the space for our guests to stand during our 3 song recital. As guests arrived I was so thrilled but my excitement slowly turned to panic as more and more people entered our tiny little space. Suddenly I found myself facing nearly 40 people in the apartment, it was standing room only, literally!!
The whole recital lasted maybe 15 minutes then I had to ask the guests to shuffle to one side while put the card table for the cookies and drinks. I prayed God would multiply my little cookie table and punch bowl that day. I had no idea if I even had enough for each guests to have 1-2 cookies each.
I had a moment where I stood in my galley kitchen looking through the opening to the living room watching guests laugh, celebrate my 2 students and just make a memory together. My heart was so thrilled even though I felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of guests (and a bit sad that I didn’t have more money to make this party more fabulous than cookies and punch) but none of that really mattered as we captured people’s hearts that day in a time of celebration.
We had made a big deal of these 2 students and created an atmosphere where everyone else wanted to do the same. I doubt any of them remember the cookies or the punch but they do remember the wonderful moment we all shared together squished like sardines supporting our dear friends in their musical adventure!
Hospitality in the traditional sense possibly makes you think of an industry that serves hotels and travelers, banquets and their guests, corporations and their events and much more but the actual definition is:
- The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. In other words: Hospitality is about people welcoming other people into their homes or other places where they work or spend their time. … The word hospitality comes from the Latin hospes, which came from the word hostis, which originally meant “to have power”.
- Hospitality is all about the art of entertaining or receiving guests.
While it’s become a 7.6 Trillion dollar industry worldwide it’s become a lost art in the home, which was one of the reason I wrote my book. We’ll spend money and time outside of our homes but we’ve forgotten how to spend time in our homes being with people we love.
The purpose of this blog, my books, the videos and everything else we dream up is to help you fall in love with being hospitable. Also, I want to teach you how showing “loving hospitality”, the kind that’s centered around people feeling loved, welcomed and valued in your home – is the best kind!
It is not always about what you do but how you do it
There can be a stigma that comes with the word hospitality. Sometimes the perception is we have to spend a lot of money, take days planning a party, decorate like the pros, and cook for hours in the kitchen to make something special for the sole purpose of making someone feel special.
Inviting someone into your home at the most core level is about how you make them feel. It is about being brave enough to just open the door and let them into your world. We all long for a level of connection and friendship but often won’t let down our walls to have it. We all want to feel like we matter, and that who we are is valuable in this world.
Your heart posture towards others can be life giving and refreshing. It’s not hard to do, and it doesn’t have to cost you lots of money. People won’t remember what meal you served them at that dinner party but they will remember how you made them feel during it.
Don’t be afraid to invite people over and treat them as your honored guests. Make them feel like they are the most important thing about the dinner party and you will be sure to leave an imprint on their heart! Shoot, you can even order a pizza, throw a blanket on the floor for in an indoor picnic and still make it memorable. Just be together. Talk, connect and build friendship – that’s the gift, it’s the main reason we open our doors and invite others in.
It really doesn’t take much skill, but it take some courage and bravery to open your home to others. The rewards of connection and friendship will be so evident that you will find yourself longing for the next get together. Be the kind of person who is willing to open your doors, there is a world of people who need you, who need connection and need what you have to give.
When someone comes over to our home, I go into listen mode, I sometimes even take notes after they leave. What do they like? What are their struggles? Where do they need encouragement? How can I make them feel important?
If we just slow down and listen often those very questions are answered in everyday conversations around the table. If they mention the next week is going to be a hard week because the anniversary of their grandma’s passing or stress at work coming up then make a little mental note and drop them a card in the mail to brighten their week or at least send a text to let them know you’re thinking of them.
I like to send a text after our guests have left our house telling them how much we enjoyed spending time with them. When we posture our hearts to love others, everything else around that is secondary.
Sure I love a good party and lots of fun decor and… well, I do really love to play around with food and presentation but at the end of the day, if my guests don’t feel welcome or loved then nothing else is worth the effort or time spent doing it.
Will you be a part of my community? A people who are willing to invite others in, to share and to grow together? Send that first text, invite or make that phone call. It starts with a simple: “Hey would you like to come have dinner at our house?” This simple question can be life changing for you and those you come into contact with. Don’t miss out on what is waiting for you!
How do you feel when others invite you into their home? I’d love to hear some of your experiences.