Me? Hospitable?

Dirty old kitchenHave you made any new friends lately? Started any new relationships? Is there room in your life or even your house to invite new people in?  I am trying to do this.  I hear the Lord telling me to be hospitable.  Romans 12:13 Share with Gods people who are in need. Practice hospitality (NIV).  The Drakes Annotated Reference Bible reads Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Hospitality is defined as friendliness and generous reception and entertainment of guest, visitor or strangers.  Basically, be open to loving and warmly receiving people, even those you don’t know. Sometimes this is very easy and other times, not so much.

Here’s my private thoughts, so don’t laugh… I love having friends over for coffee.  I love making goodies for them, warm coffee and creating a sense of, hey, drop down here for a bit and let me serve you.  But I get nervous.  I get nervous that they’ll lay their arm on a sticky part of the dining room table I just can’t seen to un-stickify (not a word but I think it works).  I wonder if my bathroom is as clean as it should be and oh gosh, is that two inches of dust on my ceiling fans?  What should I bake for them?  Should I get up early and wash my hair or can I make a second day bed-head look not so obvious? Oh goodness, imperfections are everywhere and I’m realizing that I will never present perfection to anyone.  If I were to wait for that I’d be really lonely. Perfection won’t be presented in my house and it won’t be presented in my life, but this does not allow me to turn away Biblical direction. I’m still called to be hospitable, loving and warm, and so I venture on.

Years ago, someone I had just met asked me to their house for coffee.  My oldest daughter had just entered kindergarten and I was so excited to make a new friend from her new school.  I made sure I was ready.  I got up early to shower; double-checked my appearance in the mirror  (you know the routine I’m referring to ladies). I was ready!  When I walked in her house, I was speechless: it was a total disaster.  Her dinning room table was covered with papers and spilled cheerios.  Dishes were piled high and kid stuff was everywhere.  Yet there she sat, in the back room with sweats on, hair disheveled and a smile that said, I don’t care about this mess, just come sit with me.  It’s now fifteen years later and she is still one of my dearest, closes friends.

I think there are many things that can keep us out of new relationships: having to deal with other people messes and them having to deal with ours and I don’t know which is more challenging.  But isn’t that the point of it all: finding places to be ourselves and not have to hide everything?  That is beyond exhausting for anyone.

But here’s the thing: we won’t end up BFF’s with everyone and that should not be expected.  The truth is, we’ll most likely only find a handful of relationships where we can lay it all down – here’s my mess and I know it ain’t pretty!  And those are glorious moments for the soul.

So let me leave you today with the challenge of hospitality. You don’t need a perfect house or hair-do for that, just an obedient heart. Ask the Lord to lead you and for the courage to venture out.  I am excited for the new friendships that await you.  I hope you are too.

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