Toys scattered across the living room floor. Dishes from breakfast piled up in the sink until you have a few minutes to empty the dishwasher and load it up again. Piles of clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away. If you're like most people I know, these are constants in your home. They are in mine. Occasionally I have a super productive day and get caught up on all the housework, just in time for the piles to begin again.
For too long I've let that clutter keep me from welcoming people into my home. I've stressed about rushing to put everything away or make every surface sparkle before I could enjoy a friend stopping by for coffee or dinner. That's not a welcoming heart though. If I can only be comfortable with expected, planned company coming over to see my "perfect home" then I've fallen into a trap of disguised vanity known as being the "perfect hostess."
What about you? Are your clutter and laundry piles a distraction for your welcoming heart?
But here's the funny thing. When I go over to a good friend's home and I see her kitchen sink piled up with dishes, I have never once been insulted or shocked they weren't put away before inviting me in. My reaction is one of relief... She has dirty dishes too and she's an amazing friend, mother, wife. So why do I allow myself to become so sensitive to such a silly thing when I know what a relief it is to see that piles and dishes are a part of a happy home? Hospitality is making sure someone feels better about themselves when they leave your presence, not feeling better about you.
My dear friend Jenny gave me this print for a Christmas present this past year and I have it prominently displayed in my living room now. I want it to be one of the first things I see as I stumble through to get my cup of coffee in the mornings. My one little word for 2015 is "hospitality." By hospitality I don't mean the hostess that throws parties for every occasion (though I do love throwing a good party). I mean having that welcoming heart that is always willing and ready to invite a friend in for coffee and conversation or to offer a place to sleep. Regardless of the dishes, toys, and laundry, I long for my heart to be one that is always welcoming people into my home and life. I want to focus this year on those I will encounter while doing my "to dos" and not on the "to dos." I want to get to know the waitress at the restaurant we frequent most. I want to be fully present in my relationships and conversations with a goal of making those in my life leave every conversation feeling loved and better about themselves. And sometimes that means by letting them see all my imperfections, my dirty dishes and piles of laundry. Hospitality isn't about me, my life, my house... It's about a chance to invite someone in just for the chance to love on them and get to know them. It's about just saying "You are always welcome here."