10 steps to courageous hospitality

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by Sandy

Sandy Coughlin is an author, blogger, wife, and mom to three children. She lives in Oregon and loves to develop recipes, cook, and host dinner parties. Read more at Reluctant Entertainer.

Sometimes hospitality requires more courage than we think we possess. Maybe you could raise your hand and say, “Yes, I could use a dose of more courage.”

I’ve often shied away from courage, because I knew that it could be disruptive to my life; that it would knock me out of my safety zone. To be honest, I really like comfort.

5 signs you’re in a “safety zone”:

1. You haven’t had people in your home for at least six months.
2. You worry too much about the appearance of your house.
3. You haven’t forged a new friendship in a year.
4. You’ve become obsessed with your family’s problems.
5. You haven’t tried a new recipe in months; your cooking is in a rut.

Sometimes we love safety so much that it stifles us. And when we’re stifled, we don’t grow beyond a certain point, which means we miss out on many of life’s blessings. Hospitality is one of those life blessings.

I’ve learned more about courage as I matured and started emulating courageous people I admired. I realized some unhealthy patterns that weren’t working in my life, and that I had some unhealthy relationships that always fostered negative conversations. I learned to be more courageous by pushing past my fears.

One of my acts of courage was to start my blog, Reluctant Entertainer, almost five years ago, and to become real and authentic with readers about my entertaining philosophy.

Gaining more courage helps you to love more. In my book, The Reluctant Entertainer, I provide ten key points for helping others to open up and share their lives with others:

10 steps to courageous hospitality

1. Know that you are valuable and important to God, and made in His image.
2. Know that you are unique and that people want to know you more.
3. Focus your will onto something meaningful (relationships!).
4. Lean into your fears; learn that things do not have to be perfect.
5. Learn that people usually don’t care about the things that bother you.
6. Learn to take a small hill. Start small and invite people into your life.
7. Make soul-friends, friends who get what you are all about.
8. Love the unlovely. Does it really matter what your house looks like?
9. Combat materialism. You don’t need the newest or the best.
10. Fight cynicism, which can drain us of hope, creativity, and energy — all building blocks for courage.

Gaining courage will help you put fears, worries, and imperfections aside, and you’ll be able to love more deeply.

I’ve learned that courage doesn’t just come to you. It takes effort and willingness, and it often puts you at risk. A few weeks ago when we had a brand new couple into our home, we took the risk that they’d want to get to know us, to come into our home, and share an evening with us.

We knew we were interested in pursuing a friendship with them, but you just never know what another person’s reaction will be. We’re so glad they said yes. Our lives are richer now that we’ve connected with these people. They actually ended up providing encouragement to us in ways we never dreamed.

When is the last time you took a risk and invited someone new into your home?

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Comments

  1. What a great post! It is so easy to get so heavily involved in your own life + problems that you forget to actually live… and other people are a huge part of living :)

    • I love that … you forget to live. We live in a society where we forget to live because of so many reasons! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this post! As I get older (and wiser?) I am learning that the only things that really add meaning and bring joy to my life are the relationships I have with people – family and friends, old and new. Even though I have a fairly introverted personality and am quite happy on my own, I have a very real need for connections which are real and supportive – and what I’ve discovered is that it all starts with me being ‘real and supportive’ to the people in my life. I can’t sit back and wait for invitations – it’s up to me to create those connections.
    Thanks for this wonderful reminder about what is important.

    • Kathleen, I’m getting older and wiser, too. I know what you mean. If you have time, I’d love for you to share more with me about how your “personality” has affected your hospitality. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for the wisdom.. I’m struggling with practicing hospitality because I’m so concerned about our limited space, but I’m working on it!

  4. Oh yes, I think I needed this one today. I really need a little more courage!

  5. This is fantastic!
    I had a near sobbing melt-down about five years ago when my husband attempted to invite some of friends over, on a “laundry day” (clothes were everywhere!). It was so horrifying to both of us, he dropped the phone and I sat down, bewildered and upset. Since then, I’ve had to bravely push past the image of myself as having the perfect home, and I’ve carefully invited, over time, a few “safe friends” over, and I likely still have a way to go… but I agree with this article. Since then, I’ve connected with people who “aren’t perfect” but you know what? They inspire me to keep on, keeping on. Know Him and you’ll win. God bless you for sharing!

  6. I love entertaining but seldom invite ‘potential’ friends over. I connected so much with your comment about taking a risk they would want to get to know me! Hadn’t thought of it in that way before. Hmm.
    BTW: I LOVE, LOVE PlantoEat.com (they’re one of your sponsors.) they have changed my entire life surrounding planning to eat – from recipe management to meal plasning to shopping lists!!! I’m a great shopper and this has helped me! I highly recommend looking at their free trial.

  7. avatar
    Anonymous says:

    Great post. But what do you do when you lose your job and 2/3 of your income? When you lose one of your two cars, and the one that’s left is 14 years old and has over 160K miles? When you lose your medical insurance and your kid’s mouth hurts everyday, because you can’t afford orthodontia? When you can barely feed your own family? How do you, truthfully, do all of those great things that you’ve mentioned above? I don’t ask it in a mean tone; I am out of answers, and I really just want to know.

    • these are all good questions. a few years ago i wrote a simple post about some advice my mom gave me once. i’ve used it quite a lot over the last few years… at the time of writing this post, my husband had lost his job and things were downright scary. here’s the link. http://simple-green-frugal-co-op.blogspot.com/2008/11/simple-entertaining.html

      also, sometimes just opening your home up is the best thing to offer… as far as food or entertainment? call it a “potluck, bring your favorite board game night”

      in lean times, creativity is everything. coming together is sometimes the most hopeful thing we can do.

    • I’m so sorry for your losses. I, too, lost my job after 27 years. That is what forced me to “delegate” more and now when folks come over, I seem to only make a couple of dishes and they bring the rest. Once I realized I did not have to do it all, it freed me up to just open my home. Thank goodness our friends don’t cost money. I’ve also said for years on my blog that I believe there are “seasons in life” when it’s easier to open up our homes. My husband and I lost 3 parents in a few years – we did very little entertaining because they were painful years. Again, I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Oops, I think I posted my “reply” under Heather’s below. xo

    • Not long ago, my spouse made poor life choices and decisions that resulted in the loss of his job, our health insurance, 70% of family income. It was devastating and certainly not a season for “entertaining.” However, during this painful time I needed relationships with others more than ever before, my children needed fun, relaxing and joyful times instead of the chaos that I felt within.

      We met friends at the park, we accepted volunteer babysitting (which revealed the limitations of our home and fridge), we did much outdoors with families in the neighborhood. For me, it was crucial to remain engaged when I often just wanted to cloister myself in the closet. By entering life with others and letting them see the brokenness, some of our physical needs were met as they became the arms of Christ. Our community bonds were strengthened as we allowed ourselves to be open and real with others…even when all I had to serve was sweet tea.

      I’m so sorry for the losses you’re facing. I know this is not an easy time.

  8. this is so great. i am a total homebody. i love to be at home with my family. that’s comfortable. my husband and daughter are total social butterflies. they love people. want to be with people anytime anywhere. so several weeks ago i initiated “friendly fridays” in our home. we invite some couple, family, single over for dessert and coffee and conversation. so far it has been a huge encouragement to me and my family! it’s a great way to step out of my comfort zone and live out the love of jesus that i so often talk about!!!

    thanks for this post!

  9. avatar
    dvance says:

    Dear Anonymous, I want you to know (and totally free of cliche’) that you will be in my prayers. This is a time where I can both empathize and encourage. My husband lost his job in Nov. ’10 and we have 5 children. He is still unemployed after 70+ resumes. Our oldest is almost 20 and in college. The youngest is 6 and in kindergarden. I work part time, we lost our insurance coverage, and we lost the company car. My sons truck blew the engine, our tiles in our shower fell off, our tub started leaking, and the van brakes have gone out on us. There went the extra cash plus some. We HAVE to laugh!!! Scripture says to “comfort those with the comfort from which we have been comforted”. In other words, lean on Christ and His sufficiency and then share His goodness , blessings, and provisions with others. You might be surprised how many people enjoy a sweet spirit and encouragement FROM YOU over a pbj and milk or hotdog with a Kraft mac and cheese side dish. <3 Focus on someone else today. . . . .

  10. We often invite new people into our home and even have found safe ways to host strangers over night. We love making new relationships and meeting people so this comes fairly naturally to us.. now. In the beginning I had to get over my expectations for a perfect “something or other”.

    We have a far from perfect house, it will be messy with daily living when guests arrive, the meal may honestly be so-so (I cook vegan and that is not everyone’s cup o tea) but that’s not what hospitality is about. It’s about sharing your heart and your very life with someone. It’s not a show.

    We have risked a lot over the years to invite people including strangers into our home but the rewards have been worth it.

    I’ve written about one such experience a couple years ago inviting thru hikers to share our home for a couple nights.
    http://fimby.tougas.net/hosting_AT_Thru_Hikers

    I wish making soul friends was as easy as a point on a checklist. Our family has found this difficult over the years to do, in spite of our heart and practice of hospitality.

    • Thank you for sharing a picture of beautiful hospitality. I’d love to explore the “soul friends” more, if you want to email me. It’s an interesting subject and one that I hear a lot from others on. Hosting strangers is not easy … :)

  11. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you for the great post! I grew up in a house where my parents hosted most holiday events for our family, but never really fostered outside friendships. Being a social person, it has always been very important to me to socialize with a variety of people with a multitude of interests. I share different parts of myself with different people, which allows me to express the many facets of my personality. I host at least 2 large parties a year and a LOT of small gatherings with just a couple of people. I am by no means a clean person and I often find myself rushing around to clean the house before guests come over. After having my family over 2 months ago, I told my mother how stressed I got cleaning the house. She told me that it REALLY didn’t matter, just that she was happy we were able to spend time together. I’ve really taken that to heart and while I will be cleaning this week in preparation of a large party on Saturday, I’m going to try to keep everything in perspective.
    On the topic of financing parties, my philosophy is that if a goal of yours is to socialize then you make it a priority. I always stock up on dry goods and alcohol for months beforehand. Spending $300 on alcohol at the last minute could ruin anyone’s budget! I make a menu ahead of time and follow the sales to maximize my budget. I also take into account that this month’s grocery budget will be about double what it is in a normal month and have saved and planned accordingly. While I don’t have a definite budget (which I should!), I know how much I usually spend each party. While I would love to have parties every month, I know this does not fit into our budget, hence the 2 or 3 parties a year.
    However, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars entertaining. I’ve hosted a multitude of girls’ nights. We watch movies, drink alcohol from my stock, and munch on a bag or 2 of chips that I got on sale. My girlfriend and her boyfriend come over for dinner often, so I just add 2 more portions to whatever I was planning to cook. Several times a month I have a bunch of guys over for a game night and I always serve economical meals: chili, soup, baked ziti, etc. I add a couple of loaves of garlic bread and everyone’s happy. You could also do a tea party with cookies and cupcakes. You could have 6 friends over for a lovely afternoon and not feel the stress of having to provide a full-blown meal. Pot lucks are also excellent economical choices.
    Just remember that hosting is about showing your friends how much you love them. It’s not about what you serve them or how pretty your house looks. It’s about taking the time to foster those relationships that are meaningful to you.
    Now I’m off to finish finalizing all the last-minute plans for my big Cinco de Mayo party for this weekend. :)

    • Wow, Jennifer, there are lots of good nuggets in this comment. LOL Thank you for sharing. As far as the “cleaning the house” I recommend if you have the time to do a quick sweep and pick up, and make sure one bathroom is clean. How many times have I cleaned to perfection, and then when everyone leaves it looks worse than before I had started cleaning? It’s just too over-the-top how we Americans struggle with perfectionism. I love your simple tips and encouragement here … and happy Cinco Night!

      • avatar
        Jennifer says:

        We had our Cinco de Mayo party and I wanted to share some lessons I learned:
        1. Having a small get-together the weekend before a large party forces you to clean the house early. This really helped us!
        2. Don’t stress. The house was not perfect, but it was perfectly presentable. In the middle of the morning prep, my husband’s back started hurting. In the past, this would have made me very stressed and I probably would have encouraged him to take some pain medication and keep moving. In fact, this is exactly what my husband tried to do. Instead, I made him relax for 30 minutes. The fact that I reacted in a calm manner helped him feel calmer, hence relaxing his muscles. That 30 minute break didn’t fix everything, but it helped minimize his pain.
        3. I ended up not making the huge meal and all the desserts I had planned. The party started at 7pm but I felt that I still needed to offer a full meal. In the end, I didn’t have time to make the casseroles and desserts ahead of time. I don’t think anyone missed it, which I will certainly remember for the next party.
        4. I was much smarter about my menu this time. The theme was a salsa tasting, so I offered 30 salsas! I made 15 of them, which sounds like a lot, but it only took 3 or 4 hours. Because salsas need 24 hours to marinade and blend flavors, I made them all the day before. This allowed me to spend more of the morning prep cleaning and doing last minute things. I did not feel rushed. I even got to relax and not rush through doing my hair and makeup. :)
        5. You really can’t ever invite too many people! We had over 20 people crammed into our 500 square foot first floor. You’d think it was crammed, but you know what? People like to stand around and chat. I didn’t have enough chairs for everyone, but no one minded. It affords people the opportunity to mingle and move from conversation to conversation. In fact, I really love this setup!

  12. avatar
    Anna K says:

    I hate, hate, hate having people over! I’m very introverted and don’t like for anyone else to invade my “space.” My husband, on the other hand, is very social and is always inviting people to stay with us. I feel like we have a regular B&B, with guests staying with us at least one weekend a month, usually more. My husband loves staying up and socializing while I just want to go to bed at 9:00. Company drains me to no end!

    I’m not a “natural” at hospitality (it’s definitely not one of my spiritual gifts), but I’ve at least gotten to a point where having people over feels somewhat “normal” (kind of like no sleep eventually feels “normal” for a new mom).

    Many of your steps relate to things I don’t really struggle with (perfectionism, materialism, etc.), at least in the context of hospitality. My main thing is that I’m just very introverted and work full-time (in addition to being a mommy), and sometimes I would just rather rest than entertain.

  13. We have people in our home routinely around here. If you count teens and young adults…it is pretty much constant. But, recently I was outside one Saturday early evening and started talking to our next door neighbor. Her husband passed away about four years ago. We spoke for an hour or more. She talked with me about her ongoing struggles with loneliness. I came inside and thought I need to invite her to dinner. So, I sent my little one back over with a written invite. Thinking she will decline… it’s late, she probably already has something in the oven. Next thing I knew here she comes through the door with my dd. I threw some, very unsophisticated, fajitas together. Added some grapes and packaged store bought cookies she brought and wallah!…dinner. She was so grateful that we had invited her. We had a wonderful evening. It was just a great reminder that we have people right in our own backyards (literally) that are hurting, lonely, needing contact. IMO nothing brings connection faster than sitting around a dinner table sharing life together.

  14. Guilty of being more in the “comfort zone” than I’d like to be! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who secretly fears “hostessing” sometimes. I grew up with seemingly flawless hostesses in my family, so I think I assume there needs to be some elaborate decor and multi-course meal, when I KNOW that the most fun is just the hanging loose, laid back time with friends. Alright – I’m busted. Time to plan a get together!

    • Thanks for your honesty, Shannon. I think you’d like my “Joy Busters” section in my book. I’m so glad I’m free of being the perfect hostess (I once had an image problem with wanting to be her – LOL).

  15. This is looking like a sign. Article this morning, interview on FLT last night, must be something I need to hear!

  16. This was a wonderful post that spoke straight to the heart. I’m definitely guilty of worrying too much about how my home looks, because of having been judged about it in the past and having had to measure up in a crisis situation and found very wanting. I especially like the tips for courageous hospitality. Would love to borrow the hospitality steps to let my daughter share at her school, where hospitality was the year’s theme, and the class seems to have had a tough time with it!

  17. I have an innate fear of having others over, that, I think, stems from my childhood experience of it involving a lot of stress and yelling about getting the house clean and tidy!

    I shared once with a friend about my reluctance to have others over b/c I often don’t feel that my cooking is amazing. She said, “They won’t remember the food, Kristen! They will remember how they felt at your house. It doesn’t matter if you do hot dogs on the bbq, if there is laughter and authenticity, that’s all that matters…”

    I thought, wow, how true! So this very week we had a family over for grilled cheese after church. (nothin’ fancy!) And then a single mom over for dinner on Mon night (again, just spaghetti and salad – nothing gourmet!)

    I am slowly trying. It takes courage but when I remember it’s not about how clean (or messy!!) my house is, or what I serve for a meal (or a snack), that helps. : )

    • Sometimes people prefer to be invited over for grilled cheese or something else easy and familiar because they know they’re not putting you out your whole day getting dinner ready or costing you a bunch for fancy ingredients :)

    • Fear that stems from your childhood is a common theme, for sure. Your friend gave you very good advice. It’s amazing, once you experience the benefits of hospitality, putting perfectionism aside, you’ll crave more of it. Thanks for your honesty :)

  18. Courageous? I’d never thought of it like that–but the label sure seems to fit! Calling it courageous to have people over when things aren’t “perfect” at home makes hospitality sound like a high and noble calling. (But then it really can be just that, can’t it?)

  19. I have been recently convicted about this very thing. I can be perfectly content to stay at home and putter away without having anybody over, but I still desire a connection with others. One thing I have been learning – I can’t expect people to reach out to me, I have to reach out to them!

  20. I am also a wife and mom of three teenagers and I am taking a concerted effort to redo the dynamics in our home so that my children want to bring their friends here, which I have always welcomed but secretly dreaded. We don’t have the high-tech stuff but there is a lot of fun, laughter and warmth here. I’m turning a seldom-used room into their recreational room and think that will make our home even more welcoming. My son brought his college roommate home for Easter dinner last Sunday and it was so refreshing….teenagers are so much fun!

  21. This is post is right on! With your 5 signs of being in a safety zone you profiled where I was two years ago. Now I am more fulfilled and joyful with some great soul friends who know me and love me for who I am – all because I invited them over when my house was less than clean and the meal was not quite gourmet…

  22. I struggle with this A LOT. We do have friends over regularly, but they are “safe” friends, or our church book discussion group, and I am secure in knowing that none of them care if our house isn’t perfect.

    And yet I still stress, internally, about our house not being finished / tidy / clean / decorated to Pottery Barn catalog standards. And it prevents me from inviting newer friends over, because I start feeling anxious about it all, and not simply excited to have the chance to connect with people and open our home to them.

    We actually did open our home recently to a group of people my husband knows, and I was somehow able to just let go of it and let him handle it. And it went really well! Nobody cared that the front of our house was in bad need of power-washing for mold issues, nobody minded the lack of quarter-round trim around all our walls. Why do I let these little things bother me so much?

    I would love to hear more discussion about the clash of personality and hospitality. It has been dawning on me more and more than I am an introvert, and that I benefit from recharging alone. Add little kids to the mix, and I find that my time being “on” with others is quickly spent before we’ve had a chance to have people over. How can I get past this sapping of energy that happens to me just in the context of quality family time, so that I can open our home wider, to others?

  23. Great post! A few years ago I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch at my house. I was acquainted with a few military wives who’s husbands were deployed, and I figured they could use a little celebration. I also invited the moms in my own family. My husband thought this was a horrible idea, since I always super-stress about having others in our house. I decided to commit myself to enjoying the day, letting go of expectations, and making sure everyone felt that I was happy to have them there. My husband was AMAZED at my attitude, and it made ALL the difference in the world. We had a wonderful time! Lesson learned. :-)

  24. Sandy–I really love your Top Ten list. I checked your book out from the library and saw those there. I would love to chat with you at Relevant in October. I blog on hospitality, food & storytelling and think us over coffee is a must:)

  25. This really resonates with me. We recently moved to a new place after living in our old house for about 6 years. I can count on two hands the number of times we had people over. It was a project house when we bought it and we were always waiting until the projects were done. Well, we just moved out three weeks ago and the last project was finished the night before we moved, just in time for our renters to enjoy our hard work. I think about the friendships that I missed out on by not being more courageous and really more generous with our home. I’m committed to not making the same mistake in our new place. To that end, I actually interviewed for a job with someone about a month ago and even though I didn’t get the job I felt like we really got along well and our families would enjoy meeting, so I sent a follow-up email to the interviewer after hearing that I wasn’t selected for the job and suggested that we get our families together. They wanted to do the same thing so we’re getting together this weekend for dinner. Friends come out of all different situations, but it definitely takes some risk sometimes. Thanks for the reminder!

  26. avatar
    Velvet Hodges says:

    WOW! Thanks so much for posting! We are definately too comfortable in our lifestyle. This was a great devotional for me today.

  27. Sandy! Well said, as usual. How nice to find you over here doing a post. I love to entertain and it has really gotten easier over the years – since my kids are older. They have become more helpful when my husband and I are scrambling! I also love to say which (12 yo or 14 yo) set the table, cut the flowers or wrote the names on the place cards. Honestly, it used to all be me doing all of those things but by letting go, I’ve found myself able to enjoy more.

    • Hi Sara. It really is different as the kids get older. More enjoyable, I’d say. We had teens over tonight, in fact, they’re all still sitting outside around the table in the dark talking. I love the touches, too, like how my teen son put the tablecloth on backwards tonight. I left it anyway … :)

  28. LOVED this post, thank you. I worry too much about my house. And deal with it by posting pics of the mess and clutter on my blog to normalize it. ;)

  29. avatar
    Rachel K says:

    Thank you for this post! I am (sadly) so in the safety zone! My husband and I inherited a beautiful table that fits 8, in which I’ve been wanting to have people over. I just haven’t. One of our cats is naughty and went on the carpet in that room. I’ve been afraid that others will smell it. That’s what has kept me from having others over to eat in there. There, I said it. I feel better getting that out!

    I also haven’t been keeping up with my friends and/or making new ones. I’ve fallen in a lazy rut. I don’t like it.

    I would love to host things at our house and have people over. Reading this was just the push I needed! I think I’ll just light a candle and call some friends to come over and have dinner soon! :)
    Thank you for the motivation!

    • Rachel, I can’t wait to hear how it goes … please do share! :)

      • avatar
        Rachel K says:

        I’ve been meaning to write a reply or comment about this! This past Sunday we had my mom, grandma, my husband’s mom, dad, and sister over for a meal! We had to do Mother’s Day with both mom’s that day. So the day before I decided to just have them over and my husband decided he would grill! I am still so happy we did! We got to sit at our formal dining room table and share a yummy meal. I did light a candle and run air filters (for my father-in-law, he’s allergic to our kitties). His allergies didn’t bother him too bad and we all had a great time! :) I am excited about having more get togethers! We have a double date coming up with my best friend, so I’m thinking that we might ask them to come over instead of going out. Having people over is not as scary/nerve-wracking as I thought it would be!
        P.S. I love reading your blog! It makes me look forward to hosting my next get- together!

  30. when we crafted our family purpose statement, we knew we wanted to “value people over things” and “live in community,” but still practicing those at entry-level can seem daunting. So we’ve begun to try inviting a new couple into our home – and craziness, and tired baby, and overly-excited kids – for dinner or drinks or chips and salsa or whatever. We want our apartment – chaos and all – to be a place of safety for those God has placed in our path. It’s a giant, huge, unthinkable task, and I’m still figuring out what that will look like and what it will demand of me. Thanks for affirming that it does take courage!

  31. Love this! Thanks for the reminder…we used to have people over at least once or twice a week, but this last year has been more stress-filled than normal and we have slipped out of our habit, and now it seems like so much “work.” I sure miss sharing our home and meals with friends!

  32. Several years ago, I read an article about hosting a soup night once a month in your home for your friends. I loved the idea, but as someone who suffered from social anxiety, I was paralyzed at the thought of actually doing it. This past school year, as part of my personal therapy to overcome my fears, I started Soup Night. The first Tuesday of every month, I invite 15 members of my family (who also happen to be my neighbors) over for soup and bread. It hasn’t been easy. My first Soup Night was two weeks after my daughter was born! But it has been AMAZING. I am so thankful I did not allow fear to lock others out of my house any more.

  33. avatar
    Anonymous says:

    I greatly appreciate all of the wonderful responses that some of you made directly to me. It is so hard to not be discouraged, and to not feel like a failure at this particular point in our lives. I am working hard to move beyond the losses that I mentioned above. As my husband and I are both Ivy League grads, MBAs, ABDs, blah blah blah, this is sometimes very hard to do.

    It helps to know we are not alone. Even if the off-white carpeting is tan now because we can’t afford to clean it; even if the closet doors are off the hinges because…well simply put, the list goes on; I have to continue to keep pressing on and make the conscious decision to show hospitality in spite of everything. If others can successfully do it, so can I. Even if I am doing it alone (hubby works day and night to try to provide, and is not a “share the load” kinda guy anyway), I have to somehow figure this out. We will never progress beyond this point otherwise.

    Oh; perhaps I should mention that I don’t exactly have his blessings in doing this. So, the first prayer must be for a change of heart for him. THEN the second one can be for success and favor in showing hospitality.

    All the same, thanks again; your encouragement has meant a lot.

  34. Thank you Sandy for this wonderful post and encouragement to live a fuller life. It is so easy to hide behind a busy life and excuse ourselves from making new friends or opening up to new risks. I want to be able to look back in my life and know that I’ve left behind a colorful rainbow behind. And courage is what is needed to do that!

  35. I have struggled with having guests. The 1st 4 of the 5 signs that you are in the safety zone, that is me. I have had some other issues go on in my life over the past year and I have let them get in the way of having people in. Thanks for the great tips!
    Bernice

  36. What a fantastic post! Consider me inspired! Once I finish with my current challenge (31 Days to Clean), I will turn my attention to courageous hospitality. Thanks for the reminder of how important hospitality is, especially in our facebook-centric world. It’s too easy to glance through our news feed and feel like we’re keeping in touch and cultivating friendships, but there’s no substitute for time together.

  37. Nice, encouraging post! Glad to see someone who has their priorities in the right order!

  38. It was stressful, but I had people over for my son’s first birthday party last week. We have a tiny, cluttery house, so we made it weather-permitting and had a nice time out in the yard. I kept it as simple as possible, because I hate organizing events. My mom brought snacks, my husband mowed the lawn. I just invited people and got a cake. It was great! We plan on doing potlucks the same way this summer.

  39. Oh my! This post is such a wake up call! We really haven’t had any new friends or had anyone other than family over since we had our child (3 years ago!). So embarrassing, I just figured out we’re in a rut. Thank you for posting this!

  40. avatar
    David Mark says:

    It was so horrifying to both of us, he dropped the phone and I sat down, bewildered and upset. Since then, I’ve had to bravely push past the image of myself as having the perfect home, and I’ve carefully invited, over time, a few “safe friends” over, and I likely still have a way to go.

  41. This is a great post. I’m working on hospitality in the home!!!! I found this blog post via a mention at the Joyful Mom of Many blog :) :) Im going to share ths on my Facebook page, too!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

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