I think one of the most common hesitations for having company that I have heard concerns their homes and feeling like they just aren't good enough. The thing is (as I talked about last week) the reason for having company is not to show off our homes. So you don't need to have your home to magazine standards in order to be able to invite guests and have a good time with them.
It really doesn't matter if your house is.....
- Chilly (tell guests to dress warmly)
- Up many flights of stairs
- Not really a house but a garage (or a tent, or a camper, etc....)
- or whatever your issue may be....
Yes you may have to be hospitable in a way that works for you but where there is a will there is a way!
What if your house is small?
Common sense might dictate that you don't have large dinner parties or host a dozen overnight guests but then maybe you just might be super creative and figure out how to make that work anyway! But truly nothing says that to be hospitable you have to have over a lot of people at once. Having one or two is okay too.
My brother Luke and his wife MollyBea used to live in a little bitty apartment. They did have 2 bedrooms but the rest of it was really small. If you stood in the middle of the kitchen I think you could touch everything else in that room. They had a little bitty eating spot with a little bitty table and room for 2 chairs (maybe they could fit 3 if they worked at it?) and their living room had room for a loveseat and chair. So, pretty small. But they still had company - and had it often. Mostly it wasn't large groups and I know having our family of 6 over was a cause for consideration before they did it but they made it work. They didn't let a little bitty apartment stop them from being hospitable.
So, if you have a small house you could....
- Have over small amounts of people at a time.
- Host people when the weather is warm and have them in your yard or even at a park.
- Figure out ways to utilize every inch of space in the house. I remember being impressed many years ago when I read an article about somebody with a tiny house that had a large party but they made it so they served appetizers in the kitchen, other stuff in the dining room, dessert in the bedroom, and so forth. Every inch of space was creatively used for entertaining.
What if you are embarrassed about your house?
This doesn't sound very nice to say but it is realistic. There are probably times that all of us have been embarrassed by the way our home looks. Maybe you are struggling to keep it clean. Maybe it isn't finished. Maybe all the decorating that has ever been done is taping your child's artwork up on the walls. You know what the issue is for you if that is something that you struggle with. With me at one time it was the issue of having white carpet that was never white - in fact it usually looked rather nasty.
The first thing that we need to remember to do it to practice thank-fullness. God has blessed us with a home - it may not be as fancy as some others but it protects us from the elements and we are able to live there happily. Just spend some time thinking (maybe writing down) all the ways that you are thankful for your home. Being thank-ful can really help us to learn contentment.
And then once more, let's remember that when we are hospitable it is for the purpose of sharing Christ's love - not to show off our homes. Some people are going to feel more comfortable in a modest home that is cluttered than they ever will in a magazine style home. God can use you in whatever situation you are in.
Another note on this subject - I have found having company a great motivator for cleaning and decluttering. So if that is something that you need to do - go ahead and invite some guests to come over some set time next week. Having that on your calender will be some great inspiration to do some cleaning, decluttering or even possibly decorating.
You can be hospitable in all kinds of situations!
Growing up our family lived in a unfinished house. My parents were building it debt free and it was worked on as there was time and money and so that meant the process was pretty slow. That didn't stop my parents from having company. We had people over frequently, exchange students would come and live with us and nobody seemed to mind that we didn't have sheetrock on our ceilings (or even some of the walls at times), or that we had bumpy cement flooring, shelves instead of cupboards, bare bulb lights and so forth. In fact there were many people that loved coming to our house. If they could be hospitable - so can you.
This fall we had our own little experiences with unique situations for hospitality. Living in a garage without plumbing made hospitality interesting but not impossible. We still had friends over for lunch and birthday celebrations at our "house".
Then we moved into the basement of our house while the drywalling was still going on upstairs and dust loved to come filtering down. We were then dealing with getting all of our water out of the pressure tank. It was at this point our lovely elderly neighbors were about to head south for the winter and I really wanted to have them over first as our neighbor had asked if he could hear me play my violin. I will admit, I hesitated. I hadn't minded having family (my family and then Ken's parents staying with us for a week) but having somebody come that had never seen me in a normal home and here I would have them for a meal when I didn't even have a kitchen or a sink. But we invited them anyway. They gladly accepted and we had a lovely time. I cooked in a crockpot and with my little electric burner and they seemed to enjoy the lunch and then we left the dishes for later and went upstairs to our unfinished living room, lit a fire in the fireplace, sat around in our deck chairs and played some music. They seemed very appreciative and we had a lot of fun together. When they come back north I look forward to having them over to our finished home but I am glad we were able to share that time in our unfinished home too.
Now there may be seasons in your life when hospitality will need to take a little break for a while. You may be dealing with some serious sickness or a disease and it just won't work for you. Or whatever the case may be. This fall we did have a little break time from hospitality when our lives were super busy and the garage was not just chilly but truly cold. We dressed in tons of layers but I just didn't feel like inviting others to come over at that time. But I knew that would be just a short season.
I hope that if this is something that you have struggled with that this post doesn't make you feel guilty but that it will encourage you to realize that others have done it - you can too!
I would love to hear you comments on these thoughts about hospitality!