There must be something in my DNA that is wired to hostess. I just love to plan, prep for and carry out a entertaining a houseful of guests.
The more…the merrier, I say!
Guests are welcome for a brief coffee, a long evening, a weekend….shoot, we have had folks live for us for months at a time!
I learned a lot from my mom about hostessing. Mom modeled how to have a hospitable spirit. She was organized, flexible with the plans changing, focused on folks feeling valued and loved with “their” special meals and she put the wishes of others in front of her own.
You see, there is a big difference between being an “entertainer” in your home and being “hospitable.”
Just ask your guests! When your focus is on entertaining, your guests leave impressed…but they also may struggle with feeling down on themselves for their own inadequacies. “I can’t invite folks to my home….I would have to spend a year preparing my home first so I wouldn’t die of embarrassment!”
On the contrary, a hospitable person just knows how to make the guest themselves, feel at ease. Their emphasis is on how to bless that guest by placing their desires and needs above their own. There is a realness, a transparency, that floods the atmosphere of the home. One does not need to have a perfect outfit, a perfect meal, a couch with no stains, a dog (or child) that never has an accident…
I used to struggle with letting others see the real me. It led to bondage. I would try to “dress up and play the part” of June Cleaver…after all, my husband’s name is Ward Keever…you have no idea how many years I have heard that joke of….”Are you related to Ward Cleaver?”
I had this desire to entertain (I later learned it was actually a spiritual gift(I Corinthians 12). Where I had gone off track was in believing a lie that to be a good hostess, I had to be perfect. My marriage had to be perfect. Good grief….my children had to be perfect! And my angel food cake couldn’t collapse!
Believing that lie caused me to become very tense with my family as I was preparing the home for entertaining.
I Peter 4:9 states “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Ouch! This unrealistic pressure to present perfectly that I placed upon myself, as well as on my whole family, made me edgy and grumbly….behind the scenes. In front of others, however, I knew how to put on the smiles and the laughter. Not only was I wounding my family and causing my company to feel like they too had to be perfect….but I was wounding the very heart of God. He never asked for me to be perfect in my hostessing. He just asked me to open up my home and my heart to others and to just love them.
You see, believing that lie that a hostess needs to be perfect pushed me into the bondage of believing that my worth/value was anchored in my performance and in the opinions of others.
My value comes from God loving me first, while I was in my least “put together” state…covered in sin. (Romans 5:8) He put HIS needs aside first, stepping into my world, so He could go to the cross and pay the penalty for my sin. Philippians 2:6-8
I still love to hostess folks in my home….I love to make it enjoyable with good food, smells and lots of laughter. However….now a days the smile is real…my family is happier…the atmosphere is light and no one is grumbling. Freedom! Freedom for me to be me…and for you to be you in my house. I can’t put into words how much more enjoyable it is to open up my home now!
I close with some examples of what this new freedom has looked like….being the hostess with the mostest.
1. I leave my drying laundry out drying on door knobs rather than shoving them in a closet…still wet!
2. I laughed when a gal reached into the sofa cushion looking for her pen and pulled out a petrified cheese stick hidden by my son (that was years ago!)
3. A gal I was meeting for the first time entered the front door and immediately helped me pull out my son’s loose tooth so I could go get Bible Study started. (also years ago…the boys have all their big teeth now!!)
4. I allow friends to help me clean up the kitchen and put the food away, with access to ALL my kitchen drawers.
5. My friends know where to find more toilet paper in my house.
6. I am comfortable having company during the three weeks the spring ants move into my kitchen.
Do you see the difference?
My guests see it…and funny thing is, I used to think that if they saw me for “who I really was” that they would decide to not come over anymore!
Quite the opposite has happened. The more REAL I have been with them…the more REAL they have been with me.
(…and the next time they come over…they bring another gal unannounced…just because…they can!)