Hello again readers! If you were following my previous blog you know that I finished it out with a series on how to cultivate joy in our homes and lives. A dear friend Rebekah of Hargraves Home and Hearth had guest posted during that series. I wanted to include her post here as well because she really does share some great insight on how to find joy in hospitality.
I know for some of you sweet ladies the title of this post may seem like a complete oxymoron. Perhaps the thought of gaining joy from practicing hospitality seems impossible for you. Even as someone who loves hospitality, believes it to be important, and thrives on having lots of people into her home, I understand! I really do. Hospitality is not always easy for me. It’s not always something I feel comfortable with doing. Sometimes it can feel very awkward.
I do believe, however, that everyone – no matter your personality, background, experiences or condition of your home – can find joy in practicing hospitality. I believe this to be true because: living a life of hospitality is something the Lord expects of us (Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2), He faithfully equips us for what we are called to do (Hebrews 13:20-21), and He blesses us when we obey (James 1:25, John 13:17, Luke 11:28, 1 Peter 3:9).
Where to Start
How, though, practically speaking, do we gain joy from practicing hospitality? I believe the place to start, as in all other areas of our lives, as well, is with time in God’s Word. After all, we know the following to be true about the Word of God:
“ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” ~2 Timothy 3:16-17
It is through time in God’s Word that we will be able to gain the perspective and insight required to willingly go about practicing hospitality in a way that will honor the Lord, do others good, and bring us joy. Spend time in prayer, as well! Seek wisdom from the Lord (James 1:5) as to how to go about practicing hospitality, seek His direction for the best way to make this a regular part of your life, and ask Him for a right heart when it comes to how you view hospitality and the people you will have into your home.
What to Do
After you have spent time in communion with the Lord and sought His direction and help, experiencing joy in hospitality will then come from having a right perspective. If we want to be able to begin to view hospitality as an enjoyable thing, we will need to make a shift in our thinking and viewpoint in the following ways:
- Understand that true hospitality has nothing to do with the condition of your home and everything to do with the condition of your heart. Save yourself a lot of grief, dismay, and discouragement by no longer feeling like your home has to be Pinterest-perfect before you can have folks over. People don’t truly care about how “perfect” your house looks. They care far more about the condition of your heart towards them – how are you making them feel when they step into your home? A loving heart will instantly transform an otherwise drab home into a welcoming haven.
- Believe that hospitality is about your guests, not about you. If we are all wrapped up in what our guests will think of us and whether or not they will believe us to be the most amazing hostesses ever, we will instantly be zapped of any joy we could have otherwise experienced through practicing hospitality. Pursuing a mirage of perfection only ever produces discouragement, pride, and frustration. And it does nothing to serve your guests. Folks coming into your home want a warm haven of encouragement and friendship. They don’t want perfection in you. Otherwise, they will leave feeling like they’re failures in their own pursuit of “perfection”. View hospitality as a way to serve and bless others and to focus on them rather than on yourself. Be a shoulder to cry on, an encourager for when the going-gets-tough in the lives of others. Have this be your focus and you will find yourself experiencing more joy in your hospitality!
- View hospitality as something fun to do, not as a burden to bear! No one ever said hospitality had to be one-size-fits-all, boring, or rote! Who would want to ever be on the receiving end or the giving end, either one, of hospitality if it were? The Lord has issued forth the command to us to practice hospitality, but He never gave us a checklist as to how that has to look. So, take the concept of practicing hospitality and make it your own according to your own unique family culture, interests, and personality! Do you love Mexican food? Throw a Mexican dinner party! Put up some fun streamers in loud, vibrant colors around your kitchen and serve a help-yourself taco/taco salad buffet! Do you love playing board games? Order pizza, pop popcorn, use paper plates, and host a game night where each guest brings their favorite game! With hospitality, the sky is the limit. Do what is fun for you and your guests!
I hope those tips serve to inspire you in your own pursuit of incorporating hospitality into your everyday life. Remember the popular little acronym for the word “joy” and you will find yourself experiencing so much more joy in hospitality:
J – Jesus First
O – Others Second
Y – Yourself Last
Start out with the Lord – get in His Word, seek His face, gain His wisdom and perspective, and, after you do this, you will be far better able to then bless others from a heart of service. Do these things and you will find yourself gaining so much more glorious joy each and every time you heed God’s call to practice hospitality!
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to “edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood”.