Friday, August 16, 2013

Thoughts on Hospitality & Opening up your home

It has always been a dream of mine to have a house that was big enough to host. To host parties and get togethers, bible studies and dinners. I have always wanted to host friends from out of town and missionaries home on furlough. It makes me feel full and happy to have people in my home.
But there is another part of it that is raw and difficult to talk about.

Sometimes it is really, really hard!

We have been blessed to be able to host two young married couples in our home for two consecutive summers while they were in that awkward waiting period between the wedding and their new adventure. We have hosted my brother-in-law many times and other couples in our home ever since we got married 2 years ago. When the opportunities came up, I was so was exactly what I had always wanted right? It was my chance to open my home and live in community and live life together with people that we loved!
And it was everything I had dreamed of ...most of the time.

It also brought up ugly things in me. Things that weren't part of my dream...selfishness, impatience, crazy expectations, resentment, entitlement, and so many more unpleasant things.
There was a disconnect between the perfectly made bed with the welcome basket perfectly placed with a mint on the pillow and a rustic homemade breakfast each morning and reality. The reality that it isn't about the appearance of the home or the picture perfect idea you try so hard (and so futility) to portray. The reality that living with other people can sometimes bring out the worst in you instead of the best. The reality that it isn't all about me and my plan.
Living with other people means compromise and genuinely being able to give up the things most selfishly precious to us - our space, our time, our way, our "bubble".

Why is it when I dreamed of opening my home I thought only of the joy it would bring ME and none of the compromise I would have to make or the way it was challenging and growing me in ways only The Lord knew. How it was molding me to be more humble and forgiving, to be more flexible and okay with double the dishes, half as much fridge space and sharing a washing machine!

It has shown me such beautiful things, and has created some remarkable times of fellowship and support and real, raw community. It has also stretched me so far I feared I might break. I have learned so much about myself, so much about our friends who have graced our home with their presence and so much about our God who strips away all the walls we build and all the unwillingness we have to open not only our homes but our hearts.

With this new perspective in my heart, and new lessons under my belt I am excited to move forward and open our home again when the opportunity arises, knowing we will not always be in a season where it is possible to have people in our home. I wouldn't have traded that awkward feeling or being stretched too thin for the joy that comes with living life matter how uncomfortable or unnatural it felt at first. I will cherish this time in our life and the lessons it has taught me and continues to teach me as people that we love come and go through our doors.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing (and accurate) perspective. Thanks for sharing (with joy) out of your struggle. We had similar dreams about hospitality.