For me, hospitality is a joy. I like having people over, throwing showers and hosting bible studies. It’s a part of my love language. And in this season of my life, it is actually easier than going somewhere. But that’s not true for everyone. We all have different strengths, and joyfully opening your home to others might not be yours. My husband and I are still growing in grace and hospitality, but over the years and through many mistakes, we’ve learned a few things that can help in making hospitality a joy for all involved.*
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR MAKING HOSPITALITY A JOY FOR ALL INVOLVED
Tidy up but don’t deep clean.
Doing a deep clean before other kiddos come over just isn’t worth it. Tidying up is great! But don’t scrub your floors just so spaghetti can get spilled on them.
Put special toys away and hide problem toys.
If having people in your house stresses you out because you fear what will happen to your daughter’s vintage doll house, put that thing away so it’s not even an issue. And you know that toy that is guaranteed to cause a fight (every house has one)? Just hide it!
Prepare your kids.
My kids tend towards being shy, which can sometimes come off as rude. Before people come over, I like to give them a little pep talk. I’ll encourage them to use big boy and girl words and offer ideas on how they can improve in any problem areas.
Maintain your rules.
Every house has rules. Rules like no jumping on the couch or playing with doors are good rules to enforce. They help keep children safe.
Ask about food allergies or fears of pets ahead of time.
We have a nut allergy in our family and we go through phases where at least one of our children are deathly afraid of dogs. We are greatly blessed as guests when the host keeps nuts off the menu and graciously puts dogs away.
*While these 5 five tips are great and very practical, they really won’t make hospitality any easier because the thing is: hospitality isn’t practical. Inviting others into your home means your home is used in more and different ways than it usually is. You’re cooking more food, which takes more time and it usually costs more money. Showing hospitality isn’t going to be a joy for you and your family until you change the reason why you’re doing it.
SEEK TO BLESS RATHER THAN IMPRESS
Practicing hospitality is a joy when you’re seeking to bless your guests. When you are focused on the other person or family you’ve invited into your house, you’re going to be less worried about things getting broken or the table being set just right.
What keeps you from having people over? Are you afraid your house isn’t clean enough or your decor is out of date? I bet your guests won’t mind as long they have a place to sit and someone to listen to them when they talk. Afraid you won’t have anything to talk about? Focus on them! Ask them about their day, their month or their year.
Yes tidying up your house and making a meal and prepping your kids before people come over are all good things. But, they should come from an overflow of what’s in your heart: a desire to serve the person or people coming over.
Changing our focus to being on our guests has dramatically changed the way that my husband and I practice hospitality. It’s not all about us anymore and it’s so much more fun!
What are some of your challenges and joys when practicing hospitality? Comment below and let us know! And don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for our final post. We will be sharing some easy recipes for both dinner and play dates.