February 15, 2013

Hospitality and Keeping House

You want to have friends over, but your home is a wreck.  And it's not just today, it's everyday.  It's C.H.A.O.S.: Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

Maybe you can't relate.  Or maybe you can.

Would you dare invite a friend over with your mess?

I want to encourage you to say yes.  Hospitality is not about showing off your house or table decorations.  Hospitality is offering yourself in friendship to another.  It's about the heart.  Your friends do not come to see your home (and the dust) but to see you.
Are you already thinking about how offering your home in hospitality means it should be a pleasant experience for your guest?  That your home should be pretty and clean?  That your dishes should all match and be beautiful?  That you don't have enough seating?  There is an answer for that.

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. ~1 Peter 4:9

If we are to show hospitality, we need to do it without grumbling or excuses.  If you need to take an extra couple hours to clean, do so, but don't wait for it to be clean before offing the invitation.  And if someone drops by, do invite them in...despite the piles of dishes and toys all over-even during rest time.

There are seasons in our lives when a clean home feels impossible. Yet, it is likely we still need fellowship with one another.  So ask your friend over.  Clear a space on the sofa for a seat.  Offer a drink and be content in the company.  If you have a cookie or a carrot, offer it, but don't feel you must.

Then, just relax and enjoy the company.  

Your company just might feel more relaxed with your "real" home on display, too!

Don't misunderstand me.  We shouldn't use our chaotic home as an excuse.  However, we can still make good efforts before having company if we are able.  Prior to company I like to clean up the island and vacuum the couch and love seat (cat hair), though these things don't always happen.  Since we are a shoeless home, I try to have the kitchen floor swept, but Little Sister makes it impossibly hard to keep that floor clean!

A tidy home is welcoming to guests and our own families alike.  And shouldn't that be our goal?  To have a home where people know they are welcomed and loved.  If we become a cleaning tyrant in order to have a tidy home, then it is not working.  That is not hospitality to our own loved ones.
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In the past few weeks I read two books that really made me consider the heart behind the home.  The first was Keeping House: The Litany of Every Day Life by Margaret Kim Peterson.  It is not a book focusing on gourmet cooking and lovely flower arrangements.  Instead Peterson focuses on how our home is a ministry through the everyday, mundane tasks of life.  (Here is the review that made  me purchase the book.)  The other book I read is by L.M. Montgomery, called Mistress Pat.  Montgomery weaves a tale in this sequel to Pat of Silverbush (linked to my review) that really made me consider how welcoming a home should be.  It was a delightful book on many levels, and I was sorry to see it end.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}

5 comments:

  1. That phrase for chaos made me laugh! Oh, but in understanding. What did I say the other day, we are on the having people over cleaning schedule, where we clean before they come? What you say is so true, our guests need our attention and love extended through welcoming more than a house that passes a white glove test.

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    1. I heard the CHAOS acronym many years ago though I'm not certain where I learned it. :)

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    2. I first heard it from Flylady.net. She has a bunch of those that crack me up! And hit a little too close to home ;)

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    3. Candy, I bet that is where I heard it, too. I had read some of her stuff many years ago!

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