When the reminders keep showing up on my phone that my iCloud storage is full, meaning new content is not being saved elsewhere, eventually I pay attention and do what needs to be done. Cleaning out the storage in the Cloud is not an easy task, and please don’t ask me how its done. I have a super talented husband who figures out all of the answers to IT questions around here.
Last week I had what started as an annoying itch in my right ear, then became a dull ache and finally a feeling akin to someone stabbing me in the ear, I knew that something needed to be done.
Sometimes I look after these kinds of things right away, I see the initial signs of something requiring attention and get at it. Other times I wait and put up with the reminders, the pokes and prods, and eventually get around to addressing whatever has come up. I have found that most of the time it is best to pay attention right away.
Over and over again the reminders keep coming. I am hearing about the same thing from multiple sources and I know I need to pay attention. Has this ever happened to you? You read a book about something, and then it pops up on Instagram, your friend texts you about it, and your mother starts talking about that very thing. It keeps showing up until you pay attention.
This has been happening to me lately in the area of hospitality. At the church I belong to we recently had a wonderful series on the topic. We were reminded of how God’s heart toward us is full of welcome and generosity. We were challenged to find ways to be hospitable toward our neighbors and to the stranger.
Hospitality is a word fraught with expectations. Once I thought I had to have the spiritual gift of hospitality and if I did not, then I was off the hook. We can sometimes think hospitality comes with a guarantee of warm/fuzzy feelings and when we find it difficult or tiring, we question if we are doing it right. We often see pictures of the perfect home and table setting for a gourmet meal, and think this is hospitality, and when we find this beyond ourselves we think we have failed. Or we think overnight guests are a necessary part of being hospitable. We can let go of these expectations when we realize that hospitality looks different for everyone. It is more about how people feel after being with us than the setting or the food.
My husband and I have gotten out of the habit of having people into our home. We used to host dinner parties, book and music gatherings, and have friends over for a meal or after dinner refreshments. It is easy to blame the stage of life we were in or the busyness of our schedule but the reality is that we just got lazy, we did not make it a priority to welcome others into our space or even take the time to meet people elsewhere.
When authors are getting ready for their book to come out, they gather a team together to help them launch it. I had the privilege of being on the team for the book, Invited – The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness. I was instantly attracted to the book because I had been mulling over the sermons from the previous month, and I have respect for the author. Well, the book basically removed all my excuses for not being hospitable! The author, Leslie Verner, gives so many real-life examples of what hospitality looks like in the midst of a very normal family life. She shows how we have made it more complicated than it needs to be. One of her Instagram posts says it well, there is a picture of a welcome mat at the front door which says, “Come on in, we’re not ready”. I will probably never feel ready. There are always these thoughts running through my mind… is the house too dirty/untidy? I don’t have enough food. What will we talk about? Will they like us? This book has been a wake-up call to me. I am determined to embrace this state of not being ready but welcoming others in anyways.
There are three ways to enter:
1. Comment on this post
2. Share this post on social media
3. Subscribe to my blog at www.suefulmore.com
This giveaway is open to residents of North America. The deadline for entry is Midnight MST on Sunday August 25, 2019.
Regardless if you enter or win this book, I think we would be wise to consider how we can extend welcome and friendship to those who live next door, and those who cross our path during the day. In our world where loneliness is epidemic, may we be the people who offer connection and welcome asn an antidote. Kindness is never wasted and who knows how your kind words, smile, or listening ear could impact that person. One act caring can have a huge impact in the life of one individual and ripple effects throughout our communities.
I would love to hear your stories of giving or receiving hospitality.