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Every weekend, my extrovert husband wants to open our front door and throw some meat on the grill to share with everyone he’s ever met. I want to close the blinds and only look up from my book to watch my favorite football team score a touchdown. How can we meet somewhere in the middle of having everyone over and having no one over?
Well, first we must take into consideration the book of Acts, which gives us great insight into how the early church (all families of new believers) exercised hospitality. “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” Acts 2:46-47 ESV. This example of hospitality drew others to learn more about God’s love for them. So, whether or not I’m very comfortable with throwing the front door open and inviting the neighborhood over for a cookout, I do have to take into consideration that being hospitable can bring more and more people to the love of Jesus.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to meet my husband in the middle. I’ve been able to not only create a welcoming space for many visitors but also find some specific ways to remain grounded even in my uncomfortableness. It is my hope that the 5 ways below will give you (and all introverts) a few solid, tangible guidelines to follow in your journey to becoming more hospitable:
1. Focus on having small groups over instead of a big crowd. I much prefer having just one or two families over for a relaxed time of real conversation and real life.
2. Focus on investing in your guests, not entertaining them. It always helps me to remember that I don’t have to make a big to-do about it. People are more comfortable when you’re real.
3. Ask them to help you. When your guests arrive, ask them to help you finish getting out the plates or putting ice in the cups. I feel more comfortable (and therefore make our guests feel more comfortable) if we are side-by-side rather than face-to-face at first. I don’t automatically have to jump into small talk. Since chances are at least one of the people you’re having over is also an introvert, this can make him or her feel more comfortable right away too.
4. Focus on deep conversations. Introverts have the reputation of being quiet, but it’s usually small talk we don’t like. We are very interested in people’s stories. I came up with five question starters that make conversations last longer and go deeper. Quick tip: Try not to run through the questions as if they are at an interview, but rather continue the conversation that’s already happening.
When did you realize … (you wanted to marry her? you had found the right job? it was time to move on?)
How did you feel when … (you went through that trial together? you heard he had gotten into that school? you realized everyone was safe?
What did you learn from … (the job you just left? the book you read? having dinner at your grandma’s every Sunday night?)
Who helped you … (feel comfortable at that church? realize your gift for teaching? learn how to make that dessert?)
Why did you … (make that change? want to go back there? decide they would be your favorite team?)
5. Give yourself some alone time. After your guests leave, don’t feel bad about pulling out a book or spending some quiet time alone. As introverts, we need time to recharge alone so we’re ready for more time with people again soon.
All in all, hospitality may not feel easy for us at first, but God gives introverts important gifts He wants us to share with others! You are important in His plan to draw others to Himself. Find ways of being hospitable that will help you feel comfortable and you’ll help others feel comfortable as well.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” Colossians 3:23-24 ESV.
Looking for more ideas on how to open your heart and home this season? Check out our entire selection of hospitality articles in our devotional library. And be sure to browse through our hospitality gifts including inspirational décor, serving dishes and wall art.
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Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thess 5:11 CSB