Hospitality: Perfection is Not the Point
For years I’ve been dreaming of making a sign to hang outside my front door that reads, “Welcome to Imperfection.”
In one way, the sign would be an announcement to my guests. I want people to know what to expect when I invite them into my home. It’s completely possible that they will find a woman without make-up, a sibling upheaval, piles of dishes in the kitchen, half-done projects on the dining room table, and stains on the living room couch.
In another way, the sign would be an invitation to my guests. I want people to know that they are welcome in my home no matter what their imperfection looks like that day. They don’t need to have it all together to be with me. I don’t have it all together either, so let’s love each other anyway!
It’s not that I don’t struggle with wanting to present myself and my home perfectly for my guests. I absolutely do. I secretly want to be deemed the hostess-with-the-mostest, and I love a good Pinterest idea like everyone else. But after exhausting myself with years of preparing the perfect-this and the perfect-that, God released me from my falsely-motivated efforts by revealing to me that the perfect way to offer my best to others is to offer my best to Him first.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men...Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)
In talking with friends across the country, I’m realizing that I’m not alone in this journey. It’s something that God is speaking to women’s hearts everywhere.
“When I’m tempted to make hospitality all about the house, God is quick to remind me that true hospitality is about the heart. It’s about my heart welcoming your heart. When Jesus came to us, He came humbly, honestly and without pretense or show. That’s how I want to be received, and that is how I want to receive guests in my home. Jesus also brought the passion and intimacy that we are longing for. I can offer that to my guests, too, if I have taken the time to prepare my heart.” ~Chris from Huntington Beach, CA
“The word hospitality used to conjure up the dream of perfection for me: unconditional warmth, lack of chaos, a perfectly clean house with engaged and mannerly children, yummy food and drink with a comfy place to sit and relax. Then one day as I was preparing for company, I had a moment. I realized that I wanted to be with my guests, not be presented to them. I knew then that I needed to ask the Lord to prepare my heart. I knew He wanted me to model the authenticity behind my ‘come as you are’ hospitality, equally believing that I am accepted and loved by my Father and the people around me on my good days as well as on my messy days. I love ushering others to Jesus by showing them the beauty and safety in coming as you are.” ~Sara from Prairie Village, KS
“As an Air Force wife, one of the best ways to endure lonely deployment nights is to spend it with friends in your same situation. One night, a group of us gathered with our children for dinner at someone’s home. We each came in our pajamas, brought what we had from our refrigerators and ate on paper plates. It was so easy to enjoy each other when there were no expectations of a fancy meal, fancy clothes or a clean house. Regardless of how we arrived at the door, we were welcomed, with fussy kids, weary souls and all. It’s the same way that Christ welcomes us. He calls us to serve Him by loving one another with helpful hands, encouraging words and open hearts, which is exactly what we did for each other that night.” ~Tammy from Washington, D.C.
What would it look like if we let God take His place in our hearts before we let people in our homes? Maybe we would pick up the Bible before we picked up the broom. Maybe we would say a prayer before we set out the plates. Maybe we would focus on the hearts of our guests before we focused on our house at all.
Will you try it with me this holiday season? Let’s prepare our homes for guests by filling our hearts with Jesus first, so that instead of experiencing domestic perfection, they will experience the presence of our perfect Savior.
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