It crept up on me so subtly; this feeling of insecurity as I welcomed people into my home. Quite frankly, it permeated to the core of who I was just hours before guests were to arrive, and I was taken back.
My desire has always been to make our home a haven, a place where friends are welcome to share both their beauty and bedlam moments and feel safe. Yet when it came time for me to put aside the fact that the physical beauty of perfect decor and a manicured yard was not going to be finished, and the reality that only my bedlam would show through, I was unnerved.
Never before has the thought crossed my mind to cancel an opportunity to open our home, but this time, I was truly tempted.
And this is why….
A UFO landed on my back deck in the form of an unfinished gazebo, and no matter how much I willed it to completion, it was not going to happen.
I am in no way, shape, or form a Type A perfectionist, but even for me, the Martha Stewart wanna-be that pulls inside of me whispered, "This is NOT a good thing."
Could I really welcome these ladies and their children to an outdoor event, when my back yard looked like this? I was the "leader," the "mentor" of this organization.
In my defense, this wasn't for lack of effort, or laziness, or even procrastination (which I am known to lean towards), it was simply an issue of man power, plus the minor detail noted in the direction's small print that stated we needed ten people to lift the roof. Oops.
Now, I knew these friends would understand my junk yard debacle.
I also know that hospitality isn't about perfection, or even near perfection.
In fact, I share continually that hospitality is about just being available, and that it's about the time spent connecting with one another. And yet even though inviting people to share life with me is what I do, it's what I desire, I couldn't shake "Martha's" increasingly loud whisper.
As the families arrived, I spent far too much time explaining my UFO dilemma, and giving my excuses until I finally heard Him shout, "This is NOT about you! This is about ME."
GULP! He is SO right.
1 Peter 4:9 guides us to "offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." And in a sense, my story of excuses were just subtle grumblings.
My desire for a "Welcome Home mentality" can not be about me. It must be a reflection of Him through me. To open one's door, it means offering a time when one person, if even for a few minutes, feels welcomed and valued. That means providing a haven of safety and acceptance no matter if the schedule to "too full", the house is not spotless, or the food is store bought. It's about being available in the midst of both beauty and bedlam.
Are you willing to embrace that Welcome Home mentality?
What may be standing in your way?
This reminder reaffirmed what I've known for so long, but the Lord allowed me to put it instant action last week when we hosted a week long spontaneous twenty-one person family reunion , just after this UFO gathering. If you still have reservations, read about Hospitality for the non perfectionist and maybe it will change your mind.
Ignore Martha's whisper; it's not about perfection, it's about being available…and that is a GOOD thing.
by Jennifer Schmidt, Beauty and BedlamLeave a Comment
This is exactly what my heart needed to hear today. Thank You.
I laugh because I so understand these moments…
I’ve prayed to God to have that kind of home where friends and family think of my home ‘as a soft place to land’…to feel loved…welcome…and at ease….
Myself…until people get there…it is NOT a safe place to land for myself…I worry myself until my stomach rolls with the thoughts I have but by the time everyone is here, and i can look at faces and see the peace, hear the laughter and feel the love…I know this is what is important. Not the fact that I really need new carpet or a new bannister or I need to have that huge tree cut down.
I pray I can remember your words the next time around!
Holley Gerth says
Oh, Jen, I hope someday I get to come hang out at your house. Having been with you in person I know you take that Welcome Home mentality with you wherever you go. My heart always feels welcome with yours–and more full of joy for the time we’ve spent together. Thanks for this reminder about grace and what really matters. (:
As one of the lucky ones who has been in your home, I will say with great confidence how you live and breathe this post. Thank you for thinking it, for feeling it, for writing it and most of all, for living it. I love your beauty and your bedlam!
Smockity Frocks says
This is such a wonderful reminder! I have eight children and all their projects and messes have sometimes made me reluctant to have guests over.
You have given me courage to go for it more often!
By the way, I hope all guests helped you “raise the roof” on that gazebo!
Thank you for sharing this! Dh expressed just the other day about wanting to have more friends from church over. Definitely need not have the mentality where it has to be perfect.
This is what I call a Mary and Martha moment, with Mary always choosing the better part. Martha’s intentions were good but she, like I, forgot that what is truly important is welcoming our Lord, and our Lord in each other. I have 8 childen too, but over the years have learned, sometimes, painfully, that my true friends don’t care if they have to step over sports equipment and other paraphenalia to get to the hot cup of tea at my table.
You are so right! Don’t let your Martha mentality stop you from blessing other’s in your home! Hospitality isn’t about having the best house or the neatest cleanest! It’s about the warmth and welcome one feels once they enter the threshold!
I’ve learned this many times!
My motto is…JUST DO IT!
Bring someone home with you….ESPECIALLY unplanned! It will rock your world! 🙂
K. P. says
This is a lesson the Lord has been slowly been convicting us of. We have recently experienced a “perfect” home but the lack of love and kindness marred what could have been a wonderful time. It was a reminder to us that our love for God and for each other is more important than perfection in our home. So instead of getting a bad attitude or becoming crabby with one another as we’re running around making the house perfect, we need to focus on our hearts as we work to make our home comfortable (not perfect!) for our guests.
This is where I offer a “bless your heart” and actually mean it Jennifer 🙂 I SOOOOO understand your pain – we are hosting my husbands sis this weekend and I want the house to be perfect… That dratted Martha clinging to my subconscious – grrr.
Love this – thank you so much Jennifer for hte perfect reminder which is so perfectly timed 🙂
Domestic Extraordinaire says
hopefully with all those people there you were able to enlist some extra hands and get your gazebo up before the week was over.