Food, glorious food.
Whenever I talk to people about why they have a hard time inviting people over, notably, someone always mentions food.
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?
– I don’t know what to serve.
– I’m not a good cook.
– What if they don’t like what I make?
– How will I ever have it all ready at the same time?
– It’s just too much work.
Right here is when we need to stop ourselves. Shut off those negative voices. Shut down the doubt and fear. Inviting people over isn’t about serving the perfect thing or impressing anyone with our culinary skills. It’s about opening up our lives to love others.
Of course, we want our guests to feel welcome and food plays a role in that, but my first word of encouragement comes in the form of a great, big K.I.S.S.
Have you ever heard that acronym? In 1960, the U.S. Navy began using it as a design principle: “Keep it simple, stupid.” They wanted to stress the importance that systems work best if kept incredibly simple by avoiding unnecessary complexities. There have been many other variations of this acronym created over the years, and since I’ve attempted to eradicate the word “stupid” from our home, I landed on my own version:
Keep it simple and sweet (or salty)!
This is what I want every single one of you to remember as you invite others into your home: K.I.S.S.
When we over think, over plan, and over stress about opening our door to others, we overwhelm ourselves and often sabotage our intended baby steps before we take them.
The secret to K.I.S.S. is to start small. Be spontaneous. Invite one friend over for coffee and offer delicious store-bought coffee cake. If you have time to make your favorite homemade recipe, that’s wonderful, but don’t let that dictate whether you extend an invitation.
In my book, Open Door Living: Easy Ways to Share the Gift of Hospitality, I share many easy options where I’ve implemented the K.I.S.S. concept. Here are a few simple suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:
– Pizza Party — everyone loves pizza!
– Invite your friends or neighbors to a root beer float party.
– Send a group text invitation for a “Popsicle and Pop-in” time with the kids.
– Host a “Build Your Own ________ Bar” meal. Be creative! You can have a build-your-own ice cream bar, baked potato bar, burrito bar, or pizza bar. For a fancier occasion, try a bruschetta bar or mashed potato bar (served up in martini glasses for a dramatic flair). These work well for large groups, and everyone can bring a topping, which means minimal work and cost for the host.
Recently, I chatted with Becky Keife about these ideas and more. Take a listen:
Opening your door doesn’t require you to be a gourmet chef or have the resources to throw an elaborate celebration. All that’s required is a willingness to say yes to inviting others into your life. What is one simple step you can take this week to open your door to a friend or neighbor? Use one of my suggestions above or dream up an idea that fits your family and personal flair. Just remember to keep it simple and sweet!
What fun to think who we could bless this week with a commitment to K.I.S.S.!
This was an excerpt from the new book Open-Door Living: Easy Ways to Share the Gift of Hospitality. This book is full of easy, practical how-to tips for living an open-door life. From food and recipes to cleaning and creating conversation, it’s all in here!
For an even deeper look into this brand-new gift book, sign up for this five-day email series from Jen and (in)courage! We will send you five days of content just like this, including several free printables. Whether you’re a seasoned host looking for renewed inspiration or a nervous newbie not sure where to begin, this email series will give you fabulous, practical ideas anyone can implement! And the best part? We can do it together. Sign up below for the series, then leave a comment that you’re ready to “open your door” to your friends and family. We’ll be here with you.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
As always, great ideas! Root beer float party takes me back to when I was a kid – how fun! I find that I calm down about showing hospitality when I take the “I” and “Me” out of it. “I” am not a good cook. What are they going to think of “My” house. What if what “I” serve is a flop? Shifting the focus from me turns entertaining into hospitality. Hospitality says, “Come on in…how are “You” doing? What can I get for “You”. Fill me in on what’s going on in “Your” life. I find that someone can serve me a PB&J sandwich, but if it’s served up with love and a genuine interest in making me feel welcome and comfortable, then that’s the heart of hospitality. Thanks for taking the fear out of welcoming others to our home.
Yes, it’s all about switching that narrative isn’t it? That’s been a powerful understanding for women as they read JOTD. Instead of the “Here I am” host, we becoming the “There YOU are” one that sees their needs.
Anytime I make it about me, I remember that very switch. IT changes everything.
Michele Morin says
One of my favorite “open the door” times is during strawberry season. There’s nothing like strawberry shortcake made with fresh biscuits and PLENTY of whipped cream. We’ve done this for so many friends and family, and it’s minimal work–maximum fun!
GAIL Hinson says
Great idea, Michelle!
Michelle – how true it that!!! And it would be fun to go pick together and then eat the rewards. 🙂
Beth Williams says
My motto is “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here”. You won’t find perfection , but plenty of love. Hospitality Jesus style isn’t about us & our homes. It’s about showing kindness & care to others. My pastor’s wife has holiday get togethers with friends & people form church alone on holiday. It is a potluck. Everyone makes a dish or two & we all gather around the table & share life. It is a great time, plus we all can take some home. We need to get the focus off us & onto others. So many people want friendships. Yet they aren’t willing to take that first step. Get out of our comfort zone, quite looking at Pinterest & just be yourself. Heck you could easily start by having one friend over for a drink & small chit chat. It can go from there. When Jesus was at the home of Mary & Martha He wasn’t worried about all the cooking/meal planning. He was more interested in having them sit by Him & listen. He never wanted fancy, elaborate meals. Just time with people. That’s the spirit of hospitality!
You are so right. Initially, Martha Steward would definitely not be a fan of most of my hospitality, but I think as she hung around, she might relax and really begin to enjoy herself. 🙂
Kathy Cheek ~ First Breath of Morning says
I am convicted this morning that I need to keep it simple in so many areas of my life that I have been fretting about lately, and not just how to do hospitality, although this is a very important one. It is a great stress saving guideline today, thank you! I am going to work on keeping it simple today.
Sue Newell says
December 2018 I invited my Hearts and Hands craft for community group to my house. I had 2 crock pots of soup ready…..vegetable and potato. I provided the greens and dressing for a salad bar and the ladies brought toppings for the salads. It was so easy and so much fun!
Joan Moore says
Great post! I have often said “if they are coming to inspect the house, they are not true friends”. By all means we need to get the focus off of “US” and focus on “HIM” and Others!!! Start small and simple and grow from there.
Pearl Allard says
Jennifer, I love this and found that God helped me do just that the other day (despite myself)! Spontaneously, my kids wanted to invite friends over. I’ve been praying for good friends for my kids for so long I knew I couldn’t stand in the way of God answering my prayer just because I felt it was inconvenient timing. Long story short, the house could not have looked worse! A huge fort took up half one room, pieces of games were strewn everywhere, dirty dishes were piled sky high, the floor was a disaster, and the whole place looked like we’d been robbed. But the kids had a great time, and the cups of water the mom and I shared were sweet over a genuine getting-to-know-you conversation. I’m grateful for gracious guests! But how do you deal with guests who come with unrealistic expectations? Like, I’ve actually scoured my home top to bottom and bent over backwards to do the best I can with food but it’s still never enough? I’ve been struggling with this…
First, I am cheering you on as you open your home to your kids’s friends. Honestly, that has been our family’s biggest source of kingdom work through hospitality is offering a safe place that points kids to Him. Many don’t have that modeled at home. And they never care.
Second, expectations. I call those my “sandpaper” type of guests. They refine me and make me more like Jesus and honestly, I realize that there are typically deeper issues going on with them that I don’t know about (or at least I tell myself that.) So struggle away because I’ve been there too. They are my “uncomfortable yes” so I open the door, but depending on the background story and whether or not they are believers, it may not necessarily be often or even again.
Nancy Ruegg says
I love your ideas, Jen! And once our guests experience no-fuss hospitality, they’ll feel more comfortable providing the same.