I don’t want us to miss out on the one-on-one potential we set in motion each time we open our door to someone.
When we shatter the image of needing a model home and a model life and replace it with an everyday invitation that begins by simply being the person you already are, walls of comparison begin to fall. By welcoming our guests with whatever resources we’ve already been given, assuring them they’re welcome just as they are (and we offer the same), true community begins to foster.
Open-door living isn’t just about the setting, the guest list, or the food. The atmosphere can be exactly the same yet have very different results based on the heart attitude of the one who welcomes. With this in mind, I begin by reminding myself of the goal: to create a special place where people are welcomed into community and can encounter Jesus more fully.
It’s about pointing others to Him.
When my heart is right, I can then turn to creating a welcoming atmosphere.
Stimulating the senses is a wonderful way to experience life and communicate love. Our senses hold strong triggers, so engage them around your home. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Play a CD or your favorite playlist softly in the background.
- For décor, focus on one small area in your house. I typically decorate my table or kitchen island since that is where people gather the most. Remember, K.I.S.S. — keep it simple and sweet. Don’t overthink this and put unnecessary expectations on yourself. Your guests aren’t coming to be dazzled by your home décor; they’re coming to spend time with you. Shop your yard and house. Unless you are hosting a bridal shower or some other special event, a simple, welcoming tablescape is a special touch. No need to purchase anything new; use what you already have on hand. I start by cutting blooming flowers or greenery from my yard and then adding them to mason jars or baskets. If you live in the city, an inexpensive bouquet of wildflowers is a pretty touch.
- Candles and white lights. Since I believe white lights and candles make any room magical, I’ll always scatter votive candles on the table or string white lights if we’re having an outdoor picnic. And yes, even if I’m hosting smelly teen boys for pizza and serving it on paper plates, I still light the candles. Every. Single. Night. Candles cultivate beauty every time.
- Throws and pillows! Our furniture leans towards the “well-loved” (aka old and worn out) side, and I’m all about making our living areas cozy. I use textured blankets and throws to spruce up old furniture and I invest in a few, fun accent pillows to liven up the room.
The space you live in – flaws and all – is a gift . . . a gift to be shared!
Cultivating a welcoming space doesn’t have to take a lot of money, just a little intentionality. And that’s something we’ve all got. Recently, I chatted with (in)courage Community Manager Becky Keife about these ideas (and more!) Take a listen:
You have what it takes to create a beautiful space of welcome right where you are with exactly what you have. Lean into the creativity!
– Jen Schmidt
This was an excerpt from Jen’s 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.
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Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I never would have done this years ago, but 3/4 of my kitchen floor is ripped up, as are the hardwoods in my power room and the “throne” is missing (burst water pipe), but I’ve welcomed friends into my home for coffee. It’s only taken almost 60 years, but I am learning to “get over myself” lol. Entertaining is all about me, my house, my culinary skills. Hospitality is about the person/people I’ve invited, their lives, their need to be loved. Jesus stepped into messy situations and pointed people to His Father. Can I not invite people into my mess, and point them to Jesus? I think I can…great reminder this am.
I am ready to open my door, especially this summer as we are having a wedding here come September. I need to be ready to open and invite all who may never have been here before with the way it is.
Michele Morin says
“Your guests aren’t coming to be dazzled…”
Yes! Celebrating dazzle-free hospitality here on this country hill!
Having a guest this very morning and praying it goes well!!
thankyou for keeping us grounded. I too believe we can introduce people to Christ in the simplest ways in a simple area. I’m very sure the upper room where the apostles met was not beyond fancy in decor. Jesus did alot of his ministry walking in nature along the shores or on a hill…no fancy couches needed !!
the best and most relaxing visits I have had were at an old picnic table with lemonade.
I appreciate your message …its about Christ and having others introduced to him.
May the big fancy churches find this revelation !!
Barbara Schult says
I hope to move soon into my own place, and I plan to invite lots of new people that I haven’t even met yet! The (in)courage online study we did this spring has encouraged me SO much – thank you!
I would love to start this. We have been fixing the back yard snd the family room to create a welcoming feeling. Trying to get last
Minute things done.
Lynn J Kidd says
I’m ready to get ready to open doors!!
Beth Williams says
Jen & In Courage,
Lisa-Jo in her book “The Middle Matters” talks about the first house she & hubby bought. She saw it as a gift from God. One that needed to be shared often. She & hubby open their home to kids, friends & a Tuesday night church group. She finds it is a quick & easy way to get to know people deep down. I agree. We get to see the everyday you in sweatpants & T-shirt. My pastor & his wife open their home to others on holidays for meals. They call it a potluck. It is a multitude varying in age, marriage, life stages. We all eat & have good conversation. It is a wonderful way to celebrate a holiday that otherwise would be celebrated alone. You are spot on with the idea that the home & all its furnishings is a gift from God. That gift should be shared with others. It is what Jesus would do.