I am not sure where the excuse came from. You know the excuse of not being hospitable, not hosting, not inviting others to join you in life because it isn’t a “gifting”. The excuse of “Oh well, this spiritual gift test said I am not gifted in hospitality so I am off the hook.” WRONG!
As a Christian you are not off the hook. I will talk more of what the Bible actually says about hospitality in my vlog later this month. For now let’s talk about how we can be better at being hospitable so we can cultivate relationships. But first we need to talk about fear.
As I have worked through my own fears of relationship and doing things outside my comfort zone I have come to realize we all have the same fears. When it comes to hosting and inviting others in we fear judgement of our house. We may fear we have too little or not nice enough stuff to make others be comfortable. We fear our food will be horrible. We fear letting others see us outside our church persona. We fear people seeing the real us.
Let me ask you a question. Do you do all that when you are invited over? Do you judge? Are you ungrateful for the chair your sitting on or the food you are eating? Do you judge your hostess on her real life? Probably not. So why do we fear something that we ourselves do not do? It is because we project those fears onto others and think we know what they are thinking? Sure everyone will have that one Ms. Perfect in their lives that no one can please. But she isn’t the norm. At least I hope she isn’t the norm at your church. Most women just want to be invited. It shows that we care for eachother. It shows that we make time for one another. Let’s put our superficial fears aside and take that leap and invite.
How do you feel when you are invited over for coffee? If it is a new friend I feel nervous but I also feel loved. Wow! She wants to get to know me. She wants me in her life. Why wouldn’t you want to give that same gift to another woman? And you know what? It doesn’t have to be at your house. It can be at a coffee shop or a lunch date. But it still feels special to be asked.
Growing up we had a lot of people in and out of our house. And that was cool and all but the after church doughnuts were the best! You see, my dad loved going out after church for lunch. But because he was an electrical contractor we couldn’t always afford a lunch out so we went for doughnuts. This is one way my parents made friends. If there was a new couple at church they would invite them out with us. I heard some crazy stories over doughnuts. Stories of travels to Asia and Africa. Stories of journeys toward Christ. Stories of sadness and stories of laughter. But the one common theme was that people were so grateful to be asked. It didn’t matter that it was at a doughnut shop or an upscale restaurant. And it is the same with you. It isn’t going to matter how small your house is or how simple the table or if the venue is a doughnut shop with horrible ambiance. People are usually grateful for the invite.
But, Jamie, I am never. Why would I want to ask others? When I hear this I ask a few questions, especially to my introverts. Are you participating in small talk before and after church? Or are you closed off sitting in a corner with your attention on your phone, your “fussy” kid (they aren’t really fussy but you fuss over them to make yourself look busy), and all the while avoiding all eye contact? You can’t expect relationship to come if you’re closed off.
Do you attend any ladies events? Stepping out of your comfort zone in this area can really help you lock onto that one kindred spirit in your church. You must involve yourself. We attend a small church without a youth group. My daughter got involved in youth group at a church near us and then wanted to go to the Sunday evening service as well. Okay, that was a leap of faith for me. Talk about a hypervelating, anxiety inducing scenario. I hated it! But I loved my daughter and so went. After doing the phone thing for a few weeks I decided to step out and go to one of their Ladies Bible Studies, on my own, by myself, no one asked. Then I went out to lunch, knowing no one. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The first time I waited in my car for 15 minutes to see which ladies went into the restaurant. Just me in my car wanting to go home but knowing I should stay and eat a pizza. I am so glad I did stay! I have a group now on Sunday evenings. I have more ladies praying for our family. I am no longer that wallflower with her attention on her phone. I have relationship. This wouldn’t have happened if I just took the easy way out and said no.
Are you a no person? Have you been asked over and over but say no and thus other women have stopped asking? This is a hard one to admit. But if you are always saying no then eventually the offers will stop coming. Or maybe the offers have stopped coming because you don’t reciprocate either. Relationship is a two way street and if one person is doing all the heavy lifting that relationship will end.
Are you that woman who nitpicks at things when you do go? Again, another one that is hard to admit. This woman comments on how the food could have been better. This woman gives backhanded compliments like: “Oh the deviled eggs where great. I make mine with paprika and it really makes the flavor pop!” or “Lovely necklace, I would never wear something like that, but it looks great on you.” Don’t be this woman. You’re draining your relationships. Also if you know this woman love her. She is most likely putting on the show because she is so self defeated inside.
Then again it is possible that you are never asked. So here is the thing. You get to do the asking. I know, super scary and you may feel like vomiting right now. I have been there and still feel like running to the bathroom when getting together with someone new. But sometimes you just have to pick another woman and go for it. I have been picked and that friendship is one of my closest! Just do it!
Also, if you see a woman you would like to invite but think she won’t go ask anyway. There was a Moms’ Group that started at my friend’s house. I was working part time and didn’t get off until 6:30 and the group started at 7:30. These friends where sure I would say no and so put off asking. Not because they didn’t care but because they did care. They eventually did ask and I was thrilled! I worked it out with my husband to go directly to Moms’ Group after work. It was the Lord’s blessing that I worked just down the street from the host house and it was just once a month so I didn’t have to commit to being away from home more or miss out on other meetings. These women are my core and rock. I have no idea where I would be today without them. And it was all because they asked and I said yes.
So what is God asking you to do? Is He asking you to host something? Is He asking you to say yes? What is the fear that you need the Lord’s help to overcome? Take courage in the Lord, my friends, when it comes to developing a community. While the pains are hard now the treasure is worth it in the end.