Open House

cupboard-by-waferboard-flickr

By Waferbord via Flickr

Yesterday, we were out on a walk in our neighborhood, enjoying the rare Northwest springtime sunshine, and we came upon an open house.  Being nosy neighbors, and thinking about buying a home of our own in the near future, we decided to take a peek inside.

Having never owned a home or experienced our own open house, I’ve always wondered what it’s like for home owners to invite strangers into their place to peek into their closets and stare into their cupboards.

I found myself looking in the pantry at this open house, noticing how organized everything was.  There were separate Tupperware containers for everything.  It actually made me a little self conscious of my pantry at home, which has things precariously stacked atop each other (Dan loves to make fun of my haphazard clothes pin usage to seal things).

Ironically, later that same day, we went to the evening service at our church and got a sermon on hospitality.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t ironic but God’s perfect timing.

Naturally, God convicted me about my attitude.  I worry about what people think of my cupboards, my closets, and the cleanliness of my floor, and it keeps me from having people over more regularly.  Because I know that there’s going to be a lot of cleaning involved beforehand.

I think it’s partly because I’m comparing myself to some sort of design magazine standard, and it’s partly my own insecurity.

pantry-by-playingwithbrushes-flickr

By PlayingwithBrushes via Flickr

When I’m at friends’ homes, I honestly don’t notice what their floors look like, and I’ve never thought about how their cupboards look. But of course, I always imagine that they’re evaluating mine.

God is working on my heart.  And I’m thankful that each day, he’s showing me a new way that I can grow and be more like Jesus.

I have a lot to learn in this department.  And I’d love any suggestions for those of you with the gift of hospitality, or people who have also struggled with this issue and have grown with God’s help.

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This may sound a bit weird, but lately I have realized that my trouble with hospitality is that my house is too clean. It’s a matter of pride for me.

    I realized this when a good friend came over unexpectededly the other day and said “Wow, I’m so relieved to see your house a bit messy! I have always felt intimidated when I come over because you are able to keep everything so perfect, even with a baby, and I can barely keep up on the basic chores.”

    When she said this I knew keeping my house pristine is a matter of pride for me. I want people to think that I’m better than them because my life is so orderly. I use my home as a way of convincing them of that. Before that, it was my personal appearance.

    I want to set aside this pride so that when people come over they feel like they are stepping not just into my home but into my life and my heart, which is not perfect. That means not being so OCD about how things look and repenting of the power trip I have going on in my heart.

    But, I do think God is really growing me in the area of hospitality. I used to really grumble when I had to host something because it invaded into my personal space and time. God has given us a home that is great for hosting and along with that He is giving more and more a desire to invite people in to love on them.

    AL: Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on this and how God is working on your own heart in this way. I love, love your point about people coming into your home and seeing it as a representation of your life and heart, which isn’t perfect…which of course, is a gospel witness right there. If we’re perfect, of course we don’t need Jesus. We who know we desperately need Jesus often make no sense when we try to act like we’ve got it all put together. One of the wonderful ironies of life.

  2. I have this same struggle as you! I could have written this post myself. 🙂

    AL: It’s so good to hear that I’m not the only one who thinks this way. =)

  3. For awhile we made it a practice to invite people to join us for a meal on Friday night, as the Jewish people that we know do. Once we got the hang of just targeting Friday night for having people over, it started to be no big thing.

    Of course I have also noticed over the years that if I want guest to just drop by, all I have to do is leave socks on the floor and let the whole house go to rack and ruin…then the doorbell never stops ringing!

    AL: Isn’t that the truth! What a great idea, making it a habit to be regularly hospitable! I’ve wondered of hosting a community group or bible study at our home would accomplish the same thing. Some friends of mine host bbqs on the same evening in the week each summer. Makes sense.

  4. Great post Amy. I just read a post on Active and Passive Hospitality over at the Desiring God blog. I thought you might enjoy it: http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1737_Dont_Just_Be_Passively_Hospitable/

    AL: Thanks for the link! That was a good post by DG. I love the verse they reference!

  5. Great Blog, Amy. So much goes into our ‘comfort zone’
    in entertaining and visiting friends. One time I was expecting a large group for the evening and I was ripping around the house trying to get everything ‘nice’…and I ran out of time. So I skipped one job – the bathroom tub. And it really needed some attention.
    But no one was going to see it- so it went uncleaned.
    The whole dumb house was clean, except the tub. The guests arrive and Rick started talking about bathrooms.
    You can guess where this is headed. Yep, 8 people in the bathroom looking at the tub. I laugh now, but it wasn’t very funny at the time. It’s now time for a middle-ground attitude, with more time for the important things.

    AL: That cracked me up. It goes to show you that you can obsess about the details, but you can’t anticipate everything. And do you really want to? I have a fun pin on my facebook corkboard that says “A clean house is a sign of a boring life.”


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