Hospitality in a Less-Than-Perfect House

I am so grateful for the house my husband and I own. We are blessed to have a home we can afford that is cozy and has every feature we need. Though we are quite pleased with it, you’ll never see it grace the cover of a home decorating magazine. Why? There is nothing remarkable about the architecture of the house, certain features disclose the age of the property, and many of our walls are bare as they await the purchase or creation of creative wall hangings. Moreover, we have a tight budget, so our furnishings, while sufficient and comfortable, tend to be humble.

Have you ever felt insecure about certain features of your home? These insecurities can impede hospitality. Try these tips for feeling more confident.

Despite these lackluster qualities, we believe it is beneficial to have guests over to share meals and fellowship. Due to my human nature—notably pride—I sometimes feel insecure when guests are coming over. Will they notice the mismatched serving dishes? Are they bothered by the exposed pipes under the bathroom sink? As I think about it right now, these concerns seem trivial. There are times, though, that they feel significant. Thus, I’ve been searching for some encouragement.

Inspiration for hospitality in a less-than-perfect house

  • Hospitality is not about the features in a house, home décor, or cooking abilities. Hospitality is about opening your home to others, whether invited or uninvited, to minister to them and fellowship with them.
  • A simple home with a low-maintenance environment can actually help facilitate hospitality. It is easier to handle spills and lots of traffic Door with bannerwith furniture and carpet if you are not worried about damaging expensive or irreplaceable items. Additionally, wall hangings and knickknacks don’t have to be designer pieces. They don’t even have to be well coordinated. If these pieces illustrate something about you—your heritage, where you’ve traveled, gifts from loved ones—then they are a way to share about your family with your guests.
  • Ask the Lord to help you focus more on people than on things or tasks. Pray the Lord will help you focus on your guests and not on less consequential matters such as imperfections in your house. Engage your guests in meaningful conversation to keep the attention on your interactions.
  • If there are aspects of your home you’d like to deemphasize, try distracting attention away from them instead of covering them. If you attempt to hide imperfections, such as a stain on the carpet or chipped dishes, you might actually draw more attention to them. Try emphasizing a lovely feature that might draw attention away from the imperfections instead. You can create a nice centerpiece, light some candles, or use accent lighting to create a point of interest away from an unsightly feature.
  • Keep the images you see on design shows, in magazines, and on Pinterest in perspective. You know those beautiful table spreads that are featured? Why do you think they are there? They weren’t selected because they are typical or easy to replicate. They have some characteristic that makes them remarkable. That’s why they were eye catching and selected to be featured. Don’t feel like these are the norm. Your home doesn’t have to look like them to be welcoming.

These encouragements have helped me in those moments when I’ve felt insecurities regarding having company over. I’m so glad I moved beyond the insecurities because my husband and I have had wonderful times of fellowship with guests in our home. I’d hate to miss out on the laughter, the edification, and the “iron sharpening iron” moments due to concerns about features that are ultimately insignificant.

Have you ever felt insecure about having guests in your home? What has helped you get over your insecurities?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Saturday Soiree, Think Tank Thursday, Coffee and Conversation, Tuesday Talk, Titus 2sday, Living Proverbs 31, Welcome Home Wednesdays, Thrive @ Home, and Essential Fridays.

Comments

  1. I have always thought of you as one of the most hospitable people that I know! The home we shared in college was the most welcoming one I shared with anyone because of the love that filled it. Also, the time that I spent in your house while Levi was in the hospital reminded me again of your gift for hospitality, as I experienced deep rest, and comfort in your home!

    • Thanks, Kelley. That is the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a while.
      Preston and I truly believe we are stewards of what God has given us (as opposed to simply “owning” things). I’m pretty sure this is your perspective, too, as I’ve known you to open up your home on a number of occasions.
      I pray God continues to give us willing hearts to bless others with our homes.

  2. Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I love how you placed the emphasis on interaction not only perfection. When we get so caught up in everything looking perfect and being completely spotless, I feel like this detracts from the purpose of entertaining in the first place – to extend the love of Christ through inviting people to share in home and heart.

    • Thanks, Hannah! I love how you define the purpose of entertaining: to extend the love of Christ through inviting people to share in home and heart.

  3. I have been raised in house that does not see many guests. My mom does it because of her pride and the rest of us just don’t like people in our space. I have a concern that when I move out, I will carry this with me. Thank you for the encouragement. I think hospitality is very important as Christians and as women.

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Lexie,
      I agree that hospitality is important as Christians and as women. One great thing about hospitality is that you can ease into it with baby steps.
      Start by having just one person over and doing something simple. You can have more people over and be more extravagant once you’re comfortable.
      Your awareness that you may carry with you from childhood a lifestyle that doesn’t include hospitality tells me that you’re in a great place to be intentional about growing in hospitality.
      Grace as you continue to grow!

  4. Such a great reminder! It’s so easy to compare my home with all those Pinterest pics and feel like it’s unworthy for guests. In reality, true hospitality starts in my heart! Glad to find your blog through Gospel Homemaking today!!

  5. I love this. I have written about similar things myself. It’s easy to be put off from showing hospitality by thinking our homes, cooking, etc aren’t up to scratch. But it’s the company and the love that matters. Thanks for such a good reminder.

    I linked here from Thrive at Home Linkup and thought you might want to link this post at the linkup I host called Essential Fridays.

    http://www.essentialthingdevotions.com

    I’m sure my readers would love to see this!

    Blessings.

  6. Thank you for the thoughts and encouragement to be hospitable… even when things aren’t perfect. My nature is to be very “Martha-ish”. Even just today my hospitable husband invited some folks over… and I was cranky about it. I need to let the Lord change me!

    Thank you for sharing!

  7. What a great reminder and challenge. We women can be so insecure and afraid of being compared to others and yet, God says to be hospitable……NOT just when our house is perfectly done. It does take submitting that pride to Him…..I also find that when I have been in some homes….even when things were not done well….the sincere caring of the hostess made those things unimportant. Can we be that caring when we are worrying about what people will think? Hmmm. Thank you for the post. 🙂 Gentle Joy

    • You make a great point. When I leave someone’s home, it’s the fellowship and caring of the host that I remember, not if the house was perfect.

  8. Such a great reminder. The homes I have felt the most welcomed in weren’t always the ones that looked perfect, more often they are the ones that are clearly lived in and have lots of fun and love.

  9. Hello! I found your via the Tuesday Talk link up. This is a fabulous post. I fight an internal battle about how I should present my house to others. My upbringing of “everything in its place” plus comparing myself to my friends’ well kept homes don’t let me enbrace my God given home. It’s not perfection, but it’s not unsanitary either. I need to rethink my thinking. Thank you. Have a great day. I am off to explore more of your blog.

    • Hi Laurie,
      I’m so glad you visited and took the time to comment!
      I’m glad you mentioned how your upbringing has an impact on how you think you should present your house to others. I don’t think about this influence often, but it really does impact how we view this. Grace as you grow in embracing your home!

  10. Well, hello again! I clicked over from Coffee & Conversation because hospitality is NOT my area of giftedness–and found myself at one of my new favorite blogs…yours! 🙂 You nailed my issue when you said “Ask the Lord to help you focus more on people than on things or tasks.” This is what I must do. I need to keep your list in my back pocket as I get ready to host my in-laws for Thanksgiving. Thank you for guiding me along!

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      I’m glad to hear this was relevant to you. Hosting in-laws can be especially intimidating! I hope some of the items on this list help you have a peaceful, people-focused Thanksgiving!

  11. Hospitality is such a weak area for me! Bad memories from a childhood have plagued me and has made it very challenging to invite people over. I tend to focus on making my house picture perfect. Its something I’m trying to work on but still have a long ways to go! I love this reminder – Ask the Lord to help you focus more on people than on things or tasks. Thanks!

    • I still have a long way to go, too, Anastasia. We’ll just keep asking the Lord to help us focus on people and He will help us get stronger in the area of hospitality!

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