Some of you may have read last week's post and thought "what if hospitality isn't for me?" Well, you are the reason I scheduled this as the second post of the series (you're welcome). While most of the posts in this series will be about having people in your home or how to love people well through a meal or other forms of food goodness (because who doesn’t love food??), let’s pump the breaks for a minute to really define hospitality and punch some holes in some assumptions we have.
I think hospitality has been put in a box. When we picture "hospitality" most people think of having people in their home, cooking a meal, and creating this perfect atmosphere. While I do think that’s a fantastic way to show love, I believe that there are so many other facets that are not generally talked about or discussed.
I recently looked up synonyms for hospitality and found words like friendliness, neighborliness, kindness, warmth, helpfulness and generosity. All of these words are ones that shouldn't just be acted out inside the home. We are meant to be those words to everyone - everywhere. These words can play out in so many areas of our lives, meaning we have the chance to be "hospitable" in so many ways.
As I was putting together this blog post I started thinking about my friends and those I feel show hospitality in a wonderful way. I have a lot of friends that I would say are very hospitable people but not all of them involve dining in a friend's home. Let me give you a quick example.
When I first had Liam I couldn’t drive or lift anything because of my c-section. This was something I wasn’t anticipating and I had to ask for help all. the. time (something that was incredible humbling for me). One morning I had a friend offer to come over with breakfast, watch Liam so I could shower, and drive me to a pediatrician appointment. You guys. 1. I have all-star friends. 2. I cannot tell you how meaningful this was to me. She was being generous, friendly, neighborly, kind, warm, and basically every single word off the list. She was generously sharing her time (her day off, actually) with me. I look back on that as one of the most precious acts of kindness anyone as ever shown me. And I 100% believe that counts as hospitality.
You have to figure out what works for you. If you don’t like having a lot of people over, just invite one person or one couple over. If you don’t love having people over at all, invite someone to coffee instead (and pay for it!), take cookies to a neighbor, take a meal to a friend, offer to babysit so parents can have a date night, or take donuts to your coworkers. The list is endless. Don’t try and force something that isn’t you. For me, inviting people into my home brings me so much joy so it’s something I absolutely love. Find what brings you joy and serve others through it. We have all been gifted with unique gifts so we can all love on others in different ways - which is such a beautiful thing!
Now, if you do like inviting people over but have no idea where to start when it comes to ways to serve them and love on them, first just start by thinking about how you can make them feel special. What simple, practical things can you do to make them feel loved? There is no specific formula, but here are just a few things I came up with:
- Take their coats/jackets/purses
- Offer drinks
- Cook a meal or have people over later to just have dessert
- Ask intentional questions: How is your job going? What does a normal day look like for you? What did you do this weekend? The options are endless here, but ask questions that will allow you to get to know the person better - their interests, their work, etc.
- Relax! - This one isn’t always easy to do, but just relax and be yourself. Let loose and just enjoy the company you are in. People are more at ease when you are comfortable as well, so just relax and enjoy!
At the end of the day, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is to just serve others in a way that you enjoy. You do you. I would love to hear about different ways that you are choosing to be hospitable. Whether it be in your home or outside your home, I would love to hear your ideas! Comment below!