One of my girlfriends had an issue. One that I could relate to but not brave enough to admit.
She hesitated to welcome people into her home, because she felt her home wasn’t perfect. Even when she would venture out to have friends over, she wanted it all to be just right and that standard put her into a tizzy.
As she became aware of her issue, she resolved to make a shift. A shift that would change the projectory of her life:
She began to invite friends over for coffee or lunch yet intentionally leaving a few piles on the stairs or toys on the floor.
She invited them into her imperfection.
I soon was invited over to her imperfect, welcoming home. And true, there were things out of place and piles on the stairs. But, she wasn’t concerned about that any more. The shift had released her from the bounds of herself and opened her up to the opportunity to be open to others.
Eventually, she led the small groups in our Sunday School class inviting mass groups of us into her home for dinners and fellowships. And now… she and her family are on the mission field serving in a far away country. She learned the value, the beauty, and the purpose of a welcoming spirit and it changed her life.
What do we remain closed to in order to hide our imperfections?
Opportunities, relationships, experiences that would truly change our life?
Paul knew the value and power of a welcoming spirit.
“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 28:30-31
It was during or at the end of these two years that he wrote Philippians.
In Greek, welcome is not only hospitality, to open the doors and receive others into your home. Welcome also means to be open to others, to share of yourself, to not cave into your home because it’s too much effort to do anything else or you are fearful.
Just as Paul survived two years under house arrest (and many other more past and future difficulties) with gratitude (from last week) and openness (from today), we can survive our summer!
Here are a few ideas…
Summer Survival Project:
– Plan a playdate with others at least once a week. Go to the pool, the museum, the zoo, Chick-fil-a. Get out and be with others. Be wise about the balance of doing too much but be open to growing friendships for ourself and your kids.
– Do something nice for someone at least once a month. Involve your kids. Bake a batch of cookies for a neighbor. Take a friend’s children for the morning. Pick up someone’s pinecones. Go up to your school when the offices are open and bring donuts for the staff that are working through the summer. Invite a college student or family over for lunch after church on Sunday.
Try something that pushes you outside your comfort. Try something that exposes some imperfections. Push past being concerned with those things and focus on making others feel valued and loved.
Welcome others into your imperfection and see what God will do!