I just want to be clear: I am the kind of person that cares what people think. When people come into my home, I'd prefer that they would take one good look around and say to themselves, "WOW! Noelle has really got her life together!"
The problem is that I don't.
I am not just talking about cooking, cleaning, and home decorating. So what if you discover that I am terrible at staying on top of my laundry? I can live with that. What I don't want you to find out is that...
- My husband and I fight sometimes.
- My kids don't always get along or obey.
- I start screaming when we are running late to anything.
- I struggle with anxiety.
- I forget to pay bills on time.
- I'm on my phone way too much.
- I'm always trying to lose weight but never trying hard enough.
- I don't always get to my "quiet time" with Jesus everyday because busyness or Netflix gets the priority. (cue: shock and horror from reader)
These are just some of the things I would prefer to keep from you when you are a guest in my home. Like shoving the miscellaneous clutter into a junk drawer or a spare closet...I want to hide the hot mess of my life to give the appearance of a picture perfect life.
The desire to appear perfect keeps me from being hospitable.
I don't mind "entertaining" because when I am "entertaining", I can play the part of the perfect host, wife, mother, domestic goodness, and "spiritual" person. I can let you see what I want you see. I have constructed the parameters of which I will "let you into" and you get a piece of my real life but... heavens, no... you won't get to see ALL of my real life. I can get away with a lot of "pretending" with social entertaining but I can't be insincere with hospitality.
Hospitality is letting people into your hot mess.
It's letting people see the real me...the unedited, unfiltered version of my life. It's being willing to invite people to my table even though I know my table is far from perfect. I might not have the finer things of life...or a Pinterest-worthy home... or the perfect marriage... or children that sing "Kumbaya" on cue... but I still have an open place at my sticky, crumb-infested table for a person who needs to somewhere to belong.
Hospitality is saying, "There is room for you here. It's a hot mess but your welcomed to be here."
The mistake I have made over and over again is that I assume people want perfect. I assume people want to be inspired by my excellent life skills (or so I pretend to posses). I assume people are looking for me to have it all together but -
The truth is that people feel most at home with what they can relate to...and nobody can relate to perfect.
There is no need to "wow" folks when it comes to hospitality. The only requirement of hospitality is to make others feel "welcomed". And I can do that. I can make folks feel important and wanted. I can be a listening ear, an encouraging voice, a helping hand... a friend who is there... hot mess and all.
In the end, we all need to a place to belong.