We are hosting our church small group at our home on Sunday night for the first time so I started thinking about where everyone would sit which made me think about moving somewhere that has a larger living area because that’s what hospitality is about—having a large space for people to gather.
When I realized I couldn’t move before Sunday, I started thinking about rearranging the living room. My husband and son graciously helped me move everything around and switch some things out between our downstairs living room and our upstairs den. Two of the chairs and the cocktail table in the photo above were in different locations before now, but I think it all works together. I’m kind of amazed that we can fit this much seating in our space. We’ll see how it goes when our friends are here. I’m sure it will be fine.We’ve been in this condo for two years and I’m still getting used to having less space for those we welcome into our home. I tell myself (and others) to pretend we’re in New York City because most people living there would be thankful for this much space.
I also want to have a happy hour open house for all of our condo neighbors whom we pass by and chat with in the courtyard but still don’t know very well. Not having a lot of space has been holding me back, even though knowing our neighbors and opening our home to others have always been priorities for my husband and me. Maybe it’s time to just let it roll, extend the invitation, and be open to everyone being a bit crowded as we fill the living room and the dining area and the tiny kitchen. Maybe it’s time to welcome others and trust God with the details and outcomes.
I recently read Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness by Leslie Verner which is available for pre-order now and comes out on August 13, 2019. Verner writes about welcoming others into our homes and lives in ways that give me hope. I’ve read so many books on hospitality and community over the past 20 years or so and I have to say Invited is a refreshing take on the topic. Verner includes stories and examples from her time in other countries and cultures that add a lot of depth and give readers more to consider beyond our typical familiarities.
One of my favorite chapters is Habits of Hospitality. Here’s a quote:
Inviting others into our home and life splits open a larger work of God in the world. Like the Israelites who dipped their toes to cross (Joshua 3:14-17), our responsibility is to make the move and ask… And after we ask someone into our lives, God hauls other obstacles out of our way one by one. God pulls up our perfectionism, limited resources, pride, insecurities, reservations, awkwardness, and loneliness and clears the way for us to relate to one another on solid ground.
Verner’s words encourage me to be more open to God removing my perfectionism, insecurities, and everything else that wants to intrude on my time with my friends Sunday night. They also help me know I’m not alone in my struggles. I’m not the only person who gets distracted and sometimes loses focus on the goal of welcoming others—nurturing relationships and making space for people.
I’m excited about having a full house Sunday night. And I’m looking forward to other opportunities to invite others into our home. I may just pull out my calendar and figure out when we can host that happy hour open house.