Have you ever gone through a season in your life where you worked out consistently and become really strong or fast? And then something happens that takes you away from exercising regularly? When you return to the practice, you discover that all your muscles have atrophied, and you can no longer perform at the level you once could. Do you know that feeling?
Replace “working out and muscles” with “hospitality and hosting people in my home,” and you will get the idea of where this confession is heading.
I am out of hospitality shape.
For thirteen years, and five of those with a white-hot intensity and fervor that was fueled by unknown forces and sheer will, my family and I lived and breathed hospitality. It was a way of life, and I got very good at the execution. My home was always ready, dinner was always available to anyone who wanted to join, our guest room was actively occupied, and hosting people in our home was like breathing.
I was so good at it, and so inspired by the process, that I built a business around this idea.
Fast forward six years later, with the business up and running, and I find myself one hundred percent lost when it comes to practicing hospitality in my own home.
I have granted myself a lot of grace. Starting a business is no joke. It’s like having triplets, and it required all of my physical and emotional energy. There was nothing left to offer anyone. Having someone over to dinner after working fifteen hours is an insurmountable task, and keeping a home that is equipped to welcome others without much notice is so ridiculous it’s laughable.
I have enough muscle memory that I can throw together a family birthday meal or a weeknight dinner for my kids and husband, but there is no room left for really engaging in the process of creating space with any sort of intentionality or attention to detail, which are both huge tenants of how I long to live.
The reality of my atrophied condition first struck me when our church began to host monthly dinners for college students. I felt ashamed that we weren’t participating. I felt like a fraud. I was worried that someone would put two and two together and call me out. “Hey you, I see that you’re passionate about hospitality, but why aren’t you practicing it?” Of course, no one did. Shame is an evil monster that thrives in the darkness of our own hearts.
When I verbalized the way I felt to my husband, he agreed with the sad reality, but not the shame. We both knew there was a time in our history when we would have been the first name on the list to volunteer, hosting multiple times at least, but now, we hadn’t even discussed it as an option.
I felt pricked. I let go of the shame, but I held on to the part that spoke a hard truth to me. I wanted to return to my roots. I had a desire to relearn and retrain myself in the practice of hospitality at home so that I could begin to align my own life with the mission of my business. I wanted to be strong and fast again.
So this is my confession and my resolution. I have gotten bad at hospitality at home, but my heart is excited and ready to make a change. I am motivated and taking action to return the practice into my own home, and to find the routine that I remember from years ago when our door was always open, there were always extra seats at the dinner table, and we welcomed the chance to host others in our space.
Will you come along with me? I am planning on taking notes as I reengage with the nuts and bolts of how to live a life centered around hospitality, and I am eager to share them with you.