I’ve got three kids bent over Minecraft legos and three kids bent over a game of Memory and one kid still in the bed. The one in the bed is nearing fourteen and still just as skinny as a string bean. A strikingly gorgeous string bean, of course, but still a bean.
I’m sitting in the corner of my favorite room, in my favorite chair, with my favorite sparkling water in a can on the table beside me and I’m staring into all this life happening right in front of me feeling quite like I may spill all of my own beans right here on this screen.
That’s what some bloggers do, you know? We spill the beans. We over-share. We start talking and don’t know when to stop. We unearth the good, the bad and the ugly and we write it out in hopes that someone will raise their hand and scream ME TOO!
Yesterday, I found myself on the front porch, alone in the heat, and I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that something about my whole hospitality project was running off course. It was the 17th day of June, the 17th day of Preparing the Home, the 4th day of not hosting company in my home at 6:40 am, and the 3rd day of feeling like all I wanted to do was prepare my home for my family.
And no one else.
I’d ordered a rug for the front room to replace the rug ruined from 3 and a half years of too many feet trampling upon it and I was sitting out there on the porch trying to decide if I should hang navy buffalo check drapes in the same room with the new rug. I’ve wanted navy buffalo check drapes since 2008 and with the heat pouring in through the thin panes of window, I was in full on justification phase of the buffalo check drapes purchase.
We need them. They’ll keep the heat out and the cool in. My windows have been naked since 2012. I like them. I want more privacy. I’m embarrassed that I’ve had naked windows since we moved in. Jesus wants me to have them. They’re like a reward for living in a house with ugly windows. Jesus loves me and He wants to give me the desires of my heart and my desires are for navy buffalo check drapes.
Seriously, y’all. I’ve been thinking about these drapes since 2008, but thinking about these drapes has gone to a whole. ‘nother. level. since June 1 when I gave myself permission to prepare my home to receive my neighbors.
My rationale: Navy buffalo check drapes will make my home cozy thus making my neighbors want to linger over Styrofoam cups of Kool-Aid and Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies. And if my neighbors linger over Kool-Aid and Little Debbies, then they will come to follow Jesus and those drapes will have served their purpose.
I’m telling you people, The Hospitality Project has run off into the ditch at break-neck speed.
I have lost track of all things godly and equated drapes with people coming to Jesus over Little Debbies. My head has clearly rolled off in the ditch next to The Hospitality Project and my heart is running away with its idols under both arms.
And those idols?
My house. My windows. My new rug. My porch with the potted flowers. My picnic tables with the potted plants. My crappy backyard with the crappy back porch and the crappy fence.
Wait. There’s more.
My image of a clean house. My image of the perfect American backyard. My image of perfect neighbors and perfect meals shared over my picnic tables. My image of perfectly prepared food. My image of drinks shared on the front porch with old friends and new friends who love each other. My image of a perfect family.
There’s still more, but I’ll spare you.
Because here’s the deal: June has kicked me in the hiney.
Time spent thinking about preparing my home to receive others has simply illuminated the ugly truth that I care more about the way my home looks and feels and smells than I do about lowering its bar of entry low enough to welcome every person who comes into my home.
Knowing that hospitality is the overflow of a heart so full of Jesus that it can’t help but spill over onto others is one thing. Living that sort of hospitality is a whole other thing.
Living it means that all things are secondary to Jesus and people.
Living it means that you can hang drapes and buy rugs and pot flowers until you’re blue in the face as long as your heart is empty enough to hold Jesus and the people He sends your way.
And my heart is holding a whole lot of my house and some drapes, y’all.
Some navy buffalo check drapes to be exact.
Your turn. What is your heart holding today? I need someone to scream ME TOO!
*This is the second post in the second month of The Hospitality Project. This month is all about preparing the home. Preparing the home to receive others is good and right, it just can’t trump the heart preparation.