Wednesday, July 4, 2007


I have a secret........although it's not a secret to my husband and kids. I struggle a great deal with hospitality. I can't stand to entertain in my own home. As our Lord's daughter, I feel like a great disappointment to Him in this area of my life! Privately, I'm just not a social person. This is kind of funny considering that I head up an entire Christian nursery school and seem to run into people I know wherever I go. I think God put me in this ministry on purpose. (Well, of course He fulfill His plan for me!)

Today we are preparing to have a cookout at our house with some friends. Because of our central location in town, we have always been the gathering place for the 4th of July. We can walk from our house over to the park to view the fireworks. My husband loves this because he enjoys entertaining! It started out that today was just going to be us and one other family of four. Now six other people are coming! With only the one family coming, I had planned on only doing a little cleaning up.......they know my house isn't always perfect. Since six more are coming, one whom I've never met, I felt like I needed to go into major overhaul! Part of the problem is that we've been cleaning out our attic and garage in order to have a yard sale in a few weeks. There were things all over our dining room! We had to move everything out to the garage. Unfortunately, our weather isn't too great today, so we may all be indoors. Hopefully, the fireworks won't be postponed. Then everyone will be hanging out at our house even longer! Aren't I terrible?! I'm so ashamed of myself! I am very aware that God calls us to be hospitable to one another.

It has taken me years to not feel put out when my kids have their friends over. Once again, the funny thing is that we seem to be the hang out house. I never know who is going to be here for lunch or dinner. I realize this is a good thing though. At least I know where my kids are, what they're doing, and I can minister to them and their friends.

So, am I the only one with this "secret", or are there others of you out there just like me? I would love to hear from those of you who have trouble with this like I do and from those of you who are naturally, beautifully hospitable. (Any tips, words of wisdom?)

Blessings to you all as you celebrate this Independence Day!


Kristina said...

Hello, I found your blog from your link at Frugal Fridays. I saw this post, and I wanted to let you know that I don't think you are a terrible person or a disappointment. God created everyone differently, and he doesn't expect us to all enjoy the same things. It sounds like you are introverted (energized by being alone). Some people love to entertain, and they are more extroverted (energized by being with a group). This is not the same thing as being shy or not shy, although you can be shy and introverted. Shyness is anxiety at being around people, and it seems like it would be hard to run a nursery school if you were shy. Introverted people are not very comfortable in groups, and spending time in social situations can be very draining. I think that social situations are different from something like running a nursery school, because in a nursery school there is a routine, and assigned roles and expectations that you don't have in an informal get-together. Because of those roles and routines, there isn't as much need for impromptu interaction (small talk, etc.), which I think is part of what makes groups of people tiring to introverts. It can take a lot of mental energy to think of things to keep a conversation going! If you think you are introverted, it can help to get at least a few short times to yourself during the day to regain some mental and physical energy to better handle being around others. Since you asked about others like you, my husband and I are both introverted (myself more than him), and we pretty much just stay at home by ourselves all the time. If we had some close friends that we felt comfortable with, we probably would invite them over occasionally, but unfortunately we don't have any friends yet where we live now (and we've been here 2 years). No one has invited us over either. We know a lot of people (church, work, other activities), but we don't know them very well. That can be an advantage of having one extroverted member of a couple - you are more likely to have friends to invite over! I think it would be good to have some close friends to spend time with, but I don't think I could ever be comfortable entertaining a large group at my house, and I'm okay with that because that's how I'm designed. Hospitality is the friendly treatment of guests or strangers, so there's a lot more to it than having a get-together. It could be having just one person over for tea. We see homeless people with signs for food at some highway exits, and we try to always give them food and a smile, and we are considering getting some food store gift cards to keep in the car to give to them also. I think that is also hospitality, and there are many other ways, like helping families you know who have a member that is ill. I hope this has given you some food for thought and has been encouraging to you!

Leslie said...

Thank you Kristina for your kind and wise words! I've always known that I'm an introvert, and although I run a nursery school, I do consider myself shy. If I have to get up in front of a group of parents and present a prepared talk, I'm okay, but if I have to do something off the top of my head, I struggle. I love your definition of hospitality! When looking at it that way, I realize that I am hospitable. My husband and I have moved several times during our 17 year marriage, and I have relished our times right after a move when we didn't know anyone but our immediate family. It was nice to be together alone! Now that our kids are older, however, I try to be more outgoing for them. Also, I think it's good that we show our kids how to get along with others and how to be a blessing to others. I think it's wonderful how you bless the homeless! Many years ago, I worked in D.C. and would walk by homeless people daily and never even look at them. Now that I'm a daughter of our Lord, I cringe at the thought that I used to be that way! Many blessings to you!