But really, those are mostly excuses. I didn't used to think I was a perfectionist, but the older I get, the more I believe I actually am. And because my home will never be perfect, well, I don't much like having people over.
Funny how having a baby has, at least, relaxed me a bit on things. Some of my former youth are home from college and want to stop by? Sure! I have a baby; surely they'll understand if things aren't freshly vacuumed. Someone wants to drop off food? Okay. The kitchen is a wreck, but I have a baby, and I don't always have time to get to things right away. (Truthfully, in that scenario, I truly was embarrassed, but we'd just come off of a really rough week and we'd barely been home, so I had to give myself a little grace on that one.)
|A $3 sale sheet purchased at IKEA makes an easy, inexpensive tablecloth for my oddly-sized table.|
But what really challenged me was our youth group. And the Super Bowl.
My husband is the (volunteer) youth minister at our church. Youth happens on Sunday nights. Because this is Texas and football is king, we always have a Super Bowl party on Super Bowl Sunday in place of regular youth. At someone else's house. But this year, none of our usual homes were available to host, so Steven was just going to cancel youth last night and let the kids go watch wherever they happened to be invited. The more I thought about that, the more it didn't sit well with me. Admittedly, I hate football, and cancelling youth for a game seemed wrong somehow, even if it was only a football-watching party (not spiritual development) that was being cancelled.
So, I told Steven we could have the party here. In our tiny house. (Most of the folks in our church have very large homes that are great for entertaining. We do not. Our house requires the rearrangement of furniture to house large groups.)
The funny thing is, I felt good about it. Not at all stressed, for once. I was strongly influenced by a book I'm reading right now called Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn. (I really recommend it, even though I'm only about 20% of the way through it.) He makes the point that if we're Christians, we're meant to use what we have for God's glory. From that I realized that I should be willing to open my home, whether it's perfect or not.
I think the students had a good time. We had tons of yummy food, and there was a lot of laughing and talking and just enjoying being together. Did anyone comment on the cracks in our walls? Well, yes, one kid did. (I cringe every time that happens.) But really, so what? Yes, our house has had problems. I shouldn't feel ashamed of it. And truthfully, in spite of all its issues, I like my home.
So I guess I can consider this a challenge to myself. How can I better show hospitality to those around me?