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Hospitality Thoughts

I posted my thoughts about Hospitality every day this week on Instagram. You can follow me and my adventures there @jlikestogo.

Hospitality has been extended to me around the world. It might look different in every place we sit, but if we think about it – isn’t it about the people sitting across from us, beside us and around us? Isn’t it about welcoming and interacting with others? Opening the doors of our hearts, souls and thoughts is something we all know, but sometimes they drift closed and we haven’t even realized we’ve shut the gift of hospitality out. I hope you enjoy these thoughts and subscribe to my blog to be sure to receive the next post coming soon!

Revelation 3:20-21 “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.” The Message

As with most conversations I have with myself, the time I’ve spent this week contemplating hospitality led me to the Bible. I want to understand from God’s perspective what that looks like. And then . . . I realize all conversations lead back to our heart condition. And then . . .  another layer peels back and I realize I can talk about hospitality all day long and practice what we’ve talked about but if it doesn’t begin deep in the desires of our hearts, we miss a lot of the beauty of it. God created us with a desire of community. We have inside us a deep desire to be in community with God. We name it all kinds of things. We know there are holes that we just can’t seem to satisfy – nothing we try can fill them. We know they are there but we don’t quite know what to do with them. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s my life experiences. But I have been watching God fill the holes in me. Some of them would only hold a puddle now instead of a bottomless pit.  And I know one thing – opening my heart and letting God in has led me to incredible experiences. It’s been my most rewarding experience of hospitality. 

Continuing our conversation about hospitality – Do you ever consider how we use our words? Are they welcoming? Are they interactive? Do they reflect kindness, gentleness and love? Or – Do we use them as a weapon? Are they our weapon of choice? bringing destruction and imposing our version of cruelty on the unfortunate ears that hear. Over the years I’ve noticed there is a difference between talking “at” people in conversation and talking “to” people in conversation.

When we talk “at” people, it is without any regard or respect to their intellect, their feelings or their hearts. When we do that it is demeaning and feels critical to that person as though they aren’t  smart enough or that they have nothing to contribute to the conversation. If we counted how many times the word “I” slipped out of our mouths, I believe we would be shocked.

When we talk “to” people we engage them. We look in their eyes and follow the clues we see there. A formula I’m working on implementing in my own life is remembering to ask questions.

Always fearful of forgetting what line of thinking I’m following, I’ve become aware of plowing through the clues to finish my own thought.

I’m working on two changes here. One – I ask God to help me remember that line as the other person speaks and two – I realize I’m receiving more clues from the other person and the conversation is deepening and becoming richer.

Just some thoughts about being hospitable in conversation. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. With grace and peace to you today, Janet.

“It’s chai time” is heard several times a day in India and the Middle East This particular day our hosts were Syrian refugee women in Mafraq, Jordan. A small city less than 5k from the border of Syria. We entered their home with a member of the local church who had been visiting regularly with the family. Sitting on the floor we visited and played with the children while our leader talked with the women. He told a little about us and then shared some of their stories with us. They politely asked that we refrain from taking pics of them and we graciously obliged. But my heart wanted to so badly because they are incredibly beautiful and strong women. Then came the chai. The teenage daughters carried it in and served us, then joining their mother, grandmother and multiple aunts as we sat together on the floor and drank our tea. It was a sweet time. A sweet space. A cultural barrier overcome by a cup of tea. It was an honor to be there. Sweet hugs ended our visit as the children followed us yelling goodbye and waving enthusiastically. A simple cup of tea. An emotionally filled morning for me. We should all take time and share a cup of tea very soon, listening to the story of the one across the table and leave with a sweet hug and promise of “until the next time”.

With a big smile,

Janet

 

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