Post author Kathy Foor teaching her breakout session at The Flourish Conference.
Even if you came to the Flourish Conference unsure of the topic of Biblical hospitality, I am certain you came home inspired and ready to try some of the many ways Jen Schmidt shared how to Just Open the Door.
If, however, you are still struggling with the obstacles that get in the way of opening your heart and your home to others, the ladies in my breakout session shared some ways to overcome them.
The number one thing that gets in our way is the fear of rejection. Satan uses fear to keep us from reaching out and obeying the Lord’s command to share the gospel. We combat fear with the truth. Fear is the opposite of faith, so we must refuse to let it control us.
Instead, we ask God who to invite into our lives. We understand up front that not everyone is going to respond to our invitation, but we can trust God and ask anyway. We can trust Him that those He wants us to share with will say “yes” to our invitation.
Another common hindrance to hospitality is the fear that our home, our cooking, our hostess skills are not good enough. Simply realizing that the last time we were invited into a friend’s home we didn’t have a single judgmental thought about her hostess skills or how clean ─or dirty─her house was. Our friends won’t either. They will appreciate our reaching out and sharing our lives with them.
We also discussed schedules and cooking skills. Those are easy! Keep it simple. Grill out. Order pizza. Buy already prepared food. Again, it isn’t our cooking that people need from us. It is our time, love and attention. They won’t remember what you served, only that you cared enough to invite them in.
Some of the ladies shared that their spouse was not on board with having people over. Solution? Try to make his job simple and ensure that he has a great time too. Another solution is to meet your friend at a local restaurant or pack a picnic lunch and meet at the park. Be creative.
One lady shared that having folks over is hard because she has a dog. This one can be a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. If your dog isn’t trained to be polite around others, put it in another room while you have friends over. Most people are gracious about getting to know your pet and after the awkward first few minutes your pet will likely settle down. Again, don’t let your pet stop you from reaching out. Have a cookout or go out to eat.
We concluded our time together by reading the final couple of paragraphs of Jen’s book, Just Open the Door. In the final chapter of her book, Jen shares that opening our hearts and our homes is an act of worship to the Lord. In serving others, we are serving Him. The focus is not on us, but on those whom God has given us to serve.
What are some obstacles that have stood in the way of your reaching out and how have your overcome them? Please share in the comments below.