I love being with people. I love being in relationships. I love hanging out, laughing, eating, and sharing life together. Hospitality or loving on people is one of my gifts. Don’t get me wrong. I am not the perfect host with cute decorations or beautiful centerpieces all the time. I enjoy those things and I envy those that have that ‘crafty’ talent to take anything and make it beautiful. I am not the host that has horderves ready to go in the freezer at any time or that perfect pie always handy!
I am the kind of host that generally will be able to find some leftovers or lunch meat in the fridge to share. I am the kind of host that can find some crackers and cheese and probably a bottle of wine or coffee to share. I am the kind of host with an open door and a willing spirit to stop and enjoy whoever comes knocking. Or at least I used to be. I want to be.
Lately being this kind of host has become more difficult. I find myself traveling in the car and not even at home to be a host. And when I am finally home and the family is together I find myself not wanting to invite others in but to hide and hoard my family for myself. I find myself torn between wanting to have an open door and wanting to have a quiet sanctuary at home with my family.
I have children in high school, jr. high, and elementary school. I have children going in all directions and I am working. I am wavering somewhere between the preschool years and the pre-college years. I used to know who my friends were by who my kids friends were. Now my kids are so different in age and likes that I am pulled between friends with older kids and friends with younger kids. I am not sure where I fit in and finding the time and space to invest in these relationships is daunting.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of friends. I have a lot of people in all the different places that know me. I can have conversations and laugh with many different groups. I am just struggling to know where my group is. I am struggling to know where Jesus is calling me to love and serve and build friendships.
I am struggling to know where Jesus is calling me to love and serve and build friendships.
Maybe I am working too hard. Maybe Jesus is putting people in my life in all these different stages and my eyes are trying to see the perfect scenario and the perfect set of friends that I am missing the perfectly fine relationships He is wanting me to build.
I am taking the gift of hospitality and making it a burden instead of seeing the joy and freedom given in that gift. I am searching for the moment or even moments of what I see as opportunity and missing the moments He is giving me. I am placing a burden and guilt on myself for not having the right relationships or not having the same kind of relationships that others around me seem to be forming.
As I struggle with this question I find Jesus is working something in me. He is calling me into relationships but not perfect ones or ones that happen exactly as I think they should but He is calling me into relationships with different people and in different places. My life is changing and I get to have relationships with my daughter’s high school friends and families as well as my son’s kindergarten friends and families. I can still always have my door open and I can let people know that it is. And I can look for the quite impromptu cup of coffee with a friend. Or see my neighbors outside and have a conversation or impromptu get together with them.
Maybe what Jesus is calling me to is keeping my eyes open for the opportunities He is putting in front of me instead of trying to make the opportunities exist. Instead of seeing my life as getting in the way of my relationships I pray Jesus will open my eyes to see the relationships in my life.
And I know He is not calling me to guilt or an undue burden to have these relationships. He is calling me to a freedom and joy in growing relationships.
God has given me this gift, this yearning for relationships and hospitality to share Him and grow with Him. He has placed me in these different situations so I have opportunity not to have the same friends as others but to grow new relationships.
Instead of seeing my life as getting in the way of my relationships I pray Jesus will open my eyes to see the relationships in my life.
So I can live in the knowledge that this is a God-given, grace filled want and because He has placed that in me, He can and will fulfill it in His good and perfect way! I get to be on this journey with Him in freedom and grace knowing He is in control and will place people in my life to benefit me and His kingdom!