Today’s post comes to us from the lovely and generous, Stephanie L. Jones. As I was contemplating the holidays and what they mean to me this year, I decided to ask Stephanie to share from her wealth of experience in making life a little better for those she meets and invites into her home.
Stephanie is a speaker, life coach and soon to be author of The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life. She helps people “Dream, Discover, Do.” As a fearless changemaker, she’s been a private investigator, police officer, and senior manager in a Fortune 100 company. Stephanie has traveled to 46 states, attended Oprah’s Oscar show, and auditioned for her own TLC show in NYC. To learn more about Stephanie go to www.GivingGal.com.
Did you know another word for a holiday is rest? Shocking! When was the last time your holiday was peaceful? Imagine hosting a gathering in your home feeling relaxed and content. Whether you are opening your home to friends and family on Thanksgiving, Christmas or a guest in someone’s home, your hospitality doesn’t need to come at the cost of your health and sanity.
According to Google, the definition of hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Notice there is no mention of immaculate home free of dust bunnies, Pinterest-perfect food presentation, use of best china and fine silverware, or breaking the bank to redecorate the home with new paint and furniture. The latter may sound extreme, but I’ve heard of people doing this…for what? To impress people that “should” love you (and your home) just the way you are.
Pondering these words from Present Over Perfect author, Shauna Niequist,
For years, I have bridged that gap between differing opinions, tempered my own, made sure that everyone in the room was happy and fed and taken care of. It began as a clean love for hospitality, but over the years, I think, it devolved into caretaking and people pleasing at the expense of my own self, at the expense of telling the truth about what I think and what I need and what matters most to me.
Her words stung. I felt a punch in the gut when I read “caretaking and people pleasing.” Guilty! When did this become our responsibility during family celebrations?
Here are five things you can do to prepare your soul for upcoming festivities
- Find a quiet place, hide in the closet if you must, and grab a pen and paper.
- Grab your Bible and read Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
- Focus on this scripture. Before food and home preparations, it’s important to prepare your heart to serve your loved ones. Memorize Matthew 11:28 and repeat these words as often as necessary over the next two months.
- Jot down everything that worries and stresses you out about the holidays. Get them out of your head and on paper. Moving forward, don’t let negativity steal your joy and control your thoughts.
- Close your eyes and envision your home for the holidays. Use all your senses. What smells are waffling in the air? Do you hear laughter and feel the warm embrace of loved ones? I bet you see smiles and taste pumpkin pie…or if you are like me you taste the whip crème. Savor this moment. Don’t be in a rush to move on. Let these feelings soak into your bones. My guess is your writings and what you envisioned doesn’t match
Hospitality starts in the heart
Are you getting excited for the holidays? Is your attitude changing? Do you realize the difference between what’s important and what’s not?
As descriptive as possible, compose your definition of hospitality. Think back to number five and incorporate the thoughts that danced in your head. At the bottom of your paper, transcribe Matthew 28:11. When finished, post your note on the refrigerator as a constant reminder the world’s interpretation of celebrating the holidays doesn’t match the definition of hospitality. Take refuge and rest in the one who created you.
The holiday you dreamed of is within your reach. Remember hospitality is all about how you make people feel in your home. If you are uptight and stressed, your guests will feel it. Be generous with hugs, laughter, and listening. This year, I’m giving you permission to change your ways and enjoy the holidays.Hospitality is all about how you make people feel in your home. - Stephanie L. Jones Click To Tweet