“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” (Acts 2:46)
The more women I talk to the more I hear this same thing, “I need more friends! You too?! Oh, I’m not alone!” Oh my goodness it’s sad and relieving all at once because I have felt like that for the better part of my adult life. It’s not really that I need more though (I’m a quality over quantity gal.) I think my real problem is that I need to do a better job of investing in the relationships that are already part of my life. I’m not actually looking for more, I’m looking for deeper. “Friendship” can just be so hands off these days. We long to be known, but then our day is busy and our week is busy and that’s when our calendars reflect our priorities! I’m the worst about this. I’d prefer to text rather than actually talk on the phone… or over real life coffee?! We keep up with each other enough on social media – do we really need to catch up? There’s where I’m missing the real connection.
Because do you want a bunch of friends who “like” your highlight reel, or a few great ones who love the highs and lows of your heart?
Here’s the key factor that I think we’re missing. Do you remember when you were a kid and you’d BEG your parents to invite your friend’s parents over for lunch after church? Having other families in our home, and meals in the homes of our friends, felt like such a common occurrence. Now we’re the adults with homes of our own (or at least the ability to invite friends out for a bite) and I can’t tell you off the top of my head when the last time was that we hosted another couple. Is hospitality a dying art?! I know I’m being dramatic, but (for us anyways) let’s just say there’s lots of room for improvement! And I’d even suggest that we have room to become more hospitable with our homes and hearts. What I mean is, get outside yourself and your schedule and your worries about being imperfect and INVITE people. Not just to your home, but to be known.
Even though I don’t do it enough, I enjoy hosting people at my house, but sometimes I avoid inviting people over because I want everything to be “just right” and it can feel like so much work! And you know what, sometimes I avoid an intentional conversation with a friend because the vulnerability and emotional connection can feel like so much work too. And a lot of times I avoid reaching out to someone else and initiating a conversation or scheduling a hang out because of all the excuses you’re already familiar with. So she’s lonely and I’m lonely and were both just hoping we’ll magically have a solid group of friends to do life with some day down the road. Well! (And I’m preaching to myself here more than anyone) If that’s a down the road dream, it’s time to start pouring the foundation (or whatever the correct road working term would be for this metaphor – you get it! 😉 )
If you had a moment in the last week when you felt lonely or longed for deeper relationships, chances are there’s a woman in your life who had the same feelings.
So here’s my challenge for us: extend an invitation this week.
This can mean planning a phone call with an out of town friend or inviting someone out to coffee, but my BEST suggestion is to invite them into your space!
There’s just something about spending time in someone’s space that creates more depth in relationship. It allows insight into who they are and what’s important to them. I always feel closer to someone when I’ve spent time with them in their home, but I know this is where the intimidation factor kicks in.
“I’m not good at hosting,” “my house isn’t cute enough,” “I don’t have the time to clean every surface”… unimportant and untrue! You don’t need to go over the top or have the perfectly clean and decorated home to be hospitable. Nor do you need to try to present something in your own home that isn’t authentic. Priority #1 is a hospitable heart, the house comes after. Chances are, your friend will be so thrilled to be connected with and invested in, they won’t even notice if every corner of your home isn’t Pinteresty.
HOWEVER, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get hung up on a desire to have a house that felt homey and welcoming for guests.
If you’re with me on this: Try this super practical quick tip for making your house feel homey – Target the 5 senses!
This is what creates the feeling you get when you enter a space and what people begin to associate with you and your home. For example, every time I visit my grandma’s I feel immediately relaxed by the smell of the plants that fill her home and backyard. My mom always has every window wide open and the light her home is filled with is the perfect representation of how I feel when I’m there! One of my best friends has brownie fixings on hand at all times. When we go to her house for dinner I can bet on a sweet treat after and now when I think of brownies, I think of her!
Each of these women’s spaces create a feeling based on things they do naturally. So focus on what comes naturally to you and forget about the rest! The sweetest interactions can happen in the simplest of places and there’s such value in community right in the middle of real life chaos. It’s easier to highlight your natural gifts of hospitality than to try to produce something that isn’t “you” and thats when the quality connection happens! The space is just the back drop for us to come together, be real with each other, and known by each other. It’s what we were made for!
Here’s some of my favorite ways to create the cozy feel by targeting each sense:
- Sight: I like to decorate in a way that’s warm and reflects what I enjoy, while still being functional and livable and realistic. The older I get, the more I appreciate simplicity because it means less clutter and that means easier to keep looking tidy which means more relaxation! [See post on my favorite easy way to prevent clutter!] I do my best to keep our space like this (most the time) so that we can invite others in whenever we want without feeling like we need to do a lot of preparation.
- Sounds: If its not already on, which it almost always is, I like to turn on music before answering the door. I’m don’t love silence and music just seems to set the tone for our home that I like others to enter into. [We have this bluetooth speaker that is also a diffuser and its magical.]
- Taste: One thing I ALWAYS have in abundance is coffee (thanks to Jordan because he makes the coffee in our house!) and plenty of cream to share. Lately I’ve also enjoyed grabbing a new snack to try each time I’m at Costco. That way it’s on hand if someone stops by and I want to offer them a treat. In the summer especially, I like to have a few different kinds of fruits and veggies in the fridge. Putting a plate together is super quick and a nice way to have a healthy snack to offer.
- Smell: I pretty much always have candles burning and/or oil diffusing. I love seasonal scents and candles just automatically add a cozy touch. During the summer I like to have fresh flowers in the house as much as possible. They smell great and they’re just happy. [These wall flowers from Bath & Body Works are also a personal favorite!]
- Touch: I want visitors to feel comfortable in my space. I love the look of trendy, staged areas, but I want people to feel like they can sit anywhere and be cozy. So for me its ALL ABOUT functional and then style. My favorite inviting touch is to have blankets everywhere. I’m a full supporter of snuggling 🙂
I want to have such a hospitable heart that it flows out into my home (& any space I’m in) in a way that draws others near.
If you asked your friends, there’s probably already things they think of when envisioning your space that you do naturally. Play up the things you’re already good at. It’s not about creating more work for yourself, just leaning into the identity your home already carries. Maybe there’s something you want to add to the feel of your home – think of simple and sustainable ways to do this! I find a ton of joy in creating spaces that invite people to relax and enjoy themselves, but I get in a rut of being busy and getting comfortable with my door shut; I forget the joy of seeing others at home in my home. Here’s the thing though, we were created to be known. Life giving friendships bless our creator, they bless us, and who knows, you may just end up pointing someone to the One who made them through friendship. Are we really going to let fear of opening the door keep someone from the ultimate belonging? I want to have such a hospitable heart that it flows out into my home (& any space I’m in) in a way that draws others near. Are you with me?! Inviting others in is something I’m committing to practice more and hopefully these simple tips will encourage you to do the same!
“You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” Deuteronomy 28:6