I have this love-hate relationship with having people to our home.
The love part? Oh, that’s easy! I love to make people feel valuable and important. I want them to know their worth to me and how much I want them near. This is the part of me that creates cozy places whispering, “Yes, put your feet on the coffee table. That’s why it’s here!”
But then … there is that other part of hospitality. The part where my strength of achiever sideswipes my passion for inclusiveness. My mind pushes to override my heart. Comfortable, yes, but the setting has to look pretty, the food taste great and all of this needs to happen under a tidy, clean and clutter-free roof!
And so … as the doorbell rings, I’m throwing dishes in the washer, swiping down counters, and lighting candles simultaneously, instead of greeting my guests as they enter our home.
You know what else I’m doing?
Getting short-tempered with those who actually live with me under this roof.
Only recently have I seen this for what it is. This pressure building under my chest as the clock ticks on our mantel, pushes me to boss around those trying to help. My youngest, with love in her eyes and tenderness in her voice recently asked, “You’re not really upset at me, are you, Mom?”
She saw it for what it was. My own inner pressure to get it right.
In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus speaks tenderly to Mary, I imagine in much the same loving voice that my girl spoke to me, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NIV)
The Lord pointed out to Martha that she was worried and upset about many things. Like me, maybe the dirty dishes were bugging Martha, but I think it was deeper than that. It wasn’t just the situation with Mary, yet Mary was the target of Martha’s frustration.
Too often the things that we worry and get upset about bleed into the other areas of our lives, setting tension into situations when it isn’t really about that person at all. Our own inner turmoil spills over onto those who are nearby, often those dearest to us.
What is really going on? Is it the need for affirmation from those coming through the door? Validation from those working beside you?
Getting ready for company might not seem to be the best time to be introspective, yet if we want to move forward, it may be the right time. Take a moment. Take the time you think you don’t have, to talk to the Lord. Hide in the laundry room. Escape to your bedroom and ask the Lord, what am I missing? What is going on in my heart?
If the meal has to wait and the house remains dirty, so be it! Rather to let those things go, then to hurt and damage relationships we love the most.
What we do needs to spring from knowing who we are and whose we are: His. We belong to Jesus. When our heart is settled on this truth, the affirmation we need, the validation we crave, it will be there, because He is there. We can choose to focus, not on getting it right, but, with His power, loving right.
Oh Lord, help! Empower me to be cognizant of what is stirring in my heart and take those things to the feet of Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Let’s talk: What holds you back from opening your door to others?
Ask the Lord if it is something He would want to heal in you.
Often the feelings we have that drive the decisions we make come from our own self-doubt; doubt that the Lord wants to replace with His confidence. Lynn’s Bible Study Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures can empower you to find this confidence. Click here to order yours.