Make Yourself a Home
- Thursday, July 19, 2012
How to welcome others into your home and your heart . . .
Think back to a favorite memory of visiting a friend in their home. What did you enjoy most?
Perhaps you sat around the dinner table laughing and telling stories long after dessert. Or you lingered in the driveway, enjoying that last bit of connectedness. There’s nothing like sharing an evening and sharing your lives.
I remember a recent evening I spent with friends in their backyard. Not minding the time, our conversation lasted long after dinner. We sat in silhouette to the dramatic pink and orange and purple sunset until the world turned to navy and the fireflies came out. We knew we were witnessing magic.
We also knew we were tasting that special ingredient that adds meaning to life.
I could tell you so many things about that evening—about my friend’s listening ear, our laughter over our latest goofiness and of course, our promise—“we’ve got to do this more often.”
But of all the sweet things I remember, there are a few things I don’t recall.
I don’t remember what we ate . . . except that it was thoughtfully prepared and presented. I don’t remember if their lawn was manicured or their silverware polished. I don’t remember if their furniture matched.
All I remember is that I felt welcome, that I was loved, and that I can’t wait for the next time.
So I ask you, why do we wait so long to have these special evenings? Why don’t we invite people over to our homes more often?
I think I can speak for other singles when I confess that I postpone invitations to friends because of one crazy insecurity: I’m afraid that what I offer them doesn’t quite measure up. I’m afraid that my cuisine won’t be gourmet, or that my décor doesn’t resemble a catalog. And they would know for sure that “the maid” hasn’t been around for a while.
Too often I withhold the welcome mat—postponing those special evenings for a more perfect day. Sad, but true.
Even sadder is the notion that singles sometimes feel that one person alone in a house does not constitute a home. That’s simply not true.
“Home” is not postponed till there are two . . . or three or more. Home is simply where you are most yourself; it’s your place to pull up a pillow and rest. It’s your place of individuality and expression. It’s where you are safe enough to welcome others in.
How to Make Yourself a Home
Build your nest . . . today. Don’t postpone creating a home until that “magic season” in your life. If for no other reason, you need a place to belong. Use the fancy tablecloth before it yellows, the Tupperware before it gets sticky, and the sculpted candles before they melt. Saving special things in a hope chest is for the birds.
I paused at a quote I saw recently on Pinterest: “Out of the dreariness, into its cheeriness, come we in weariness … home.” We need to create this kind of haven for ourselves.
We also need to make our homes into this kind of haven for others.
Offer a retreat for your special people. From the moment you greet your guests at the door, create a no-judgment zone. You of them—them of you. You won’t need to post the rule—they’ll see it in your smile.
The truth is, your guests don’t care about your cuisine, the dust on the top of the refrigerator, or your décor —so, pull up a crate. Or a pillow. Or some floor. They haven’t come to be impressed. They’ve come to be heard. To be nurtured. They’ve come to feel like they belong in someone’s guest book. Don’t deny them the chance to be loved for the sake of a coordinated sofa and loveseat.
If this wisdom resonates with you, then you’ll certainly benefit from making a home for yourself. But if you’re a follower of Christ, you have the opportunity to go even deeper. Yes, care about building a home, but care more about nurturing a home for your heart.
How to Be at Home Anywhere
You may have heard the lovely, old-fashioned expression “your abode” when referring to your home. “Abode” comes from the verb “to abide,” which means “to dwell, reside, or remain.”
To be at home with God means you choose to remain with him. You’re not coming and going in your relationship. You allow nothing in your life that would separate you from a close relationship—no sin unconfessed, no hobby or interest into which he is not welcomed.
To be at home with God also means you live completely in his love. God never says, “Come back when your heart is tidier or your motives match your true color scheme.” He always says, “Come, come as you are.” Make yourself at home in Me.
I have learned that I can more easily extend real love and hospitality to those I welcome into my home when I am first at home with Jesus. I’ve also learned that when I abide in Christ, I can be at home with him wherever I am.
Sometimes when I travel for work I get stuck in some far-from-home airport due to bad weather or a missed flight. Longing for my soft socks, familiar surrounds, and my kitties in far-away Dallas, I find a quiet place in my heart where I know that I am home already.
Because I am abiding with Jesus. Even though no one waits up for me at home, his sweet presence is waiting with me there. There, in Dulles, LaGuardia or O’Hare airport, I am already home.
Jesus invites us, Make yourself at home with Me. The welcome mat is out. Pull up a pillow and rest.
Barb Peil has realized recently how rich and fruitful it is to be a woman after God’s heart—single or married, young or mature, fulfilled or struggling in any other area of life—doesn’t matter. It all comes down to ‘my heart for God.’ You can read her blog at Letters2Myself.com—a website for all women to seek and share wisdom at every stage of life.
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