‘The Turquoise Table‘ by Kristin Schell was gifted to me by a dear friend. It spoke so strongly to my heart, because as a person who likes everything to be perfect before opening my home, this book taught me a powerful lesson and gave me practical guidelines.
We are instructed in Romans 12:13 to, “Take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.” But before we can do this, we need to believe we are completely loved and belong to our Father. Then we can open up our hearts, love others well and give them a place to belong.
“Before we can create a place of belonging for others, we must believe we belong.”
The Heart Of Hospitality
So what does opening up our life and home look like? Is it perfectly planned dinners with a perfectly clean and decorated house?
“Perfection is the preferred hiding place of people everywhere.”
Striving for that level of perfection before opening our home isn’t going to leave much room for us to actually enjoy the company – we will be too distracted and exhausted to make real and deep connections.
Kristin Schell describes hospitality as this: “Hospitality takes the posture of humility, no longer seeking to impress but to serve. The heart of hospitality is to make people feel welcome and at ease. We can go through the motions to entertain, or we can adopt a way of life that opens us up – good, bad and ugly – to others.”
So the whole idea of opening our home to others is to make our guests feel welcome and at ease, to serve them, not impress them. It’s so simple! That really takes the pressure off!
All we need to do is open our door and provide a listening and undistracted ear. Whatever else we decide to offer is up to us, we just need to remember that this doesn’t have to be complicated or hard work.
As I said in my last post on hospitality, as humans, we all have a deep need for human connection. When we live separate, distracted and independent lives, we will feel isolated and lonely.
“Healing happens in community with other people and it starts at the table.”
The key is to find ways to do this, to make it a part of your lifestyle so that it just fits seamlessly in rather than becoming a massive stress in our lives.
The Turquoise Table
Just to start somewhere, Kristin bought a picnic table, painted it turquoise and placed it in her front yard. She wondered what it would look like to have all the backyard activities, such as birthday parties, BBQs, coffee with friends, simple family dinners or after school snacks held in the front yard, to be more present and more approachable to her neighbours. Soon enough, she got to know all her neighbours and others as they all started to hear about this turquoise table. Many conversations have been shared at that table; thoughts, feelings, fun times and fears. Each person at that table has learnt to be open and honest and also practice the art of listening.
“Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.” Henri Nouwen
Kristin didn’t need to have her home tidy for this to happen, all she had to do was show up to the table.
Obviously, this isn’t the only way to open up your life and home to others. We all need to find a way that suits our family and lifestyle. The important thing is that we make it happen and to remember that, “Real conversation is an invitation. It’s the most authentic way we can say, ‘You matter’.”
My prayer is that God will give you the faith and confidence to live with your arms, heart and door wide open to share His love because, “We spread more light into a dark world by opening our doors than hiding behind them!”
Thanks for reading and God bless xo