Entertaining Tips for the Weary

If you're weary and tired from entertaining or filling your home with people, I have one word for you: simplify.

Simple. This is the only way that I can genuinely love people and make them a priority in my life. And this coming from someone who only has one child. I can only imagine what it's like for women with two, three, four... Life just keeps getting more complicated and more busy if we let it, but we don't have to let it.

How do I actually make hospitality happen? There's two ways: planned and spontaneous.

PLAN AHEAD

At the end of each month, look at the month ahead and schedule in time with friends, people you want to have over for dinner, and when you want to do something outside of the home. It may sound a little stiff to schedule in hospitality, but I genuinely believe that we plan for the things we care about. If we put a little time and thought into the things that matter to us, even if it's a tiny step forward, we make progress, and when the time comes to have people over, we feel less stressed. Planning ahead makes for a simpler and more enjoyable time with others.

I typically don't plan anything out of the ordinary food-wise when we have people over. I double what I'm making and ask guests to bring a side. In the summer I love to make popsicles as a quick dessert. People simply come into the fold of what our family is already doing. This makes the thought of having people over so much more of a joy, rather than a chore.

15 MINUTE PREP

When we were first married, it would be about a 3 hour process of cleaning the house, getting dinner ready, the table set, etc. Now, I make things ahead or intentionally choose one pot meals. This way, I put the pot with everything in it on the stove in the morning so all I have to do is turn it on an hour before people arrive.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and do a quick tidy. Toys off the floor, kitchen table cleared, a wipe down with some baby wipes. Resist the urge to fluff your pillows.

And then a few minutes before people arrive, pray. Pray for your conversation, pray for energy, pray for the ability to serve and meet your guests where they are. Ask God how you can love them well throughout the night.

LEAVE ROOM FOR THE SPONTANEOUS

Sometimes the heartbeat of hospitality boils down to creating enough margin in our lives to let the mess of life happen. A friend calls and needs someone to watch the baby last minute. Someone sends out a meal calendar for a family in need. A friend has an unusually busy week and you have the margin in your life to notice, and provide a helping hand. Space in our minds and calendars allow for us to love people when it's least convenient, or at the last minute. This is why I'm so passionate about pursuing less in life, not more.

If we don't leave room for the spontaneous, some of life's most cherished moments would cease to exist. Love extends outward when we slow down and leave room for the unexpected.

Do you feel the pressure to entertain rather than simply open your home? How do you simplify this area of life?