Hospitality: 3 Mistakes I’ve Made

Hospitality titleThe phone rings and I hear her say, “I just wanted to give you a heads up. I’m gonna pop on by real quick.”

Panic Mode-Ignite!

Dirty dishes get hidden, clean laundry gets tossed BACK in the basket, and out of the corner of my eye I see the stain on the couch cushion.

Ding Dong. (I’m not name calling, that’s just the sound of my doorbell.)

I rushed over, flipped the cushion, and as the story goes, “When, what to my wondering eyes should appear? A stain bigger than the first, Oh Dear!”

(I took a little creative license on that.)

Then there’s the time we invited a couple over for dinner.

Any food preferences?

“Well, we don’t eat a lot of meat.”

I pull out my cookbooks (this was before Pinterest) and choose a meatless dinner option.

I spent hours on a mushroom cheese layered something or other (that I’d never made before) only to watch them PICK OUT the mushrooms.

Welcome to my life.

In the spirit of giving, let me offer you some advice.

Don’t be me. (Have I mentioned I am a work in progress?)

3 Hospitality Mistakes I’ve made

1. Focusing on Perfection

House perfect, couch perfect, outfit perfect, perfect child, perfect marriage, perfect platter full of perfection.

“This? I just whipped this up.”

Liar Liar Mushroom casserole on Fire.

People get nervous when they walk into a perfect home.

“Don’t touch anything. Not even the perfect seashell soap in the perfect guest bath. Dirty hands are better than messing with the Feng shui.” (No judgement zone. Feng shui anything that makes you happy. God is Love. The End.)

When I’m focusing on perfection, it becomes about ME instead of We.

Perfection is about ME instead of focusing on We. Click To Tweet

I have to keep my intentions in check.

Am I presenting this to invite others to SHARE in the beauty or to PROVE that I’m worthy enough?

Holly Gerth says, “We’re called to bless, not impress.”

Can blessing someone involve a beautiful table, a glorious meal, and perfectly shaped soap?

Of course. (Just give back up soap for people who are too afraid to mess it up. Me.)

I appreciate the time and care people put into creating a home that represents what they love and I strive to do the same.

But don’t be like me and stress about perfection over focusing on connection.

2. I’ve got this.

baking hospitalityOtherwise known as:

Lies I tell my guests instead of asking for help.

My hair’s on fire, the rolls came out looking like deadly weapons, and the dog left  “a treat” on the floor.

No worries.

Everything is under control.

Have a seat in the other room and listen awkwardly while I swear under my breath.

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Give your people a J.O.B.

They came to your house to BE WITH YOU.

Ask them to pour water in glasses, taste the gravy, stir the soup, alphabetize the cheese platter, or dial 911.

Some of my best stories have come out of kitchen conversations or incidents.

How did blood get on the ceiling?

Rebecca helped.

If they don’t want to help?

Get better friends. (Just kidding. Well, not really.)

3. Money = caring

Have you ever paid $11 for a vanilla bean or spent your grocery budget for the month on one dinner party?

How about buying all new dishes because you didn’t have a matching set?silverware for hospitality

Providing friends and family with laughter and meaningful conversation is more than a vanilla bean could ever hope to be.

Sitting at a table with chipped mismatched dishes creates moments a set of matching dinnerware can never replace.

I refuse to believe the amount of money I spend on you equals the love I have for you.

It’s just not true.

Do you hear me?

The amount of money you have DOES NOT equal the amount of love you are able to pour out into others.

The amount of money you spend does not determine how much someone is loved. Click To Tweet

1 Corinthians 16:14

NIV: Do everything in love

ESV: Let ALL that you do be done in love

ISV: Everything you do should be done lovingly

No matter which version you read, none of them say “spend money to prove you love somebody.”

Do what you can with the Love of Christ instead of trying to compensate with overpriced vanilla beans.

What about when you’re the receiver of Hospitality?

I’m glad you asked.

I love giving gifts. It’s my jam.

The best gift you can give someone who’s shown you hospitality requires 2 things.

  1. 5 minutes of your time
  2. A willing heart

That’s it.

Easy enough, right?

Write them a heartfelt letter.

hospitality letterNot a text.

Don’t tweet them or update your Facebook status about it.

Take 5 minutes and write a heartfelt letter thanking them.

Be specific. ( More than “Thanks for feeding my face. You’re great.” )

Think about how much you love to get REAL mail that isn’t the gas, water, or electricity bill.

I always ask The Husband, “Anything good in the mail?”

Usually, the answer is,  “Nope. Just bills and catalogs from companies we don’t order things from.”


Be the reason someone smiles.

Let whoever extended hospitality to you know that it mattered.

Whether you are the giver or receiver of hospitality, my prayer is that you welcome people in to your home and heart with thanksgiving.

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for HIS inexpressible gift.

What is your favorite way to show hospitality?



3 hospitality mistakes









36 thoughts on “Hospitality: 3 Mistakes I’ve Made

  • Sarah November 22, 2016 at 7:22 am

    I need a moment…

    This THIS is what it’s all about my friend. Setting aside our-MY- perfectionism and opening my home as it is, Lego’s on the floor and fingerprints on the windows. I struggle with the idol of “having everything look just right before inviting people over”. Thank you for the reminder to be real, be genuine. Oh, and you’ll never find seashell soaps here.?

    But can I still buy a vanilla bean for my creme’ brûlée? It’s my fave. ?

    • M.o.m. November 22, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Please, please say it’s ok to buy vanilla beans – especially since YOU taught us how great they are ?

    • Rebecca Williamson November 22, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Take your moment, Sarah. You deserve it! Legos on the floor and footprints on the windows is a sign that you are raising children who will grow up knowing that their mom loved them more than perfect ever could be. You are a living testament to others that doing life with the ultimate goal of connection over perfection.

    • Toni | Small Home Soul November 23, 2016 at 12:19 am

      Do you mean those little soaps that no one can use but collect dust and look nasty ?

  • M.o.m. November 22, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Just want to say a HUGE AMEN. You’ve hit the nail on the head once again.
    Thankful that our closest friends take us & our home “as we are” .

    We are just struggling with enlarging our circle of friends to invite to our home. Trusting that becoming more familar with my bible in the coming days will let me be at peace with that. Finding strangers to show kindness to I find easy & rewarding in many ways.

    Thankful for your guidance & that of your friends whose posts also help.

    • Rebecca Williamson November 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      I have great people. The women that comment here are the best.

  • Lisa November 22, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Oh Martha, Martha! This is what comes to mind when I think of preparing for guests. Probably because I am exactly like her.

    Thank you for all the reminders as we enter the holiday season.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • Rebecca Williamson November 22, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Oh Lisa, I know exactly what you mean. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, friend.

  • Tonya November 22, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I love this post! It’s so true. I struggle with perfectionism at times too 🙂 I especially need to remember to ask for help. We like to think we can flawlessly handle 20 things at once but it normally doesn’t end well! Thanks for the reminders.

    • Rebecca Williamson November 22, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      It normally doesn’t end well! That’s hysterical, Tonya. You must have seen footage of me at Thanksgiving in the kitchen. Asking for help is a gift we can give to our guests, but it can be hard to relinquish control. Ask me how I know!

  • Denise November 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    What a great post…thanks for,the laughs and reality check.

    • Rebecca Williamson November 22, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      You’re welcome, Denise. Thank you for reading. I appreciate it.

  • Michelle November 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    This is such good and timely advice. I think a lot of us suffer in the search of perfection, perfection that no one can achieve and no one really expects. Very nice!

    • Rebecca Williamson November 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Michelle, you’re right. Perfection is an impossible standard to strive for or expect from others. Excellent point. Thank you for that.

  • Toni | Small Home Soul November 23, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Aahhhhhh, love this! I am not the stressor in our home about perfection when company comes, but someone else is so that trickles down to me lol. I want people to come see me, not my home, which is never ever perfect.

    I should do a better job of writing a more thank you notes. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Rebecca Williamson November 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Ut oh, Toni. Are you telling on your people? I love what you said about wanting people to see you and not your home!

  • Leslie Soto November 23, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Great read! Especially as we go into the holiday season. I tend to focus too much on making everything perfect when we have company in our home. So much so that when I was sick a couple weeks ago, my dad came over one morning to take my son to school. As he was sitting in the living room with me I cringed. I realized my house was a disaster, totally forgetting, for a minute, that I was sick! How silly is that?!? I definitely need to remember grace over perfection!

    • Rebecca Williamson November 23, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Leslie, we must be soul sisters! I’ve had paramedics come to my home and I apologized for not making them something 🙂 Seriously…that’s why this post is Don’t be Me! Ugh!

  • Hannah Bowers November 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Such great points! Thank you for sharing these.

    • Rebecca Williamson November 23, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      You’re welcome, Hannah. Thank you for reading!

  • Rhiannon November 23, 2016 at 10:49 am

    This is so true. I use to enjoy having friends over and cooking, and just hanging out, but when we moved it stopped. We live in a trailer right behind my parents and for the longest I was embarrassed. I didn’t feel like it was good enough to have friends over. I am finally getting out of that mindset and trying to be welcoming even if our living situation is unique. I miss that aspect of community. Thank you for this Rebecca and for the tips on how to do better the next time I do have friends over 🙂

    • Rebecca Williamson November 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Oh gosh, Rhiannon. We just moved into our home a few months ago and I feel the need to apologize all the time because I don’t have a living room rug yet or there is nothing hanging on the walls…the list goes on and on. I have to tell myself, “If they care about those things, they probably shouldn’t be in my house!”
      Get those friends together, friend!

  • Hannah November 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    This is so great! You are hilarious hahaha. I love having a clean and tidy house when we have guests, but I also hate things looking too perfect! I’ve grown to love the toys on the floor and dishes on the bench because more often than not they provide opportunities for connection 🙂 Bless you! x

    • Rebecca Williamson November 23, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      You’re so sweet, Hannah. Providing opportunities for connection is a great focus to aim for when you are inviting people into your home. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

  • Kim November 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Girl, this is what it’s all about! I always freak out, and then find calm in remembering it’s not about what’s perfect, it’s about the company and time spent together – not time spent dusting allthethings no one will ever notice! Absolutely love these words!!

    • Rebecca Williamson November 23, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      That’s right Kim. No dusting! If they notice you can hand THEM the duster with a Please and Thank you!
      Have a dusty Holiday season, friend. May it be filled with connection over perfection 🙂

  • candy November 26, 2016 at 10:19 am

    If people are coming over to check out my house, bathroom and to see how fancy a meal I can serve them, well they are just people and not my friends.

    • Rebecca Williamson November 26, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Candy, we can totally be friends!
      I remember a wallhanging a friend had hanging on her wall. It read, “If you’re here to see me, Come on in. If you’re here to check out my house, make an appointment.”

  • Carol ("Mimi") November 28, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Everyone is high-fiving this post . . . and, rightfully so. You really did a great job here of pointing out the mistakes that so many of us make in thinking that we have to be perfect. We can never get those minutes back that we spent needlessly worrying and scurrying around before guests arrive, thinking that we couldn’t let others see us as we “really” live. Nonsense! We can accept our own imperfections and revel in the friendships that we cultivate with others.

    • Rebecca Williamson November 28, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Carol, I love what you said about reveling in the friendships we cultivate. What beautiful words that go with my intention behind this post.
      Thank you.

  • Stefani Stoltzfus November 29, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Oh Rebecca. Please move close to me. I feel like we would get along. So much so? I paged to the very end of all your comments to tell you so. 😉 Love everything you shared so much! Just the kind of hospitality I really want to practice more and more!

    • Rebecca Williamson November 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Stefani, it’s your turn to move 🙂 Thank you for scrolling to the very end to say nice things to me! Have a hospitable Holiday season, friend.

  • Jennifer December 13, 2016 at 7:08 am

    I appreciate the wisdom you’ve shared here! You have a fun, relatable writing style while still sharing important truths for your readers. The hospitality mistakes you’ve listed are common reasons why we tend to avoid hospitality altogether! Our expectations are so high that we know we’ll never reach them, so why bother? But hospitality is so important as it is a tangible way of extending God’s love to others. Thanks for sharing with us at Grace & Truth!

    • Rebecca Williamson January 6, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Thanks so much, Jennifer! Hospitality is a struggle for me- until I remember the heart behind it.

  • Stacey December 15, 2016 at 6:52 am

    I really love your lesson mixed with a sense of humor. You are so right about the soaps, the dishes, all of it. A friend of mine told me years ago that my house made her nervous because it was too clean. Did that stop me from striving for perfection? Nope!! I need reminders so you keep it up.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Rebecca Williamson January 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Striving for perfection could be my middle name, Stacey. (Except that it’s 3 words)

Comments are closed.

Pin It on Pinterest