I have learned that my attitude towards hospitality is everything. How I feel about my guests, their comfort, and the reason I'm extending hospitality, have everything to do with how successful I am in making each hospitality experience successful.
This means that even if I burn the food, things will work out if I have the right attitude. Even if we're short one bed to accommodate our overnight guests, things will work out (I will find a solution) if I have the right attitude. Even if I'm nervous about making conversation with my guests, everything will work out if I have the right attitude.
So, what is this "right" attitude I'm speaking about?
Simple. I need to be focused on my guests and their needs. Focused on making them feel welcome and loved. Focused on showering them with the love of Christ.
Contrast that to my selfish desire to be viewed as the "perfect" hostess. Or my desire to impress my guests with my "amazing" cooking abilities or perfectly clean home.
Because when I focus on my guests and have a positive attitude toward what hospitality really means to me as a believer (an opportunity to serve those God puts in our paths), I won't be worried about what others think about me. If I burn the food, I order a pizza. If we're short one bed, we borrow a blow-up mattress from a friend for a few days.
I have learned to approach each hospitality opportunity with prayer. This time of prayer puts my heart into focus on what is important. It brings me in line with God's portrait of Biblical hospitality.
My prayer is usually something along the lines of this...
Dear Father, thank You for this opportunity to extend hospitality. Lord, I pray now that You would help me to stay focused on what is really important ~ to make our guests feel welcomed, cared for, and loved. Lord, show me ways in which I can cover my guests in Your love. Lord, give me privy to what my guests needs are. Show me how I can serve them, love them, care for them.
I pray that the moment they enter our home, Your presence would be felt and would be real to our guests. Lord, I pray that You would expose any selfish desires I am harboring in my heart, and help me to replace them with an attitude of love and grace. Bless this time we have with our guests. Make Your presence known. In Christ's powerful name, Amen