It all starts with a thought popping into my mind or Jamey's suggestion, "We should really have so-and-so over. I'd really like to get to know them better." Right on the heels of that thought comes, "What would I make? Would they like that? That means cleaning the house...and the windows really need washing as does the dining room floor...." By this time, my anxiety is mounting and I tell myself there isn't enough time and they probably have plans already anyway.
I can talk myself out of it lickety-split.
Why? Let's cut right to it. Because of my own insecurities and expectations of/for myself. I have this incredible talent of ruining things for myself before they even start.
And I loathe it.
I do this to myself other times, too. I create stress in places where there should only be joy and thanksgiving. I take something good and nit-pick it apart until I've micro-managed every detail to the point that I'm on some level actually dreading it. Once whatever-it-is starts, I can (thankfully) enjoy myself and I'm always glad we hosted/went/participated but I ruin the expectation part of it.
The other month in Sunday school our class was talking about Mary's response to the news that she would give birth to the Messiah. Oh. My. Word. But what did Mary do? She sang. And praised God. Seriously?! God bless her indeed. I hate to imagine my response because I think I know what it would look like. I'd instantly develop knots in my shoulders and neck muscles. I'd probably get a headache. I'd certainly make some sort of list and then lie in bed at night playing out all the ways things could go wrong.
God knew what He was doing when He chose Mary.
I'm sure she had questions and reservations, but she chose joy. She chose to set her concerns aside and accept the miraculous gift that God had given her.
Do we accept His gifts as gifts? Or do we just find ways to worry them into problems? This is my prayer for this season of my life- that I can recognize God's good gifts and praise Him for what they are- good gifts.
As far as the fear of hosting goes, I want to share some ideas that are helping me move past my
1) Make a double or extra portion of a meal and stick it in your freezer, so when the urge to host comes along, you'll already have the main dish made.
2) Keep those fancy dishes in the cupboards. This may go against what other people say about using those pretty dishes instead of hoarding them away, but when I put a white tablecloth and my good dishes on the table, I see a stark contrast between my table and the state of my house. Every day dishes and mismatched sliverware, to me, mean my house can look lived in- dust bunnies and all.
3) The point is being together! Not producing the most perfect meal. One of our favorite meals with friends is pizza and applesauce- that's it!
4) Show that you are a normal, human being. When it really comes down to it, I don't want my guests to think I'm perfect, because I'M NOT! If they see dust on the piano and stray legos in the corners, maybe it will encourage them. I certainly don't ever want someone to leave my house feeling inferior. I want them to feel part of the family.
And so, I challenge you this winter season. See God's good gifts for what they are and celebrate them with others, casting aside our anxiety and ridiculous (and impossible) expectations and instead rest in the fact that we are the wonderful, beloved children of God (legos, dust bunnies and all).
So, go on. Email or call that person or family you've been meaning to invite over. Keep it real. Keep it simple. Choose joy and look forward to the evening. Pin It