Time is the thing we never seem to have enough of and the resource we most struggle to find. Spending time doing various activities with people signals to them that they are valued, appreciated, and cared for.
4 Ways to Make Time for Hospitality
Today we are jumping back into our Hindrances to Hospitality Series with a very important discussion. Time. Time is the thing we never seem to have enough of and the resource we most struggle to find.
We all know the truth though, when we believe something to be important we make the time for it. Most mothers were busy before they had children and still have plenty to do outside this role but they make time to sit and read and play because their children are important. Most people are busy at work but make time to put in extra effort when the possibility of a better position appears. And so the list goes on.
When an outsider looks at your life, they can get a pretty good idea of what you value based on how you spend your time.
I tend to be a very task-oriented person and, if my husband didn’t require me to chill sometimes, I would probably work until I dropped. However, I know this is not always the best thing for me. We all need time to rest and relax.
I don’t even think entertainment is a bad thing. Reading, watching certain TV shows and movies, playing games, and other relaxing pastimes are God-given gifts of mental and emotional rest.
However, if someone were to look at how you spend your time, what would they say is important to you? If I’m honest, there are things that should rank higher for me I’m sure but my prayer is that they would say I value my relationship with God, my husband, my children, my family, friends, and church family, my community, the world as a whole, and my business.
Spending time doing various activities with people signals to them that they are valued, appreciated, and cared for.
It has been said that we spend most of our time doing what it “urgent” rather than what is “important” (quote here). We have already discussed in this series why hospitality is important (check out that post here). And with that belief in mind, let’s examine 4 ways you can make time for hospitality even in the midst of a crazy schedule.
Make hospitality a priority
In order to make hospitality a priority we have to recognize how truly important it is. We have to refuse to let our schedules be so full that we miss this opportunity. For most people (including me for a long time!) hospitality is a nice idea when we don’t have anything else going on or when holidays seem to require it of us. It is not something we plan our lives around.
I truly believe it should be something we plan our lives around. A great way to do this is to plan one night a week (or even one night a month if once a week seems crazy to you in the beginning) for hospitality. It goes on your calendar the way any meeting or child’s sporting event would and you make it a priority to find people to include.
Over time you will probably fall so in love with this ministry that you will be looking for opportunities everywhere you can (that’s where I am at now!) but if you aren’t there yet, just schedule it. This way you are sure to have the time for it even during busy seasons of life.
2. Brings others into your busyness
This is an often overlooked but excellent way to exhibit a spirit of hospitality. Hospitality doesn’t have to be a perfectly planned meal with a perfectly clean house and a perfectly executed tablescape (praise God for that!). Hospitality can happen when you are going to make cookies with the kids so you invite another mom to join in the fun. It can be when you are preparing for an event and you ask someone to come help you. It can be when you go grocery shopping and stop to pick someone up who doesn’t have a car so they have a chance to go too.
There are a million ways to take the ordinary things you do and make them hospitable moments. After all, hospitality means “welcoming others” and we can do that anywhere, even in the midst of our busyness.
I have had some of the most meaningful conversations with women as I did the dishes after lunch and watched the kids play. When I am overwhelmed by the prospect of an event or task I need to complete, I call a friend and ask her to help. It is always more fun and much easier with an extra set of hands! Plus… their presence and advice usually keep my crazy perfectionism to a minimum.
Don’t procrastinate – biggest time saver!
In my opinion, not procrastinating is both very difficult and the BIGGEST time saver. If I just send an email when I am thinking about it or respond when a message comes in, I don’t have 15 to respond to at the same time. If I just help the kids pick up the living room right after they are finished playing, I don’t have 12 play experiences to pick up later. If I just make a phone call on the day I realize it needs to be done, I don’t add pressure to myself and I don’t have 12 calls to make during naptime one day.
Because this saves me time, I am able to have time for hospitality and if someone stops over unexpectedly I can receive them with joy because my tasks are not overwhelming.
I am still learning this and trying to implement it on a daily basis but the more I do it the better things go!
People are more important than to-do lists or entertainment
And ultimately, even if you never procrastinate, there is still a pretty good chance that your to-do list will be long during different seasons. It is during these times that a reminder to step back and think about what matters is helpful.
As important as it is to pay bills on-time and complete projects and assignments, these things are not eternal. The souls of those you interact with and either welcome with your hospitality or turn away in your frustration are eternal. God gave humans souls that will last forever. Nothing else carries that kind of weight.
Hospitality is something you can add to your to-do list that has the potential to make an eternal impact.
When someone interrupts you, remember people are more important.
This is also why it is important to do #3 – if you aren’t behind, it will be easier to remember that loving the person in front of you is more important that the “urgent” things on your to-do list.
This is also true of entertainment. Entertainment is not a bad thing but when spending time with people doesn’t take priority there is a pretty good chance you have made an idol out of entertainment.
Time for Grace
I am prayerfully considering how this impacts my life daily. If I truly take these 4 things seriously I should have more than enough time to be hospitable.
There are seasons in our lives where this becomes particularly challenging (caring for an ailing loved one, bringing home a new child, etc). Remember, there is always grace. We are to “welcome others as Christ has welcomed us” (Romans 15:7). But if that means you are welcoming when you get the chance to get out the house but have to pull back from hospitality within the home for a time, that is ok. Just remember that this is about a welcoming spirit and truly exhibiting the Christ-like character to which we were drawn.
In case you missed the last post in this series, check it out here.
Or if you would rather start this series from the beginning, start here.
How do you make the time for hospitality? What tips and tricks help your family to make this a priority?