You’re welcome, no really, you are

Image by alborzshawn via Flickr

We toss that expression out our mouths so fast.  Something happens, a kindness, a smile, allowing someone to pass us in the grocery line, and we say, “You’re welcome.”  But are they?

For some of us this is a skill, welcoming I mean.  I’ve known outrageously welcoming people.  One of my friends is so welcoming, she redesigned her home to make it more comfortable for others to visit.

I know people who greet you and smile and embrace each and every moment.  They are a blast to hang with.   It’s not like they hit servant mode or anything, they just make you feel good in their presence.  They invite people into their space regularly and enjoy it.

I want to be like them, but it doesn’t come easy.

For some people this is a natural skill, a spiritual gift possibly.  But all of us are designed to exist within a community.  We need it and want it, but don’t always know how to start.   I’m one of those non-natural starters, but that’s not going to deter me.  Don’t let it stop you either.

I want an open door attitude, in my house and in my heart.  The best way to start is to start.  Maybe I’m clunky and awkward, but hey, so was walking.  But now, I can prance down the street effortlessly.  This hospitality gig doesn’t have to intimidate.

I started learning how to welcome people.  While I don’t have it wired yet, I’m toddling better each day.  You can do it too.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1.  Invite people over, even if it feels uncomfortable.  You’ll get over it.

2.  Understand that people decline invitations all the time, this isn’t a knock on you. A busy world creates busy people.

3.  Smile.  Whether the house is perfectly clean or the meal perfectly finished, smile.

4.  Remember the mantra, “If at first you don’t succeed,” a burnt meal is better than no meal at all, and Pizza Hut delivers.

5.  Be the welcome wagon. Don’t wait for invitations, you may end up just waiting.  Take initiative and risk opening your home.

The Bible gives us great examples of this which have stuck in my head, and it pulls me out of my lethargy when I’m tempted to shut the doors and hide in my abode.  You knew I was going to bring the Bible into this, didn’t you?

The apostle Paul welcomed people:

“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.” (Acts 28:30, NIV)

This is why he did it:

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.”  (1 Thessalonians 2:8, NLT)

For those of us who struggle with a welcoming attitude, the question is clear.  Do we love enough to really share ourselves?

I say, “Discomfort be darned.  You are welcome, you really are.”


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