When my husband mentioned he was inviting someone over for a last-minute hangout, I may have panicked a little.
Okay, a lot.
I was unprepared with no treats in hand. My house was still decorated for spring. Dishes cluttered the counter like the anxiety in my heart. What if our company didn’t have a good time? What if conversation stalled?
As I ran through my list of excuses, I realized how much I had withdrawn from social view. Over the years, I stopped opening my home because I felt like my efforts failed in comparison to friends. I chalked it up to being introverted. It’s the pandemic’s fault, I mused, while mentally rehearsing all the legitimate reasons for keeping my distance.
In hindsight, my reaction overreaction to my husband’s desire exposed my inner-soul hang ups with hospitality.
Which begs the question – what is hospitality, anyway?
- Is it well decorated and planned parties?
- Does it center around food?
- Is it an open-door policy where anyone can stop over at any time?
- Does it mean opening my home to strangers?
- Does it depend on whether people have a good time?
To answer these questions, I went directly to the source and was surprised to find that I’d mistakenly confused hospitality with entertaining, poor boundaries, and the way to soothe loneliness.
But the mind-blowing truth is that biblical hospitality is none of these. Continue reading
The increased conflict of recent years has put many of us on edge. I’ve seen friendships implode over hurtful words and differing opinions. I’ve watched marriages bend under the weight of mental health challenges and family drama.
When you’re in survival mode, dealing with difficult people can feel like the tipping point. The popular idea of “cutting people out” of your life is tempting when you’re just trying to make it through the week.
Before you throw in the towel, here are 5 things to keep in mind when relating to difficult people. Continue reading
The world is hurting. Again.
If we’re honest, we’re all having a difficult time with something right now. And after everything we’ve experienced in the last two years, how could we not?
Maybe your heart is broken by what you see on the news. Or you’re feeling the financial pressure with rising prices here at home. You may be worried about your job, your family, your health. Anxiety and depression could be taking a toll. Or loneliness is growing because your friendships don’t look the same anymore.
It’s likely we’re all a bit more overwhelmed and overloaded than before.
Yet in spite of all we’re enduring, I’ve heard people say these things as of late… Continue reading
Lately, interactions with others have felt more like a cold shoulder than a warm hug. Quarantine may be long gone but loneliness hangs around my soul like a morning fog.
These last 18 months have been hard on us all. Though we’ve regained a sense of normalcy, it feels like something has shifted at its core – society and relationships don’t feel the same anymore.
Perhaps this pandemic is just revealing what was there all along: that having friends and having community is not the same thing. That in the past we replaced meaningful connection with social gatherings and surface-level interactions. That the bonds we thought we had didn’t run very deep.
Being physically together yet emotionally empty can leave you feeling very lonely. That’s because loneliness is not a lack of company but a lack of connection. Being disconnected hurts so much because we were created to connect.
These days, I’m learning that hardships were intended to be lived and shared within community. But this hardship seems to be pulling people apart, not together.
If I’m honest, the world does not feel like a safe place right now. The divisiveness is further driving our disconnection. And the church does not seem to be helping. Continue reading
Social distancing while being homebound may be a new experience for many. But for us, this quarantine has been more of the same.
Every year when the weather begins to chill, I give a half-hearted wave to the world and tuck myself in for a long winter nap. I spend the majority of cold and flu season in self-induced hibernation; maintaining distance, vigilantly washing hands, wearing masks in clinics, reluctantly canceling plans with friends. For six months out of the year, being immune-compromised means that my world mostly exists within the four walls of my home.
It can get very lonely. And maybe you’re feeling lonely right now too. Continue reading
Yesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.
I was tired. Our summer has been full of non-stop activities, busyness, and stress.
I felt overwhelmed. My last few days were engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.
I also promised myself that I would accomplish my personal goals for the week. But an upcoming road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of the blues.
So naturally, I did what any of us would do. I mindlessly thumbed through Facebook.
And then I saw her life. You know the one.
Strong-willed people get a bad rap. They can be seen as stubborn, dominant, unreasonable or headstrong.
But are they, really?Dealing with a strong-willed spouse or child can be quite challenging. Our marriage is more unique in that we have not one, but two strong-willed individuals (how’d that happen?!). And odds are high we will end up with strong-willed children to boot.
If you fail to understand your strong-willed spouse or child, it can easily lead to power struggles, conflict and misunderstanding of character. Continue reading
Don’t do what I just did.
I was standing in the aisle at Walgreens perusing Mother’s Day cards when I heard her. A distressed, elderly woman in tears because she was lost and couldn’t find her way home.
Seeing her distress, my heart surged with compassion and concern.
But what did I do?
Nothing. Instead of lifting my voice or offering a hand, I sifted through each
logical reason excuse while the entire episode played before me. Should I help? Should I say something? Should I get involved? Someone else should probably handle it.
In truth, the store clerk got involved and she likely made it home just fine. But I sure didn’t.
I saw the need. But I didn’t respond to it. And it disturbed me greatly. Continue reading