O.k. I said I wanted to work on this so I started by writing out what my excuses are for not entertaining. I got this idea from Lindsay at http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/ from her Missional Homemaking-Take Home Work Sheet. So, do I dare share my excuses?
Here they are:
1. strain on a tight food budget. Excuse can be resolved by first trusting the Lord to provide and secondly, make sure I schedule the entertaining at the beginning of the month when we have a better selection of food. Otherwise you might get beans and rice. :)
2. Not enough space. Our table only seats 4 comfortably and one spot is already taken up w/a baby seat and the other corner has a high chair in it. Excuse can be resolved by limiting our entertaining to singles or couples with no children. At least until the summer months when we can be outdoors.
3. What will we eat? Excuse can be resolved: This one always stresses me out, but honestly, I'm sure most guests aren't expecting P.F. Chang when they come to my house. They're probably just happy that we thought to invite them over (hopefully that's what they're thinking!) However, I will say it'd be best for me to choose a meal that I can prepare ahead of time.
4. How can I carry on a conversation with them over dinner? Adam and I can barely finish a conversation. Excuse can be resolved: do dessert only? Easier with the kids...If you have any suggestions on this one, please share!
5. What will we talk about? Will they be bored?
6. How do I entertain without getting stressed out because I'm trying to take care of guests but also take care of 3 little ones? Maybe this is a dumb idea, but I could make a list of things to do that would involved the kids and our guest could do them with us. We could choose to: play a game, do play dough, color, paint with watercolor...If this is a dumb idea let me know if you have a better one. Our house is really small so it's not like I can send the kids to the basement to play and we can carry on a conversation. So, it has to be ideas of things to do with the kids in the house since the weather is turning cold.
7. I'm not good at sharing. Sounds juvenile, but are you good at it? I have to see our possessions for what they are--just stuff. And I need to be better at sharing my food with others and not be so concerned about saving it for our family. I'm not saying "entertain to the detriment of your family's food needs." I'm talking about *hopefully* once a month! I think it boils down to trusting God. If something gets broken in the midst of entertaining I need to trust God to provide a new one of whatever that is because frankly, I probably won't have the money to replace it myself.
8. It's a lot of work to clean up afterwards! Excuse resolved: ???
So, there you have it--don't judge me. :) Why am I exposing myself and putting this in print? Well, maybe you are struggling with the same thing so you can be encouraged that you're not the only one and also, maybe someone who has gone before me has a good idea of how to resolve some of these dilemmas.
Ugh...already I'm feeling like this will be too much work! So why then am I even considering doing this? Well, I feel that it's an opportunity to minister to others, plus it teaches my children how to welcome others into our home.
I'm going to read a few books to help me do better in this area. I've been wanting to read Practicing Hospitality by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. HELLO...it's on our library's MelCat system so I'm requesting it. I'm also going to read a couple others suggested by Lindsay over at http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/
Wow...I feel vulnerable even talking about this.