decorTo me, hospitality means creating a welcoming place…for others as well as for yourself. It’s creating a place of beauty and rest. But this will look different for each person.

What does it mean to have a heart of hospitality, and how can you do that during a season of being single?

Some of you may think that you don’t really need to be “hospitable.” No one ever comes over to your house anyway! Or maybe you live in the dorm…How can you show hospitality there? Or maybe this whole idea of hospitality just overwhelms you, and you don’t know where to start. Let me tell you a few stories…

I learned about welcoming people into my home at a young age. When I was in junior high and high school, my parents helped lead the college group at our church. At least once a month (often more frequently), we would have a group of students over to our house. I learned to set the table (or set out TV trays!), greet everyone at the door with a smile, and help wash the dishes after everyone left. I didn’t realize then that I was learning a valuable tool for my future.

Learning how to implement hospitality in different settings sometimes takes creativity.

When I was in college, there was an upstairs lobby in our dorm. Besides using it for weekly dorm Bible studies, it was mainly abandoned. I asked my RHS if I could decorate it, and she gave permission. For less than $30, I blew up some pictures that I’d taken myself (mainly of landscapes or flowers), put them in a whole bunch of empty box frames from my parent’s garage, hung the pictures on the walls, and decorated the window frame. Then I would plug in my hot water kettle and invite people over for tea (Even some non-college adult women friends kindly humored me by coming to my little corner!).

Hospitality is not just for others; it’s creating a welcoming place for you to come home to, especially if you live by yourself. Two things that I learned from the book The Spirit of Loveliness:

  • Light lamps; It’s always nice to come home to at least a lamp lit in the hallway and in the bathroom (this has been true no matter what apartment I’ve lived in)
  • Play music; Music changes the atmosphere, and always puts me in a happier mood, even if it’s just for washing dishes

You don’t have to have a big or fancy place. It’s the atmosphere—the feel­­—­that you give people when they come into your space. Do they feel welcomed? Do they feel relaxed? Do they feel at home?

Creating a place for people to come and feel welcomed is a spiritual activity. As we prepare and pray over our “space,” it opens our hearts up to the people who are coming in. And it opens up people’s hearts to experience the welcoming love of our God.

This post was written by Heather Dillard. To read more about her, click here.