Biblical Hospitality Tips for Introverts & Perfectionists

September 13, 2022

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Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.


Hello, friends and welcome to the Foundation Worldview Podcast. Where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the kids God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host Elizabeth Urbanowicz and I'm so excited you've joined me for another episode today. Now our question for today comes from a recent webinar that I did with Rosaria Butterfield where we talked through raising children in a home with biblical hospitality. We talked through how important it is to make sure that we are opening up our home both to believers and non-believers. To genuinely live out the gospel within the community in which God has placed us and what a vital role this plays in discipleship for the next generation. So this question says as an introverted person, what tips do you have for opening our homes to others? Also, any tips to get over perfectionism when having people over? Those are such great questions and I know ones that so many people are probably thinking through when they think through this concept of biblical hospitality.

I would imagine that more people today categorize themselves as introverts or even extreme introverts than those that did 20, 30, 40 years ago. Part of it is just the prevalence of personality tests and the fact that we want to categorize ourselves in a million ways. I think the other parts of it are just because of the individualism in our culture and the way that smartphones and social media have really caused us to be so introspective and focused on our own inner world. So my recommendation... I understand this because I too would categorize myself as an introvert in that in order to be refreshed truly I need a little bit of time on my own. I've been like this ever since I was young. I remember growing up sometimes my family would be going to an outing and I would ask my parents if I could stay home. If they'd let me stay home and I could just have an hour to myself I would feel so energized by the time they came back. So I know a lot of us feel this way that we get our energy by having some time alone.

So how do we press forward in practicing hospitality? Well, I'm going to give you some really difficult advice that has been made popular by Nike. Just do it, just practice biblical hospitality. Just start doing this. Now I mentioned before, just about the popularity of personality tests and whether it's the Myers Briggs test, whether it's the DISC test, whether it's temperaments test. I know that the Enneagram is super popular, would warn you to be cautious of that. The roots of the Enneagram are not actually in science but are in some kind of mystic spirituality. But aside from that because of these personality tests and all the way that we identify and label ourselves. We can move into a situation where we're actually justifying sin by saying oh, I'm an introvert or oh I'm phlegmatic or a choleric. Or oh, I'm a... I'm thinking of the ones with the animals. I'm a beaver or nowadays people are like oh, I'm an eight. I'm a one, I'm a two, I'm a four.

We can take these things where we've learned something a little bit about ourselves and use it to justify our sin and being an introvert does not give us a pass on hospitality. Okay? The biblical authors didn't say do not give up the habit of meeting together unless of course you're an introvert and then you have a pass. No, we are called to practice biblical hospitality and to continue meeting with the body of believers, inviting them into our home, even inviting non believers into our home so that we can share and live out the gospel. So that's the first piece of advice I would give, just do it. Start practicing biblical hospitality. Now, if you're thinking but Elizabeth I need my rest, I need time to rest. Okay, yes. That we are called to rest. There's a reason that God set up the world so that we would labor for six days and rest for one. We do need rest and so I would encourage you also be intentional about the times that you rest so that you make sure that you have the energy you need to continue pouring into others.

Now with this I would say make sure you're scheduling in time for true rest, scrolling through social media that's not rest. Watching something on Netflix potentially that could be rest but a lot of the things that we categorize as rest in our society aren't really refreshing to our souls. Okay, this doesn't mean that every time we rest we have to spend hours in Bible study. Now that's not a bad idea. Okay? It's not a bad idea to go to the living water and the bread of life when we're looking for rest and refreshment it's actually a great idea. We can do that but do other things that actually align with our design. Spend some time in nature, spend some time marveling at God's creation. Okay? Spend some time with a good book that's actually going to speak truth to you. Exercise, spend time if it's relaxing to you with a good friend but just make sure that we have these times scheduled in for rest so that we can continue pouring out into others. But it needs to be genuine rest.

Okay? It can't be these things that kind of pass as rest in our society but are really just amusement. Another thing that I would say is to really evaluate your family's schedule. Because a lot of times we don't have time to practice hospitality or we feel like we're just going to explode or we just need some time to ourselves because our family's schedule is so jam packed. What we do is we fill up this schedule with things that are good things but are not the best things. I think athletics are a gift from God, the ability to move our bodies huge gift from God. We can glorify God in the way that we engage in athletics. But athletics have really taken root in our society just in a way that is not healthy for the family. If our child is on a travel sports team where it means all weekend, every weekend, we're going to be traveling around watching them play six baseball games or seven soccer games. Okay? Or we're going to be at a gymnastics competition for 12 hours on a Saturday. Is that really the best thing for our family?

Are we actually having time to disciple our children or is sports squeezing that out? Do we actually have time to practice biblical hospitality as we're commanded to? Or are we saying, oh sorry this is soccer tournament season. Really evaluate that and sports aren't the only thing. Other good things like music, debate club, all of these things could be good things that are just squeezing out the best things. For those of you who homeschool this is one huge advantage you have over every other family. That typically in three to four hours a day you can get done what it takes a public or private school to get through in seven or eight hours. So be intentional at the way you're investing the time that God has given you with your children. As far as hospitality goes talk with your spouse about setting up a routine and a rhythm that's sustainable to your family.

With Rosaria Butterfield we talked about how almost every night of the week her home is open, that's not sustainable for everyone. It's not. But could you once a week? Twice a week? Once every other week open up your home to practice biblical hospitality. Second thing is for those of us who are introverts, when we think about having other people into our home spending sustained amount of time with others it can be an overwhelming thought. However, we just need to dive in because practicing hospitality can be a joy. Practicing hospitality is building relationships with one another. When we're practicing hospitality among the body of Christ we're actually communing with our brothers and sisters. When we're having those who are non-believers into our home, we're actually having an opportunity to live out the gospel before them. This can be a great joy. I remember when I was in high school, one of my friends we were talking in school and she said, "I walked by your house last night."

The house I was growing up it had huge bay windows and so people could just see and it was kind of like a fishbowl and she said, "I was walking by your house last night and I saw that you had people over." She said, "You were standing up in the dining room and you were filling everyone's cups with water. You looked happier in that moment than I have ever felt in my entire life." Now as a high schooler I did not respond in a wonderful way. I was just kind of like, "Oh, that's interesting." I wish I had gone into an explanation of the gospel. But what my friend was able to articulate that joy that she saw in me, some of my best memories from growing up are when my parents opened up our home to practice hospitality. Because what we got in those moments was a taste of eternity. The unity that we had with other believers is just a foretaste of what we're going to experience in eternity when we are fully united with Christ and in Christ.

We have the opportunity to live without the weight of sin with our brothers and sisters in Christ. So part of this needs to be a mind shift rather than viewing hospitality as something that we have to do. Viewing hospitality as this joyful service that we get to do. Something that God has actually allowed us to do as members of the body of Christ. Now, the second part of this question asked any tips for getting over perfectionism when having people over? So the first thing we need to do is we need to examine what is perfectionism? So perfectionism is a desire to be perfect. In biblical language perfectionism is striving for perfection without Jesus. So perfectionism is actually anti-gospel. So now, as I'm speaking to many of you who are perfectionist I can say that I struggle with this sin as well. That I struggle with this desire to be perfect without Jesus and when we strive for this we are simply fooling ourselves. We're fooling ourselves into believing that we can somehow be good without God. We can't.

Scripture is clear that we are sinful and Jesus is the only one who has ever lived a perfect life. So we really need to make sure that we are viewing this through the lens of the gospel. That perfectionism is not just a personality type. Perfectionism is actually a sin because we're trying to be perfect without Jesus. So that's the first thing that I would suggest and I know that's a harsh word to hear. However, because I love you I need to be able to tell you the truth that perfectionism is a sin and we need to recognize that in our lives. Okay? It's something that some of us with this bent towards this. We all have different bents towards different sins and those who are like me and have this bent towards perfectionism. Okay? It's something that we need to continually confess and repent of before the Lord and ask him, to cling to him and to not care about others viewing us as perfect. So in regards to hospitality my encouragement to you would be push through the discomfort.

It's going to be hard to have people over your home when things aren't perfect, when your house isn't perfect, when your meal isn't perfect, when your children aren't perfect. But do we want to point people towards us or do we want to point people towards Jesus? If we want to point people towards Jesus, we're not going to be worried about the perfection of our home, our food or our children. Then just continually practice this, push through the discomfort and continue to practice this because practice makes progress and pray that God would soften your heart and convict you quickly when you are wanting to be perfect without Jesus. When you're wanting people to think well of you rather than desiring for them to think well of Jesus. Another thing that I would recommend is when you have others over to get over this perfectionism give others the gift of becoming a vital part of your family life. Because the way things usually go, especially in the United States is we have people over for dinner and we're very warm and welcoming and people say is there anything I can do?

Then the script goes, no you don't need to do anything just enjoy yourself then we do all of the work. Now, when you think about this when you have a guest that's usually how you treat a guest. That's not how you treat your family. You expect your family to help out and actually when we invite those who have been invited into our home into the work of our home. We're letting them play a vital role in our family's life and we're showing them that they're actually family. I remember the first time that this happened for me, I had just always thought you have people over, you do everything for them. You prepare, you cook, you serve, then you entertain and then they go home and then you clean. Then I started going over to my pastor's house when I lived just outside of Chicago and whenever he and his wife would have me over for dinner I would say, "Is there anything I can do to help?" The first time I asked this question the response kind of shocked me. Because my pastor's wife said, "Yes, you can chop vegetables for the salad."

I was like, "Oh, okay." I was just expecting this script to play out differently but I chopped the vegetables. Then I came over another time and I said, "Is there anything I can do to help?" She said, "Yeah, could you wash the dishes in the sink?" I was like what? I'm washing dishes. So then I started washing dishes and every time I came over and I asked that question she would give me a job to do. You know what I found? I found that I felt more comfortable in their home than in anybody else's home. Because I knew that I was part of the family. That I wasn't just some guest that they were entertaining. But that I was actually family and that they were inviting me into their family's life. So would really encourage you if somebody asked can I bring something? Say yes and let them bring something over. When somebody asks can I help with anything? Have a job that they can do so that they can help you. Okay, it also makes conversation flow a lot more naturally when you're working towards something together.

That's another thing. If you are worried about oh, I'm an introvert how am I going to keep the conversation going? Don't just have one family over, have two families over. Okay? Bring more people into the conversation so that it can flow really naturally then just make it an ordinary time. Make it an ordinary meal. You don't have to have a perfect meal, okay? If every Tuesday you have spaghetti and salad serve spaghetti and salad. Don't make it really fancy. You can even serve it on paper plates because it's not about hosting it's about practicing biblical hospitality. When our children are invited into this, when our children are invited into this communion within the body of Christ this opening up of our home, they are getting a small taste of eternity. They're getting a small taste of what it means to actually be part of the body of Christ. So I know that many of us are introverts, I know that many of us struggle with perfectionism. But I hope that we can walk forward from today with these truths that we're all called to practice biblical hospitality.

We can think of routines and rhythms that would be beneficial and a good pace for our family life. We need to make sure we're scheduling in true times of rest and we just do it. Push through because we love Jesus and we've been commanded to do this. Then when we're struggling with perfectionism, to remind ourselves this is sin. This is just trying to be perfect without Jesus and this is caring what people think of me rather than caring of what people think of Jesus. Well, I'm so glad that you joined me for this episode of the Foundation Worldview podcast today and I'll look forward to seeing you next time.

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