Remembering Part 2

This week I am taking some time to reflect on my first year of blogging.  I am going back to old posts and reliving memories and lessons that God has taught me in the past 12 months. 

One of the challenges that I faced this year was opening myself up to relationship.  I do not trust easily and this comes from deep hurts that have a long past and an even longer memory.  I can honestly say that God has healed many facets of this part of my life.  I have taken steps that have forced me out of my house and onto the bench to engage with others.

Even though I have many more steps to take, I cannot even begin to describe how much community and friendship have had an impact on my life in the last year, both in real life and on-line.  I am so grateful that God has allowed me to see the benefit of practicing deep hospitality.

Deep Hospitality: Originally Posted June 24, 2012

I am truly not a kind person. I am so quick to judge and my temper is like dynamite. One spark and… BAMMM!… there goes my grace. I know that makes me sound like I’m being too hard on myself but when I look at how I want others to view my heart I cringe just a little bit. The following words are not words of self-condemnation but rather, they are words that have been birthed from a place of recognizing and answering God’s call for my life. Although many of them seem harsh they are the words that my soul needed to wrestle with in order to give birth to a spirit of grace and humility.

I have heard it said once that as members of the Body of Christ we are called to practice “deep hospitality.” I hear that phrase and I immediately think of the deep South in July and August. I think of the close and unyielding heat on a slow and lazy hot summer day. The kind of heat that permeates your skin and forces one to a slow and deliberate pace. Every action has a purpose, every chore done with a deliberate intention so as not to waste or expend one precious ounce of energy. I think of long summer nights spent chasing fireflies and slow conversations on a large veranda sipping from tall cool glasses of lemonade. When I think of practicing deep hospitality I envision those things.
When I compare that description to my own hospitality I am brought up short by the stark difference in my own thoughts. I do not currently practice deep hospitality – not even close. My hospitality only extends so far as what my schedule dictates. Is it in the calendar? Can I make this work for my benefit? Can I see the opportunity for myself and my agenda? What a lot of time and energy spent on wasteful and unyielding thoughts.
No wonder I can be so grumpy – with this attitude there is no grace. I don’t extend grace to others and by default I certainly don’t extend grace to myself. There is no straying from my agenda, it is rigid and unmoveable. There are no slow or deliberate conversations, no chasing of friendship and drinking from the cool fountain of companionship. There is no moment to watch for and move upon opportunities.
The opportunities to witness the unknown that are placed along my path and within my eyesight every single day are lost because of my unyielding nature . I feel somewhat like the two disciples on their way to Emmaus after the resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24) – they were so consumed with their own pain, their own worry, that they did not recognize who it was among them – my similarities with these two travellers however, end there. They engaged Jesus, this man who at that moment was merely a stranger to them. They spoke to Him of their grief, their pain and they spoke with deep and lasting affection for their Saviour. Then, they did what would come naturally to those who practice deep hospitality – they invited him to dinner and as this stranger broke bread with them, God chose that moment to reveal that sitting there in their midst was the Son of God – their Saviour.
I struggle with engaging at this level – in such deep and meaningful ways. Practicing deep hospitality would require me to extend my faith beyond the boundaries in which I am comfortable. It would mean that I would need to continue walking along a path and immersed in soulful conversation. It would mean that I would need to open my heart and my schedule to the unknown and accept the mysteries of faith. Instead what I often find myself doing is wasting my time and energy on nursing my own pain and giving credence to my own selfish and unyielding desires.
I am so deeply entrenched in my worries that my mouth often fills with bitterness, every word I say is laced with acerbic bits of mal-content and judgment. It is a dull and dreary existence – living as a complainer.
As a follower of Christ I am told to embrace life, to live it to it’s fullest because it has been given to me in abundance. Maintaining a hold on my uncertainty and selfishness causes me to stop on the path of my life’s journey and blinds me from seeing opportunities and embracing mystery. God has shown me these past few months that I need to engage, just simply engage because I believe to the very core of my being that this is what He wants me to do. I believe that He has called me to choose grace and hospitality.
*Credit for the source of the inspiration for this writing must be given to P. Goodyear.

2 Comments

  1. Tonya- thank you for reposting the story of the beginnings of your blog! Reading it gives me hope and verification that I am on the right path as I’m embarking on my blog journey. I enjoy your writing style.
    Stacey

  2. Stacey – thank you so much for taking the time to read here and I am so glad that it spoke to you. You’ll let me know when your blog starts? I would love to read your words friend.

Leave a Reply