About the Author

Deidra is a national speaker and the author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are, and One: Unity in a Divided World. Follow Deidra on Instagram @deidrariggs

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  1. I love this! I am the same way and sometimes get discouraged about the food but I should remember that’s not what people are coming for … It’s the fellowship! What a really great piece to describe that!!!

  2. Oh so true! Thanks for the reminder that they’re coming for the fellowship….not to see how clean my house is!

  3. This is a great reminder! God has been teaching me lately that hospitality doesn’t have to be planned or include food – sometimes it’s more about paying attention and reaching out when we had other things planned or a long to-do list. A hug, an encouraging word, making 15 minutes to go for a walk with a friend who needs to talk all count!

    • Absolutely! It’s not just about having people over for dinner. It’s all about being available in the moment – whenever that moment presents itself!

  4. love this reminder. i feel like my house has to be in perfect order….but really, people aren’t coming to a tour of homes, are they?

  5. Thank you for this! It so encouraged me to keep trying to welcome people to my simple (so much less than perfect) home. Touched my heart with the honesty & humor, & most of all, the warmth. I would cherish an invitation to this table to be nurtured in flesh and in spirit. Priceless!

  6. I feel like I’ve been there….the fiasco part! I love what this post means…it’s been awhile since I’ve entertained…the meal always stressing me out. I need to remember it’s not the food their there for. Happy Monday!

    • It’s no fun when the event becomes stressful, is it? I’d love a chance to sit with you over a cup of tea…no stress required. πŸ™‚

  7. I was not raised in a home where having guests felt natural and fun. No, it was a very stressful event and the feeling of stress trickled down to even the smallest of us. So it was difficult, when starting my own home, to start from scratch, learning how to open the door and welcome people.

    I found great encouragement in the word PRACTICE. I don’t need to be perfect at it, just keep practicing. πŸ™‚

    I’ve been practicing ever since. Sometimes when things go the worst it’s the best of times!

    • Finding that word PRACTICE really freed me, too Marilyn. I grew up in a home where my parents were always entertaining. And they were good at it. So when it was my turn, the pressure was on. I set the standard really high for myself and my family usually got the brunt of my anxiety.

      I’m so glad you found a way to lay the stressful stuff down and just be you. Because -when it comes to hospitality – you, my friend, are a natural! πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks for your great perspective and encouragement. We put so much pressure on ourselves to “entertain” perfectly, when you are so right – people just want to be welcomed in and loved. And I think the imperfections make us very relatable…

  9. Wine helps, a bunch.

    We used to cook from Bon Appetit for our friends. Now, it’s more like Everyday Food…things with simple ingredients and easy prep. That helps a bunch. That, and turning down the lights. πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve been formulating thoughts about hospitality myself, and how the word “perfection” does not appear in the definition. Simply extending what you have in a generous way to others, who you are and right where you are. I have a house full of small children, so I have a hard time extending hospitality…I just feel guilty about the toys and how a small hurricane of little people undo everything I try to accomplish right before guests arrive. I need to let go of the perfection and pride and just extend myself to others.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • I love going to a home with small children. I like how you describe it – a small hurricane of little people. My children are adults and sometimes I miss that little storm. Having a chance to hang out in the home of a family like yours is often a gift for me. πŸ™‚

  11. I’m so embarrassed to admit this, but as a child, whenever I knew guests were coming over, I would run and hide in my bedroom. The embarrassing part is as soon as I see someone coming up our walk, I still want to run and hide. Little by little, (with timely posts like yours) I am learning that this hospitality thing is not about me; it’s simply about what God wants to do through me.

    “Someone once said that, in the dictionary, the word hospitality falls someplace between hospital and hostel. One, a place of healing and the other a place of refuge. That’s really all anyone wants when they show up at our doorstep. They want to feel whole, and they want to feel safe.” I may not be able to set a gorgeous table or cook a meal worth remembering, but with Christ, I can certainly offer my heart (and my home) as a play of refuge. Thank you for opening my eyes to the true calling Christ has given us~
    ~Stacy

  12. First time here..
    I love this!
    This spoke volumes to me… the ‘KEEP TRYING’ aspect that is. I need to always remember that God wants me NOT to give up, but to keep trying. In the past weeks, I have been somewhat upset with myself because some projects have not gone the way I have planned, or not turned out as PERFECT as i wanted them to (you can sense a perfectionist right?) All last week, the quiet voice has been saying “the fact that you get up everyday and stick to it, means more to me than it being pefect” That got my attention. To me it means I still believe and have hope in the dreams that were laid within my heart…

    Now I read this and I am just going to skip along my day happy in the knowledge that, as long as keep walking & working with God, and keep trying, it will be alright.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    I love your blog & you’ve got a fan πŸ™‚

    God Bless
    Remi

    • So good to see you here! Welcome! We hope you’ll feel like you can join us on the couch, grab a glass of tea, and prop your feet up on the coffee table. We’re so happy to have you!

      My friend Jennifer says: “Perfection is so yesterday.” I’ve decided to make that my new mantra. πŸ˜‰

    • Ha! I wondered if anyone would ask me that.

      Well…I grabbed my purse and headed to the grocery store – after checking to make sure there was nothing in my house I could serve. I considered pancakes. Honestly.

      When I got to the grocery store I discovered a sale on chicken (Yay, God!). I ran home and popped those bad boys in the oven. When my guests arrived the chicken was still cooking, so I explained the fiasco, we all had a good laugh, and they graciously waited until dinner (finally) made it to the table.

      In the end, it was one of the best “dinner parties” I’ve ever hosted. πŸ™‚

  13. I love to cook. When inviting people over, I keep it simple, but I pray, “Lord, tell me what to make. Something that’s a favorite of my guests. Something that will feed them, body and soul.” He always answers that prayer. I could tell you stories, but it would take too long. It doesn’t have to be fancy; in fact, in my house, we’re not fancy. But the goal is to serve with love.

  14. I hear ya, Deidra! So often in the past year I’ve felt the tug for me to reach out to folks in our neighborhood – we’re the new ones! – and make friends. I enjoy it and try to remind myself that it’s not about the “turkey”…and then slowly, toward the end of winter, I tire of being hospitable. I become more grumbly about it and yet, I know I need to keep on.

  15. Oooh really great post! I was cracking up about the frozen turkey still frozen just hours before guests arrived! Been there!

    I have so much to learn in this area and sometimes it does seem so funny to write it down and laugh about it later. πŸ™‚

  16. Healing, refuge and fellowship…THAT is the BEST of hospitality!! Wonderful post, Deidra, about the IMPORTANT part of entertaining–your GUESTS!! πŸ™‚

    And the “special” thing I often do (especially the first time someone visits) is write a BIG welcome on the chalkboard outside our back door AND a smaller message on my DaySpring memo board inside (sometimes with the menu or sometimes just a greeting). They always notice :).

    xo

  17. Thank you for this “real life” post… πŸ™‚
    I try to keep extra toothbrushes and small hotel shampoos/conditioners on hand for when guests forget them. It also helps me to remember that I’m more comfortable myself in a home that is slightly-less-than-perfect. I’d rather hang out with real life than formal perfection. I guess I just assume (er..um..hope…) that our guests will too.

  18. Deidra, this is perfect! Perfect! With my husband’s job and my extrovert personality, I get lots of practice at showing hospitality. Even though I often get the menu/food wrong, I try to make up for my lack of cooking skills by going out of my way to make guests feel loved and appreciated.

    And the frozen turkey thing? Ya, that was our Thanksgiving this year. Thankfully, our guests were sweet and didn’t mind eating about 4 hours late…

    Love this and love you!

  19. Oh, I keep thinking in another life I’d be good at this…maybe if I had had girls, not boys…maybe if my husband enjoyed doing this…maybe if we weren’t the creative, nonlinear household types…

    I should practice. Thanks for reminding me…

  20. What an amazing post! My mom is the queen of hospitality, but it skipped a generation. I take such encouragement at the word “practice.” To me, that’s a sigh of relief. It doesn’t have to perfect, but it does have to be practiced! So no excuses for NOT practicing will work. What a great perspective! Thanks so much!

  21. I like hospitality your way. Not perfect … just real. That’s the way to do it, girl!

    I cannot wait to sit across a table from you in a few days! We’ll soak in that Big Mama hospitality. And I know already, I’ll feel more whole, real … safe.

    Thanks, Deidra, for sharing your hospitable heart!

  22. I can’t “do” much anymore… I used to be the girl that would have the food and the table set and little gifts for people. Now they just come in the door and sit in bed with me. But both ways my goal was the same: for people to feel more filled up when they leave than when they came.

  23. I used to hyperventilate over entertaining at my house. I also wanted everything to turn out just right. Now… I call people beforehand and say “Hey, if you want cake, you might want to bring it…” I am only kind of kidding.

    Most of the people who come here are here for laughter and love and fellowship. If we are laughing because my turkey didn’t thaw, we are laughing together. And those are the parties everyone remembers. πŸ™‚

  24. Thank you so much–i am embracing the “practice” aspect of hospitality. So often, I shoot down my husband’s request to invite folks over because the “house is a mess”! Must get past that!

    I appreciate this!