Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hospitality for Introverts

A continuation of Carol B. Ghattas article: "Accessing God Through Hospitality," July/August '10 onlineMagazine.

I am an introvert who lives with an extrovert. People are part of our life, and I have had to adjust or die! Each country we lived in had its uniqueness:
1. We lived in an apartment on the 4th floor. Sometimes we just did not answer the door! Use that peep hole; it's there for a reason.
2. We had a house that was a typical American ranch layout with lots of windows. If a person didn't find you at the front door, they would walk around the house until they saw you through a window--even the bedroom ones! We could never hide.
3. In another country we had more privacy, but people felt more at home with us there and came over a lot, so our place was very busy.
4. In our last country of service, life was somewhat slower and visitors usually came with an invitation or warning. I cooked the least in this country.
5. In the USA, even I am longing for visitors!!

So, how did I adjust in this people-friendly environment? God has taught me a lot about stepping out of my comfort zone while at the same time offering opportunities of quietness and renewal. Perhaps He will use some of the following to help those of you like myself to see your potential even in hospitality.

1. I allowed my husband to visit alone with male only visitors. This gave me time alone too. Of course, this was after I served coffee and cake. As a woman, I was not expected to stay in the room.
2. I gave myself the opportunity to go in and out of the room during a visit. Many times this was to check on the children or food, but it allowed me a breather from conversation and people.
3. I stopped worrying about time.
4. I allowed myself to have a ministry of interruptions and to look for God in them.
5. I did not feel obligated to have someone come in, if I did not have to. There are some people that came too often and for no intended purpose. Many times I just talked to them at the gate or door and did not offer to let them in.
6. I gradually extended my limits--it comes with time an practice.
7. I made time for down time. Make sure your extrovert husband understands this need. This hit especially hard after children.

If you are a single introvert, it is important to find an extroverted ministry partner to help you get out of your comfort zone. When I served as a single on the mission field, one of the ways I did hospitality best was to have planned events. This works well but does not always allow you to practice hospitality with the stranger. Having an extroverted roommate will open up your world and allow you to connect with the non-scheduled guest. Be prepared for challenges, however, and then refer to the above list for helps!

God has chosen people to share with people the Good News of Jesus Christ. While I would prefer handing someone a book, I need to stretch my wings and allow the stranger into my life for the sake of the Gospel. God can use you, Introvert! Take heart!

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Libby said...

This is me for sure. Thanks for sharing your tips and encouragement about this subject of introverted hospitality.

CarolGhattas said...

I'm glad you were encouraged by the article, Libby. I knew I was not the only introverted hostess out there!


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