Since I was 18 and started taking gifts assessments, I’ve known that I have the gift of hospitality. Now at 37, it’s more obvious than ever. I’m going to tell you how my gift of hospitality relates to
why I dress modestly and why I don’t cuss (hint: it’s the same reason).
People often think that having the gift of hospitality means being able to cook or decorate, or they envision a woman in an apron, always welcoming people into her home and serving them iced tea and cookies. Or they think of the woman with the well-appointed home, or someone who runs a bed and breakfast.
Sure that’s part of it and I do love entertaining. I dream of owning a B&B someday…but I’d hire people to cook and clean.
The gift of hospitality means thinking about what makes people comfortable.
If you have the gift of hospitality, a room that is too hot or too cold distracts you because you squirm on behalf of the people around you. You remember the little tongs you need for the sugar cubes. You stock your guest bathroom with extra toilet paper, air freshener, feminine protection items and fancy soap. When you have people over, you think about the flow of the room and the seating arrangement. You never allow someone to visit without offering them refreshments.
When I was a teen, I grew to hate sleepovers. I could never sleep until everyone else was asleep and if we, heaven forbid, had to share a bed, my #1 goal was to not disturb them in any way, even if I got zero sleep.
My gift of hospitality is also
- why I am a night owl. I love the feeling of everything being settled and quiet at the end of the day. I like things in their place.
- why I am so agreeable. I don’t ever enjoy ruffling feathers or causing contention. Arguments and drama make people uncomfortable so I avoid them.
- why I love serving behind the scenes for others’ success. I enjoy taking care of the details of events and projects so the star of the show can SHINE.
- why I host events and throw tea parties. It’s not for ME…it’s to get my people together so they can relax, enjoy and connect.
And my gift of hospitality is also why I dress modestly and why I don’t cuss.
One of my main goals in life–with every interaction, every group I belong to, every project I assist with–is to make others’ lives easier.
Let me tell you this. Skin distracts me. I am a happily married woman but when a woman has a lot of skin showing, it’s hard for me not to look. I have to tell myself, “Her eyes are up there.”
I choose not to be a distraction to people.
Granted, different things distract different people so I know that no one’s life can be an entirely distraction-free environment. But just like the employees of a posh hotel are meant to blend in and not be noticed, hospitality is about arranging things so no one even thinks about them–they just feel welcomed and cared for.
I was raised in the south primarily around church people. I have still never heard my father utter a bad word (true story). Coarse language still feels out of place to me.
Growing up, when people were cussing a lot, they tended to be uneducated, poor and/or drunk. That’s the association that has stuck with me, good or bad. So at 37, I still choose not to use expletives. And I use the same language in front of my kids as I do on a girls’ night or at a client meeting. I don’t want to have to “turn it off.”
In fact, one of my other goals in life is to live whole-istically. That means that I am “me” everywhere I go.
I don’t wear modest clothes to church and skimpy clothes to the neighborhood picnic. I don’t use G-rated language in front of my kids then throw around curse words when teaching a workshop.
Now. Do I vent to my husband after a long day and use a few choice words that I’d never say in front of anyone else? Yup. But that’s not really “me,” that’s just a frustrated and overworked “me” and that’s not who I am. That me is ugly in the truest sense of the word and often I come down from my rant and apologize to my hubby (who thinks my little tantrums are hilariously out of character).
Me dressing sexy could make a friend of mine uncomfortable. It could also make a male client or ministry leader uncomfortable. It could even make my son, my husband or my dad uncomfortable.
Me using colorful language could make someone uncomfortable, whether due to their own sensibilities or the fact that it IS awkwardly out of place for me.
Could expletives get my point across better? Maybe, but it’s not worth it to me to risk making someone uncomfortable. See the pattern?
I’m all about living with purpose…but living with conviction is even more important.
This is a conviction of mine–that when I can make someone more comfortable, I will. I will err on the side of NOT offending someone. I will risk a weak message in order to keep the peace.
So if you happen to be someone who is made uncomfortable by too much skin or too many f-bombs, I hope you’ll feel safe with me. On this I take a stand and I will not change my mind.
The world is scary enough. My job is to bring a little peace into the chaos and if sounding like a Disney character or wearing longer shorts does that, I’m doing my job well.