What is it about human nature that we long to be loved and admired for what we do?
After reading this comment I was challenged to consider my own motives regarding why I do certain things when it comes to hospitality.
I am somewhat...yes I admit it...a "perfectionist" when it comes to entertaining. I have been a Chef/ Caterer for lots of so called "important" people, for almost 20 years. I always felt I had to put in 110% effort and wanted to be acknowledged and noticed for it!
But, yes...there is a huge BUT now......after reading your blog. I am immensely encouraged to use the gift God’s given me of “hospitality" without the perfectionism!!
I’ve said it before ...
I think younger women have to be very mature - to have a mature mindset. Even with an excellent hospitality role-model in my life (my mother), I still aimed for perfectionism in my 30’s. As I grew stronger in Christ, and I became more at ease with who I was (created in His image), I then created a healthy balance and a style that was “my own.” I continued to have healthy women I looked up to, to help teach me and show me what true hospitality was all about. I was eventually able to put away perfectionism.
Put away the image!
Giving advice to younger moms, my thoughts would be based on the reader’s comment above! Put away the image. If that means staying away from magazines, or over-the-top entertaining articles or books, then make a pact with yourself that you are going to find out who you really are.
Are you entertaining to impress?
• Are you always worried about what other people may think?
• Are you going over the top, with your menu and décor, because you want to keep a certain image?
• Are you fretting and stewing over your menu for days in fear that your guests won’t be pleased with what you offer them?
If any of these things apply to you, then you are definitely struggling with perfectionism. You are letting “image” play a role in your hospitality. To be frank with you, you are missing the point of true hospitality!
Find a mentor!
Learning, growing, creating, and expressing – these were aspects that helped shape me into the woman I am today. I also found myself drawn to women who knew how to entertain better than I did, and I learned from them! I made mental notes of small things that they did. And then I’d tell myself, “I can do that!” (By the way, if you don’t happen to know any woman that you are “attracted” to, as a mentor – keep following my blog for more challenging posts and great ideas!)
I started small with the things that I learned from my mentors, and then I gained confidence along the way. I didn’t pile huge agendas onto my plate, like - I want to have a dinner party with 10 people, and I want to cook a prime rib (for the first time ever!) and I want to make the most elaborate dessert. Oh, and I don’t want my guests to bring anything. I want to do it all!
I put away the lie that things had to be a certain way, and that I had to do it all, and I allowed myself the room to grow and change through the process of practicing this beautiful art!
I started seeing that the reward of true hospitably was not in the details, and definitely not in me, the hostess. I began to see how lives were changed around our dinner table. How people began to feel “free” and open to discuss their life – their pains and their joys.
Oh, and I think I need to share with you the very last sentence that the above reader wrote, because it sums up this post.
I want to show true hospitality, but put away that "perfect" entertaining image!
During this beautiful season, will you join me in keeping things simple, ladies?
Let’s enjoy what really matters – that we have life to share with one another. Let’s put away the image and focus on the admiration that really counts. All we have to do is turn our hearts toward the cradle – and let the little Babe of Bethlehem engulf us and fill us with the true love we are all craving.
That’s the only image that I want my life to radiate!
(... radiating smiles on my friend’s faces a few weeks ago, when we had our Progressive Dinner!)
The WINNER to my 300th post giveaway is Miss G, from Sundrenched Moments! I hope she doesn't mind me sharing her comment, what she has learned by reading 300 posts on Reluctant Entertainer! Congrats Miss G!
Where to even begin? I am continually inspired and challenged by your blog and little things stick in my head. I have loved being hospitable from an early age but it's like your writing and experiences and the way you're living out your hospitality-mothering-mentoring-ministering pushes me a little further, reminds me to dig deeper, gives me pointers, etc. I am newly married, no kids and yet I begin to imagine my life farther down the road but know that it all needs to and can begin now, not "someday".
The first thing that came to mind when you asked what we've learned is the idea of cooking once for double the hospitality. I just need to jump in and try this "hands on". The most recent post that has really struck a chord with me is on seeing and feeling. So important! So good to know I'm not alone in my desires to do the same.Also, I am inspired by your balcony girls group. It reminds me some of a group that my grandma had for my girl cousins and I and some other little girls called "Butterflies and Rainbows". We did crafts and sang songs and had snacks and she taught us truths about friendship. I am also intrigued by your group of moms cooking for your child's teacher. I am presently a teacher, no kids and wow, I know this would be a blessing. How exciting to think about being able to do this for someone else.
Finally, the importance you place on people is always encouraging and a constant theme, letting your kids cook different things and giving them credit for it and praising their efforts, incorporating your husband's decorating ideas, valuing old friendships and nurturing them, waiting to have dinner at 9:00 so you can share it with friends, not worrying about things being perfect, it's the being together that counts.
I'm so excited to do some simple planning with Miss G, who is recently married and now Mrs. R!