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Are You Hospital-Able?

As a young wife and mom struggling with agoraphobia many years ago, my inner—and outer—lives were in disarray. But as the Lord dealt with my depression and anxiety, he showed me I needed to get my exterior in order as he worked on my interior.

I'm grateful that when life started coming together for me, I was able to begin extending hospitality. But it took a long time for me to open my home to others because I thought everything had to look the way it did in books or in other people's homes.

Then a friend told me, "Patsy, one time a young couple invited my husband and me over to their place, and all they had to offer us was hot chocolate and popcorn." Then she added, "That memory's never left me because we had such a wonderful, fun time. And we would have been cheated out of it if they'd felt they couldn't begin where they were at."

Unfortunately, when we think of hospitality, usually it's in narrow terms. We think of someone who can cook or decorate like Martha Stewart. But true hospitality isn't limited to the home. Think about a time when someone showed you she cared that you were struggling and reached out. Or spent time with you when you were hurting. Or perhaps an absolute stranger extended an unexpected courtesy in the middle of an abrupt world that could care less! That's true hospitality—kindness that makes you feel special, loved, cared for, heard.

When my friend, Vella, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she told me, "Oh, Patsy, if I could only do some things over again, I'd care a lot more about people and a lot less about things."

Every day we have the chance to make some kind of deposit, some kind of investment, in the lives of everyone with whom we come in contact. I like to think of hospitality as being "hospital-able"—able to be tenderhearted, gracious, and helpful to the many wounded, lonely people in the world today. Whether it's in an airport, a hotel lobby, or an arena, I have the opportunity to extend God's love to the people I encounter. It's my desire each one ends up feeling better about herself just by the way I respond to her.

You know the phrase, "Commit random acts of kindness"? Nowhere in God's Word does it say our acts should be random. They should be regular, a natural outflow for those of us who claim the love of Christ.

Jesus called himself the light of the world, and he wants us to be his light-bearers. Extending hospitality—by ex-tending ourselves—is a way to do just that.

Warm Workplace

  1. Pray that the peace and presence of Christ be noticeable in your workspace—so when people step into your cubicle or office, they're aware of a difference.
  2. Keep notecards in your desk. When you see someone in your workplace having a down day, write her a little note: "I can see that you're struggling, and I want you to know I'm cheering you on."
  3. Make your desk more inviting. For example, fill a small vase with a few fresh flowers you cut from your garden every few days. A neat, organized workspace with sweet, winsome touches draws people in.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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