Sunday, February 7, 2016
Hospitality for the Rest of Us: Out and About
Okay, this one is especially for the introverts. I know that you're not going to be knocking down people's doors or leaving your own open for extended periods of time. What I'm going to share with you today is a technique that we've been using for awhile to practice hospitality with strangers. Well, they aren't strangers for long.
You're already going out into the world and doing stuff, take the time to do stuff n the same place at the same time. For instance, you're already buying groceries, pick a smaller store and go on a regular day at a regular time, get your meat over the counter instead of off the shelf, use the same clerk when you check out. Over time, you'll feel comfortable talking to them and share part of your life. You'll notice when they're missing and when they're excited. You'll naturally become a part of one another's life. And once you do that, you'll potentially share more of your life with one another and can begin to pray for them in very specific ways. We did this at our last home and really began to feel like the grocery store was extended family. We knew people by name and vice versa. One clerk in particular called us kid and mom. I do have a secret weapon in this particular method, it's my extroverted daughter who loves meeting new people.
Another location this can happen is a restaurant. Pick a morning, any morning and have breakfast at a local restaurant. You'll learn the waitstaff and other patrons pretty quickly. You can also do this with dinner or lunch. Not only do they learn your order, but you could be invited into their life outside of work. I don't mean physical interaction, though that could happen. I mainly mean they'll share about themselves.
This is not a fast process. We've been in our home for a year and a half and we're just starting to touch the surface of these relationships in our new location. The nice thing about them as an introvert is that tasks that can be uncomfortable can switch to enjoyable. Instead of in and out, you look forward to chatting with friends.
This idea of having regularity in your life so that you can take note and invest in others is not unique. People have been doing it for ages. The nice thing is that it doesn't take extra time, though it may take some extra effort. But far less effort than throwing a party every week.
I encourage you to find a place in your life where you can be a regular. Invest in the people that are surrounding your life and in the service industries. See them for who they are. You may find that just being open and looking people in the eyes and asking about their day is enough space for someone to share about themselves. Be genuinely interested in people and you may discover that they are very real in return.