Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spiritual (Stressful) Gifts?

*The creation of this post began a couple of months ago but I have not had the time (or proper words) to complete it until now . . . I've kind of been mulling this over in my mind all summer . . .

It is 11:35 p.m. and I am awaiting the arrival of some friends who live about an hour away. They are coming to our yard to camp for the weekend. So funny. But we are going to love every minute of it. I refuse to sleep outside, since it is supposed to be only six above (Celsius) overnight and quite frankly, that's too dang cold for me. So instead I will snuggle under my nice warm comforter and allow the cool air come in through the windows.

So, this is my lead-in to the title of my post . . . is hospitality really my gift? According to spiritual gift testing, it is. I've never been surprised by that result, but I am completely puzzled by this because while I do think Wayne and I have a great home to entertain in, and I do like having people over, and I do enjoy cooking and baking for people, and I do like to tend to the needs of others . . . do you think a spiritual gift should cause stress? I mean, if hospitality were truly my gift, would I feel so overwhelmed and stressed out prior to the arrival of company, whether it be in anticipation of my neighbor coming over for an impromptu coffee, or my parents coming to spend the day with us, or friends (whom we haven't seen for years) are coming to spend the weekend with us . . . I get anxious over people entering my home. I get anxious over what state my place is in, i.e. clean or messy . . . over what we are going to eat and drink . . . over the behavior of my pets and children . . . even over how my house smells. And I won't even begin on what I hope my yard will look like when company comes over. Right now my yard is a lost cause. Weeds have definitely won the battle this year and I've got no more fight left in me. But that's another post for another day. (But honestly, the fact that my yard is not meeting my standards is bothering me. BIG TIME.)

Wayne has suggested many times that perhaps we should stop having company over because of the "way I get" in anticipation of the arrival of guests. But there's a part of me that SO longs for guests that the thought of not entertaining saddens me deeply. I don't think I can give it up, even at the cost of my insanity and anxiety taking over.

Now, for anyone who has ever been a guest in our home, or plans to be one in the future, please do not allow this post to overshadow the fact that I truly enjoy having company over. I enjoy people. I like guests from the moment they arrive . . . I just do not enjoy the overwhelming feelings I have in anticipation of having company. I don't know why I am like this. I wish I could change.

What do you think? Can authentic spiritual gifts cause anxiety and stress when they are put to use? And FYI . . . my other gifts are administration (no joke there) and leadership, followed closely by encouragement. In light of this, yes, I think administration and leadership gifts can definitely cause stress to an individual, simply due to the nature of the responsibility that those giftings entail. Encouragement, however, comes more naturally and I cannot imagine how that would be stressful. But along with encouragement comes exhortation, which, I supposed, could prove to be stressful at times. And one other gift that has been on the back-burner until recent years is teaching, which I am now in the process of perfecting (long process, I know). Hmmm . . . just some of my thoughts.

I hope to hear back from my readers on this topic. Please!!!!
P.S. For the record . . . our "camping" weekend with our friends was spectacular.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I think the "way you get" before company arrives is the enemy's attempt to take your focus away from whom you are really serving. I can identify with much of what you said. I would love my house to be the hang out place for my kids friends and ours, but I get so stressed over cleanliness, food, etc. It's the perfectionist in me that tells me everything has to be just so. I have a friend that invites us over last minute and we just eat whatever, nothing fancy, but the visit is always great. Her house, kids, pets, and menu aren't perfect, but what I take away is the peaceful attitude and genuine care she gives. I think for me everything on the outside needs to be perfect to mask the imperfections on the inside.
Lots to think about...