Most of you who know me have heard the story of how much I dreaded making my bed before school. Honestly, I found it tedious and pointless. Why would we make the bed in the morning only to undo it all later that night? Sure, the sheets were wrinkled, but my bed was also warm and comfortable and I liked it that way. I did not mind going into my room and seeing my bed undone; even though it made the whole bedroom look like a mess and, quite frankly, uninviting.

That went on for a good chunk of time. I eventually made a habit of covering the messy sheets up with a comforter and decorative pillows. I noticed that as I got older, that same apathy began to spill into other areas of my life.  Thankfully, my mother’s effective discipline tactics broke those habits early on.

Years later I sat in a service where the pastor was teaching on character. I remember the Holy Spirit whispering in my heart: “Carolina, shaping your character is like making your bed. Just because others can’t see under the cover and pillows, doesn’t mean the mess and wrinkles aren’t there.”

Is it just me, or would you agree it seems much easier to splurge and be more accommodating to others outside of our inner circle? We may be quick to offer a guest a three-course dinner and pull out all the stops, yet will groan and mumble all the way to the kitchen and back to bring a glass of water for our spouse/sibling/mom/dad/roommate.

...and character is developed in the secret place.

Practicing hospitality has the ability to be a chisel in the sculpting of our character; and character is developed in the secret place. Then, authentic hospitality needs to be practiced and cultivated first and foremost at home.  In the intimacy of our homes we have the opportunity to be consistently and unconditionally hospitable, even with those that know and live with our imperfections {and yes, it is OKAY to have them, we all do!}.

I have learned that hospitality needs to be the standard and not just a splurge in our homes. Here are some practical tips I apply:

  • Let them walk through the door: I have noticed that how I greet my husband when he comes home from work will set the tone for the rest of the evening. It is so refreshing to him when I let him settle in before dinner, baby baths, and bedtime routines start.
  • Ditch the paper and plastic: For the majority of the week I serve meals on our china plates and set the table with cloth napkins. This is an easy way to make even soup and salad look fancy!
  • Light it up: Candles simply make everything better. I keep some in our common areas and once my husband texts he is on his way home, I light them up. By the time he walks in, a relaxing sandalwood scent is the perfect distraction from the mess of toys all over the living room.
  • Write encouraging notes: I am totally going to be that mom sending their kids with little notes in their lunchboxes. For now, I settle with hiding notes for my husband to find in the most random places {under his pillow, sock drawer, car, and his luggage when he travels}.  This is a way for him to take a little of my hospitality with him wherever he goes; a reminder of the love, affection and encouragement found in the love of Christ that powers our home.

Many would say that our character is who we are when no one is looking. However, in regards to hospitality, I would define character as how you treat those on the inside when no one from the outside is looking. I wonder how many times we come across as uninviting because we would rather stay comfortable and keep the door shut. I encourage you to make the bed everyday, stretch out the fitted sheets, and fluff the pillows for your family at home when no one but Jesus is watching. And when you do, you will begin to see discipline and purpose take root in your heart.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do,” – Ephesian 6:7-8

More About Carolina Flores

Carolina is a wife, mommy of two little boys, and the chief hostess at Honor, Home & Hospitality. Her heart is to see women embrace their femininity and role as builders of their homes, while pursuing their God-given callings. She is originally from the Dominican Republic and is continuously inspired by the tradition of hospitality that runs in her heritage. She is currently living in Orlando, FL and writing her first book.