Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Feeling inhospitable

I've been thinking lately about hospitality. I remember when we started searching for a home in Fort Wayne, there were several things we wanted: a home in a neighborhood, a front porch, and sidewalks, just to name a few. We wanted to live in a neighborhood where we could get to know the people, and through nightly walks, visits, block parties and such, we wanted to sort of develop a sense of community around which God might make himself known.

When we found such a house and neighborhood, one of the first things we did was make a map for our refrigerator and keep track of all the neighbors names. Then we made a point to go visit with several of them. We always tried to leave our garage door open when we were home as a welcome sign that people could stop in for a visit. We invited neighbors to parties we had and tried to wave and speak to everyone we saw on our nightly strolls.

I believe hospitality is a pretty foundational aspect to living out ones faith. I think it is at the heart of Jesus teaching, and his very incarnation (being present in the world). Certainly there are plenty of Bible verses speaking of such. Just a few are...
  • "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." -1 Peter 4:9
  • "Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." -Romans 12:13
  • "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." -Hebrews 13:2
  • "We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth." -3 John 1:8
So, I say all that and I have to admit... I just don't feel very hospitable anymore. I've become one of the people in the neighborhood who walks with their head down, I no longer wave at cars as they go by, I pull in the garage and shut the door when I get home to avoid seeing or being seen by the neighbors. Even at church... there are occasions where people will come up and talk to me, and I just don't feel like socializing. Yes, I can be somewhat introverted, but it's not that. I'm just... tired. I'm tired of being misunderstood; unknown; unheard; maybe even alienated. I suppose it's a defense mechanism I use to avoid others before they avoid me.

There are a handful of people I do feel comfortable around, and I certainly WANT to be a part of a group. I just feel awkward and... tired... around the rest. Kind of like it's not worth it anymore.

I know that it is worth it. I know it's just a phase. I even know why I am feeling like this (or at least I think I do). It doesn't make it any easier though. So I'm writing about it; and praying about it; and hoping God can somehow use this phase in some way (and also bring it to a close). I long to be part of a community where we can "stir up one another to love and good works" as Hebrews 10:24 encourages. In the meantime... meh.