Hebrews 13:2 - Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Close your eyes and remember.
Remember the smells floating from the kitchen.
Remember hearing laughter sailing in from the living room.
Remember the sound of the doorbell.
Touch your face and remember the smile that used to live there.
And parties for just hanging out with friends.
Open your eyes to see the joy in your family’s eyes, but wait. You don’t throw parties anymore. You lost the gift of hospitality and with it the joy washed off your family’s faces.
You used to be good at throwing a party and making the guests laugh as your funny stories went around the table. It was the thing that you did best – making others happy and feeling at home at your place.
But what happened?
Depression crept in and anxiety was hanging on your apron string as well.
At first you thought that you were working too hard and that’s why you felt tired all of the time. The cost of food went up and that’s why you worried about what it would cost to pay for a party. Then the doubts started piling up. Maybe the new recipe you made wasn’t really all that great and the guests were just being kind. After all, no one said how good the food was. Were they ungrateful or had you lost your touch in the kitchen?
So you lost that certain something that used to make you the life of the party. Now, you hardly want to crawl out of bed to make breakfast in the morning.
What do you do when something you used to love became something you dreaded? You started making excuses for canceling dinner invitations. Then you stopped planning parties and marking your calendar. You simply took the calendar off the wall and shoved it in with the pots and pans.
Let’s not forget, also, that hospitality isn’t just about a party at your home. Take a look at the article, “9 Ways to Show Hospitality When Hospitality is Hard,” on IntentionalByGrace.com. The article shows that hospitality goes beyond having people over for dinner to taking your hospitality to their homes. This is especially important to someone new at your job or church. You can do this by inviting them out for lunch, or you could show up at their door with a hot casserole or a fancy cup of coffee. This way you open a door for friendship and it may be that it will also help you have the courage to open up your home to others and find that gift of hospitality once again. And just as the Bible verse above says you never know the person you show hospitality to may be an angel in disguise.
Psalm 107:28-29 - Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
There are days when life just seems to be fighting against us.
Every little thing upsets us.
Every phone call ends with both parties upset.
Every move our body makes causes pain and upsets us.
Every thought we think pushes depression’s rain to fall on us and upsets us.
Every moment in our day that upsets us can be a waste of time and energy.
Yes, every day life just seems to be fighting against us. But some of the things that fight against us are not as bad as we think they are and it causes us to waste emotional energy on them. We can stop that train of thought and realize it’s not helping anyone.
However, there can be days when big decisions are sprung on us.
When a phone call brings serious news about a loved one.
When our temporary health challenge turns into a chronic condition.
When we are left behind by your friends and families.
These types of circumstances are real reasons for our emotional energy to be drained. It’s not because you’ve wasted that energy by worrying. It’s because a hurricane of out of control events has blasted their way on the shorelines of our minds.
This calls for us to become students of our emotional makeup. Some things will bring us down while the same things have no effect on another person. This doesn’t mean that it’s our fault if we feel like this. Each person when faced with the small and large drains on our emotional energy react in different ways.
If we can learn how to stop the emotional drain when it first begins, we may be able to prevent that hurricane from washing up on shore. Take a look at the article, “8 Ways You’re Wasting Your Emotional Energy,” on mindbodygreen.com. In the article, it gives examples of ways that we allow ourselves to be revved up and drain our emotional energy. One way is ruminating instead of taking action by thinking over and over about a conversation that hurt us. Also, we can stay in relationships out of fear of being alone instead of seeking healthy relationships, which can cause stressful and exhausting drains on our bodies and minds.
Learning to react differently by choosing suggestions from the article above can help us not only save our emotional energy, but help us think more clearly about situations that are causing that hurricane to flood the storehouses of your mind.
One sure way is to cry out to God. He can bring us out of our distress, calm our emotional storm and help us reserve our emotional energy instead of losing it.
Isaiah 25:4 - You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.
With all of the natural disasters we have faced especially this last summer, including fires and hurricanes, it has led to countless people being trapped in their homes with no way out, which may have been eliminated had they’d been prepared.
Someone told me recently that regardless of where you live, whether it be in California where I live or elsewhere, I should have an evacuation plan in place.
But what about those who are disabled or have a chronic health issue and are unable to evacuate on their own? Regardless if we haven’t found someone to rescue us from a fire or a hurricane, there are things that we can do. One of those things is to gather all of your important paperwork and put it into a water tight container or bag. When there is a threat of a natural disaster I have my papers on a chair by my door to grab quickly if I need to.
Another thing to have ready is a packed bag with all of the necessary items that you would need. This includes medications, a few changes of clothes, toiletries, and other items that you would need should you have to evacuate.
Though it is important to have all of these items ready, there is something else that you may have to face if no one is there to evacuate you – the fear of being trapped and left behind.
This fear is real.
Those who physically are unable to escape without help may experience fear, but there are also those who wait too long once the evacuation order has been given or may think that the disaster won’t get to them and they stay home. They may have their own vehicle and could’ve easily evacuated, but they may have refused to leave because they are afraid of looters taking things from their home.
The first group of people who are afraid have a valid reason for that fear. However, the second group of people could have left and now are facing their worst fears which could’ve been prevented.
To find more ways to prepare for a disaster take a look at the article, “Individuals With Disabilities,” on ready.gov. It suggests how to make a plan if a disaster strikes such as if you are disabled and unable to evacuate yourself. Also, the article suggests keeping a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit and plan ahead for accessible transportation or tell first responders that you need help to evacuate.
Having a chronic illness or disability can make evacuating difficult. But with preparation your fears will dissolve and you can be ready when the news arrives that you need to evacuate.
Also, let’s remember that God can be our refuge when we’re in distress. He is our shelter from the storm and shade from the heat. With this verse, God shows that he’s covered us whether we’re near a wildfire or a hurricane. There’s great comfort in remembering we have this shelter.
1 Timothy 5:4 - But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
You glance at the clock one more time. It’s six-thirty and you’re still at work. You have a deadline to make. You have to stay late and finish it, right?
But with every choice we make in life, there is always a consequence for that choice. Right now the choice you have is to finish the project at work that you’ve been working on all week regardless of the toll it takes home.
You glance at your calendar. How did the end of the month come so quickly this year? But you had to finish. Your family would understand, right? It may be Friday and you know it’s game night and your family will be upset that you’re missing it, but they’d miss the paycheck wouldn’t they, if you lost your job? But would you lose your family in the end by too many late nights at work?
It’s not fair that no matter what you choose, someone’s going to be disappointed in you. Maybe by now your family would understand, or maybe they would stop caring if you even showed up.
Kids get the brunt of this argument. They know that you’re missing out on their life.
At first they may feel sad inside
Then they may start accepting your excuses
But then they begin to believe that they’re just not that important to them
This then begins to brew a pot of anger
But then something happens –
And they get used to life without any coffee.
They don’t need you anymore. They’ve found friends to hang out with. And even if you finally figured out what you’ve been missing by not being home for your family, it’ll be too late.
You’ve lost your family.
There are a few people who seem to have figured out how to balance work and family, but you haven’t quite figured it out.
Before you took your first job, it would’ve been nice if someone had held a seminar on how to make it in this fast paced world and still have a great home life. So what are some things we can do to balance work and family? Familylives.org.uk,in their article, “How to Keep a Work-life Balance,” has some great ideas such as come in relaxed.Your family will notice when you are stressed and that will affect them. An important idea is to come in and eat with your children even if it’s just a snack after work. Sitting down with your family together will help them know that you may be busy, but you still care about them and their needs. This way you won’t lose your family.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. Though this post isn’t about widows necessarily, it still applies to the topic. We must learn to put what we believe into action by caring for our families first. This doesn’t mean that we should not work hard, but we acknowledge that taking care of our families is pleasing to God. In all we do every day whether it is at home or at our jobs, we need to make sure our priorities are in the right place. Let’s be sure to put things the way they were meant to be. In this way you’ll make sure that you haven’t lost your family.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.