In the world of influencers, it feels like we need to be doing big things to make a difference. Yet, as I ponder the people who had the most significant impact on my life, they were all ordinary people who took an interest in me. So I think it’s time that we consider that, maybe, to make a difference, we need to think smaller.

One of the things I see most often as a pastor’s wife is that so many people are lonely. So many of us are starved for close friendships and authentic community. We want to be known and loved for who we are; many of us don’t know how to find that. This loneliness has intensified in the past few years when we spent so much time in isolation.

A while back, I wrote a post about how desperately we all need somewhere to fit. We all need to find our “people.” While I can’t be best friends with everyone, I want to help be part of the solution.

————————>>> Related post: We Need Cliques in the Church

From now on, Messy Joyful Journey is going in a little bit different direction. While the blog is still all about relationships, I’m now going to focus more on trying to solve this loneliness problem. By practicing hospitality, we can welcome strangers, get to know more deeply the friends we already have, meet the needs of others, and become the community we all desire.

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How to make a difference in the world. It shows a picture of tea being enjoyed by two people, a simple way to show hospitality. www.messyjoyfuljourney.com

Make a Difference Simply by Showing you Care

One of the people who positively impacted my life was a woman named Brenda. She is the mother of the kids I babysat when I was first married. We had recently moved across the country away from family, and I was trying to figure out how to be a wife after leaving the only life I had known for twenty-seven years.

When I would show up to babysit, this remarkable woman would make me tea and ask about my life. She brought me into her family and made me feel valued. I watched how she and her husband interacted, parented their children, and responded in stressful times. I learned so much from being included in her family.

To this day, I consider her a valued friend and mentor, and I think many of my ideas about marriage and parenting come from her and her husband, as they simply lived out their Christian faith.

Make a Difference by Bringing People Into Your Home and Life

Brenda didn’t have to make elaborate meals or always have an immaculate house. In fact, I am thankful that she didn’t. She allowed me into the chaos of her real life, and I learned so much from her. She isn’t perfect, but she is an excellent example of someone striving to live out the gospel.

I watched as she and her husband handled conflict in healthy ways.

Participating in their children’s creativity because of the literature they read aloud as a family significantly impacted my view of education.

Furthermore, I witnessed how they parent their children with grace. I, too, was shown grace when I burnt a meal and couldn’t figure out how to get all the gunk off the pan. (That was embarrassing, and I still feel terrible… that pan will never be the same… Sorry, Brenda)!

Make a Difference by Being Real

Much of the way I parent today comes from what I saw in their family. Something as silly as observing what it was like to have small children in the house while preparing for a vacation was essential for me to witness. I will never forget the piles of laundry as she was packing for each of the kids for a week. That memory comes to mind when I tear my house apart to pack for a trip. She will never know how much of an impact the little things in her day-to-day living had on me. That was real life!

Brenda invited me, a stranger, into her life as she lived out her faith. I am forever grateful for that; I am a better person because of it.

What is Hospitality

When I speak of hospitality, I don’t mean just being a great hostess (although, if you are someone who is a great hostess, by all means, incorporate that). No, I mean making people feel welcome when I speak of hospitality. Treating strangers and friends alike and viewing everyone as an image bearer of God is how we live out hospitality.

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." - Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)

This world is currently very “Us versus Them.” It is easy to feel that way when you don’t have a genuine relationship with “Them.” But, “Them” is not the enemy…And even if they are, God calls us to love our enemies.

One of the benefits of being a pastor’s wife is that I am forced to get to know people I might not have chosen to get to know otherwise. There are so many people I now adore. It’s because I don’t just see a superficial version of them but got to know a bit about their life and who they are. Once I learn about their life… maybe their struggles, past, or passions, I can better understand why they see the world the way they do. I can also learn from their experiences. What a blessing!

Practice Simple Hospitality to Make a Difference

I think if we start small, we truly can make a difference in the world one person at a time. Invite someone to coffee (if you are in Utah like me, soda might be a better idea) or into your home for a meal. Sit around a table and get to know the people around you.

What Can We Do?

Think of some people who you would like to know better. This could be a friend, acquaintance, or neighbor you have only said hello to… or maybe the babysitter. You never know what a difference you will make. Make a plan to have them over for a glass of lemonade, tea, or a meal. If you need an idea of what to make, I have an easy Salad bar idea. You can get the recipe here:

Best Summer Cobb Salad to Share With Friends

I will share recipes to take to a person in need and ideas to feed a crowd. I’m always open to new things to try if you have any suggestions.

Please join me in reaching out to one new person this week to get to know them.

Let me know in the comments if you have any favorite easy meals for feeding a crowd or another way we can make a difference today!

34 Comments

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  2. I love how you talk about how Brenda welcomed you not just into her life, but her REAL life. That is so inspiring. I’m going to start practicing hospitality because of you, thank you so much for writing this!!

  3. Loneliness is so tough, and I think we all struggle with it in our own way at some point in our life. Sometimes I think that hospitality and building relationships is becoming more uncommon these days, so thank you so much for encouraging and inspiring us to think of others. Great read!

  4. You nailed it. Taking time to make people feel important is one way to show them Jesus. A wise woman told me a a newlywed, “I didn’t invite you into my home to impress you with my perfectly clean home. I invited you over to get to know you and make you feel welcome.”
    40 years later her words come to mind often, especially as we invite people into our crazy reno zone.

    • I love that! I always feel like when someone who wasn’t expecting me invites me into their messy house, we are ACTUALLY FRIENDS! I am honored that they would let me into their real life!

  5. I loved this! It’s so easy to get caught up with being a Pinterest perfect host and forget about authentic hospitality. Thanks for the great reminder ?

  6. This was good to read. That Hebrews 13:16 scripture is beautiful, but also challenging. This is such an encouraging piece on how to make a lasting difference, because showing genuine care for others always makes an impact.

  7. I loved your post! It reminded me of a Lil lady I met on the 1st day at a new church. She sat behind me and my family and as soon as the lights came up she tugged on my arm and introduced herself. She was so sweet and nice! She took me around to other ladies in the church and introduced me like I was her personal guest. We returned the next week and she came right up and remembered my name. She invited me and my family into her home for cake after service. I have loved her for many years now. She is a blessing and a true example of hospitality

  8. Abbey Drummer Reply

    I adore you! I love your thoughts on hospitality and hope that I can be as gracious as you are some day. Sometimes I kick people out of my house when they stay too long rather than letting them continue to commune. I will try harder and be better. I love you friend!

    • Haha! Sometimes your friends are “helping” you practice hospitality against your will! I love you too, friend! Also, you are wonderfully hospitable.

  9. Wow, what insight and meaningful advice here. This leaves your readers with no choice but to truly reflect on life and I think so many will be inspired to do things for others. I know I am:).

  10. Wow, what insight and meaningful advice here. This leaves your readers with no choice but to truly reflect on life and I think so many will be inspired to do things for others. I know I am:).

  11. This is a lovely little post! Your story of your friend welcoming you so easily into her life was enjoyable and you also seem like a very genuine soul! I truly enjoyed my read.

  12. I love reading blog posts about simply being a human. What counts the most is being kind with each other.

  13. I love serving my guests cold coffee and hearing them praise it in return. It’s such a simple thing yet can help us bond and connect so much better. Makes people feel welcome.
    Loved your post!

  14. I have always taught my daughter to live with kindness. You never know who needs it, and what a difference it makes in someone’s life. There is always someone thinking about the friendly stranger that talked to them in line when they were lonely, or complimented their outfit when their self esteem was low. Little gestures mean the world.

    • This is so true! Often, the way I am treated by a stranger changes my entire day. I hope I can do that for others as well. You are a good Mama!

  15. This was such a heart warming read! I agree there are so many little ways to make an impact in people’s lives. I love thinking of small ways to make a difference, you’ve got some great suggestions here 🙂

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