Friday, January 11, 2019

The Ministry of Ordinary Places

I set a lot of my goals for myself this year but the one I think will be the most challenging might make you laugh. I want to show hospitality 12 times in 2019.

I was so excited to be given the opportunity to read The Ministry of Ordinary Places right at the beginning of the year when I began working on the goal. I just knew it would inspire and encourage me to seek out hospitality opportunities right in front of me.

I was right. The Ministry of Ordinary Places did not disappoint. The writing was brilliant and captivating, and the stories were a little bit of everything… funny, warm, tender, touching. I was inspired not just to host twelve lunch playdates, but instead to live a life rich with kindness and authentic love.

I was so inspired, in fact, that I’ve actually been keeping notes on a potential nonfiction about my hospitality journey. Whether or not I’ll actually ever make anything of it, we shall see.

Shannan Martin’s family moved from their farmhouse into a suburban neighborhood where they live out a life of hospitality. It is not so much that Shannan, who is also an introvert, hosts a lot of playdates and dinner parties. Instead, she just works on loving people the way Jesus did. She opens her heart to the addicts and the felons and “troubled youth.” She doesn’t think twice about showing kindness and love to these people who so desperately need it.

Shannan’s brand of hospitality includes bringing people over for lunch or dinner… but it also includes letting a strung-out addict sleep on her couch, letting strangers in to use her bathroom when their little one starts shouting that they need to go potty during their walk, tutoring an expelled teenager so he won’t fall even more behind when he’s allowed to return to school next year. She moves far beyond the simple “invite someone over each month” I had initially envisioned and moves right on into letting people do life with you, inviting them into the nooks and crannies you prefer to keep hidden away for yourself.

I searched three times for the page and couldn’t find the quote I was looking for, so I’ll update this once I do find it again… but at some point she quotes someone else and explains that the whole reason people turn to a life of drugs, alcohol, and other addictions (crimes) is that they are lonely, hurt, empty, unloved, etc. and are looking for any way to fill that void. The quote says that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety—it’s feeling loved. How profound is that? The opposite of addiction is feeling loved.

So imagine what kind of world it might be if we all made sure everyone we meet walks away feeling loved?

I highly recommend The Ministry of Ordinary Places, both for the wonderful writing and for the inspiration your heart will feel chapter after chapter.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as a part of the Book Look Bloggers program. 

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