Have you ever visited someone and walked into the house feeling an immediate sense of welcome? The words “you are always welcome here” seemed to float toward you as the door opened. You wandered over to the couch with the thought of curling up under the fuzzy throw because it seemed right. Or the savory smells of dinner greeted you at the door drawing you in further. You knew sitting around the table was exactly where you would find home.
Finding a place of welcome fills you in a way that just gathering with people does not always accomplish. Community gathers hoping to create a place of commonality and mutual interests, but do you wander into the group always knowing you are welcome?
When I look at the criteria for feeling welcome, I admit I measure it against my feelings first. I question how it makes me feel to gather with a certain group of people or how easily I joined into the conversation. A smile and words of welcome go a long way, but is simple hospitality enough for it to feel like home?
While feelings guard our hearts and gauge whether a true spirit of drawing others in is happening, I know they are not enough. I am a “gut feeling” kind of girl, but the world looks at things more practically. While my feelings lead the way, I am ultimately searching to belong. Knowing you are welcome happens when belonging unites with acceptance. It is the pure invitation that God extends to each of us when we choose to accept His salvation.
We learn a spirit of welcome when we choose God as our Savior. In my study of Romans, God is teaching through Paul and the lessons run deep and challenging. Embracing a life of “you are always welcome” begins when we open our hearts to the transformation of the Holy Spirit. When we release our sin to God, He circumcises our hearts and empowers us to live as Jesus. Psalm 61 provides an image of home as a life-time pass to God’s house.
You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you. Psalm 61:3-5 MSG
If we have an open invitation from God how do we react when we read the story of Mary and Martha? Is this true welcome? Did Martha do the right thing by preparing the house and a meal? What about Mary’s reaction? Is it still considered welcome when it looks more like a heart matter than an outward display of preparedness?
We learn that Paul always had an open door. His mission to share the Kingdom of God with those He met was His chance to model “you are always welcome here” on the level of looking to Jesus first.
When I look to Jesus first as I seek home as a place of welcome, I learn:
How Jesus never turned anyone away.
That a greeting of Shalom or peace reminds me that home is a place of peace.
Each invitation I receive is my chance to do some heart work and dig deeper by saying “yes”
A true welcome looks like others willingness to empower you as you enter into community.
[Tweet “An open heart makes space to welcome Jesus and live in a posture of sharing it with others.”]
Working from the inside out prepares a place of openness and room to receive what others offer as you join in community. It takes an open hand to receiving the gift of Jesus in order to ready your heart for His grace and love. It is not just knowing that Jesus says “you are welcome here” but living your life in a posture of doing the same for others.
I pray we reach out to welcome others as Jesus did for us.
May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Romans 15:6-8 MSG
How do you define welcome? What does it look like to belong and feel you are exactly where you should be?
Opening my heart to God’s invitation,
Catch the first part of Reimagining Home here.
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Mary, you have created such a beautiful and welcoming place here. I always feel like I can kick my shoes off and just be me. To feel welcome to me is knowing that no matter what stat my heart is in when I come in the door, I’m loved and accepted for who I am. I’ve struggled to feel welcome most of my life, honestly, but it’s getting better. Blessings to you my dear friend.
Thank you Barbie! I honestly learned so much about community online from you. You are always loved and welcome here. You belong! Our hearts are so tender so when we are rejected for any reason it is hard to get past that. I pray God continues to show you His love and how welcome you are. Sending hugs!
Staying open for Jesus. Love this.
Wonderful post, Mary. I love how we are always welcome in God’s family. I think we forget that based on our actions. Thanks for getting us thinking that we can mirror God’s example and welcome others at all times as well.
Blessed that you stopped by. As I reflect on what home means, I know a big part of it is that feeling of Welcome and being who you are. How amazing would it be if we always took a posture of welcoming others?
Lovely post Mary. I recently participated in a sacred circle retreat, teaching how to really just let others be completely (and accepting) where they are at–not fixing, not judging, not telling what is right and what is wrong. This creates a safe space for others and creates a sense of belonging through vulnerability. I’d like to be able to extend more of that kind of welcome out into the world–let go of any of my own agenda.
Wow! I would love to know more about your sacred circle retreat. I am in the process of working on me and my own vulnerability. Until I do the hard work inside myself I will not be as open to accepting others without judgment. Thank you for your addition to this conversation. I appreciate you.
Good morning, Mary … can I tell you I always feel welcome here? And I know it would be true if I walked into your new house in person, as well.
This grace, this warmth is a lovely gift to extend to a far off online friend … or a real life next door neighbor. Sadly, sometimes I realize that I’m finding it easier to do it online …
Thank you for this gracious compliment. I love welcoming others. I’m in a season of doing the same in my new house. I am learning if I can’t embrace welcoming others in my real life, I won’t be able to transfer this to other places.
I pray we continue to let God show us how to love others well.
Hi Mary, I was your neighbor over at Jennifer Dukes Lee’s link up. It was lovely stopping by to get to “know” you. I love what you’ve shared here. The title of your post grabbed me because the name of my blog is Welcome Home Ministry. 🙂 I appreciate your perspective on home and how that relates to the person of Jesus Christ. Thanks for sharing, my sister! 🙂
Hi neighbor! So glad to meet you. I am headed over to your place next to get to know you better.
Thank you for your kind words here today. I pray we keep looking to Jesus to give us perspective on who we are and what he says about home.
It’s an awesome feeling to know that Jesus has welcomed us into a relationship with Him. When we extend that same spirit of welcome and acceptance to others, we truly allow our lights to shine, and others can see Christ at work in our hearts. Great post! God bless you.
Amen and it is awesome. May we allow ourselves to learn from Jesus the spirit of welcome and grow this in our own lives. Thank you for stopping by!
Feeling welcome to me is when I can relax and be me and be accepted as I am. The thought of wandering over to the couch and curling up under a fuzzy throw gives me such a cozy feeling, Mary. 🙂 I love the MSG version of those verses in Psalm 61! Such a beautiful image of home with Jesus. Love and hugs to you!
Me too!! There is nothing like feeling so at home that you can curl up under that fuzzy throw. We are blessed to know that Jesus showed us first what welcome looks like.
The Message version of Psalm 61 brought a new perspective to me that was perfect for this post. Happy weekend!
Yes, He has welcomed us HOME into His heart! May He keep that thought fresh in my heart as well. Truly it makes all the difference, both in how I give welcome, and receive welcome. I love this series on HOME that you are offering!
If we welcome Jesus first into our hearts, He will equip us with how to do this for others. It sounds simple but that is not always the case. For me, it’s reassuring to know that we have the perfect model of welcome in the form of Jesus.
Love this! I want my house to be that place of welcome akwYs.
I imagine you are creating ideas as to how to extend this welcome in your new home. Sometimes it just needs to be a simple invitation of come over anytime!
Mary, what a thought-provoking post. I loved it. You’ve got me thinking on what makes me feel welcome. You wrote: “Knowing you are welcome happens when belonging unites with acceptance.”
I think this is one biggie for me. Probably due to my rejection issues as a girl. I feel welcome when I feel like I belong. And how perfect is it that we always belong with Jesus? We never have to prove ourselves or earn that belonging. We are simply His.
I am thinking on if I make people feel welcome like Jesus does. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
I learned more about you after we did the Chosen and Approved series together. It is hard to not feel unwanted at different times in our lives due to circumstances sometimes beyond our control. But God… He sent His son Jesus to reinvite us into community that we once might have believed we didn’t belong to. Jesus is always the welcome we need and He will never turn us away.
Welcome and the feeling of belonging that comes with it are such a crucial part of really being “at home.” Thanks for this reminder that God literally embodied a welcome when Jesus came to us.
And I just love what The Message does for Psalm 61!
You’re welcome. I love the Message version of Psalm 61 also. Sometimes I need a fresh perspective when reading God’s word.
I think we all want to find a place where we belong. For me, feeling welcome is about feeling free to be myself and knowing that I will be accepted. It can be a risk to step out and trust others but knowing God’s acceptance is important- holding on to the fact that no matter how others respond he welcomes us as we are. It is important also to try to provide that same welcome for others.