Entertaining: Does it take Confidence?

I was humbled and honored to get this email from a reader a few weeks ago. I asked if I could share it with you, and my friend said, yes!

I have been reading your blog for quite some time now, but just had to comment. I have always struggled with entertaining, feeling like things weren’t good enough, clean enough, whatever enough. Even hurt my sweet husband’s feelings a few times when he suggested having people over, because he feels (and rightly so) that we have a great house that he provided for me, and I should be proud to show it off. I couldn’t make him understand that it wasn’t our home, it was me… lacking self confidence. Anyway, fast forward several years. We have recently purchased a little place at a nearby lake… definitely a fixer up! We spent Memorial Day weekend there, and had 17 of our sons’ friends over to play and boat and swim!!! Without the fixing up part done yet! I could have never done this without having read your blog daily for about a year now…. you are truly a blessing to me and a giver of confidence!!!!! Thank you so much for your willingness to be real and your wonderful creativity! We will be hosting lots more informal get togethers, both at the lake and at home!!!

It’s really hard to explain “confidence” when you’ve never experienced it. But it sounds like my friend, Emily, is on her way to better living – with new experiences ahead. I’m so proud of her!

Does it really take confidence to entertain?


You have to take your mind off of yourself.
You have to tell yourself that you can do it.
You have to tell yourself that things do not have to be perfect.
You have to put your mind on to others.
You have to let your surroundings not dominate your thoughts.
You have to think about relationships.
You have to realize that a gift is about to be given to you.
And remind yourself you are made in God’s perfect image. Ready to be loved and then to love others.

I wonder if we could just put our imperfections aside, pretend in our minds a welcome sign is hanging outside of our front door, and then just love on people.

Have you struggled with “confidence” when it comes to hospitality in your home? Would you be willing to share your story here at RE?

Susan Heid is featuring RE over at The Confident Mom today. Her site is full of excellent “Mom” resources, stories and information.

I love this quote by Susan: By using your unique gifts and strengths as a mom, you can create a home where your kids co-operate and your to-do list isn’t longer than your grocery receipt. It’s time to discover new satisfaction in your most important role ever and live the life God has for you and your family!

27 comments on “Entertaining: Does it take Confidence?”

  1. My problem is that I just don’t know what to do with people once they arrive. The food, drinks, etc..I’ve got covered. Please help. My family, especially my hubby, desperately want to have people over.

  2. I think this is a great point. I’m a fairly confident person when it comes to some things, but entertaining is not one of them. My husband is a social butterfly though and has slowly helped me entertain a little more freely. It has also made a difference to my confidence in the fact that my first few “events” were single soldiers. They don’t care what color my walls are or if the carpet is spotless as long as they can eat and laugh. It’s quite freeing. Thanks for the read, and the reminder.

  3. This is spot on!! I have struggled with the confidence to entertain forever. For me the perfectionism is key. Thank you so much for this. Your suggestions apply to entertaining and life in general. I just found you, and already I’m a fan!

  4. Sandy,
    Another encouraging post. Like many of your readers, I’m still trying to work through my entertaining issues (perfectionism, insecurity over my cooking, the unpainted bathroom door, etc).

    After a mere 4 years (!), I finally managed to invite our neighbors over for a casual dinner. And it was fun!

    I wonder if it would be fun to have a success story/testimony section on your blog where people write about their attempts at entertaining. People could tell about their get-togethers, food, activities, etc, and share ideas.

    Thanks to you (and Emily!) for another neat post.


  5. I was so happy to find your blog via The Nester. I grew up in a household where entertaining was at least a weekly occurrence. My mom is the hostess extraordinaire—fabulous gourmet cook, a kind conversationalist, etc. I always loved when we had people over and I never thought I would fear entertaining. Anyway, my boyfriend and I rented a small townhouse for a while and I always thought, “when I get a house, then I’ll entertain, because there will be more space for everyone, it will be prettier,”…the list goes on. Well, we bought a house in February and the two times I’ve entertained (only two!) were so stressful. I was worried because we hadn’t done all of the painting and decorating that we’re planning to do, and that we don’t have beautiful dishes, and that I’m not a very good cook, and that people would be judging everything. After that second time entertaining I told myself that that was it—no more entertaining. I just felt like such a total failure. But even still, there’s some inexplicable pull in me to have people over, to open our home to our friends, and I want to make great memories in our new home. Then I found your blog, so I think maybe there’s still hope! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Hi! Thank you so much for your very encouraging words. I already posted my “story” over at the nester’s blog, but I wanted to share my insecurities with you and hope they might give another some confidence.
    First off, I am a classic type-a, everythng must be perfect-type gal. I can’t tell you the food that I’ve wasted by throwing it down the disposal just because it wasn’t “perfect”. Yes, I’ve prayed for forgiveness and repentence. :)
    Anyway, on a Friday night, hubby and I received some really sad news. Saturday, I awoke in such a funk. I realized I could wait for everything to be “perfect” again or I could swallow my pride and put myself “out there” just being “raw and real”.
    I called my friends, told them my news, told them I wasn’t up to fixing a dinner, but that I could manage going to Sam’s and buying a dessert and could they please come over and just love on us.
    I went to Target and bought cute paper plates and napkins (yes, gasp! I used paper plates!!!) and then went to Sam’s and bought a strawberry cake.
    My friends came, brought their families and just blessed our home with their love. We played lots of board games (everything from Chutes and Ladders to Candyland to a marathon game of Monopoly.) We used paper plates and ate store-bought dessert and had a lovely time and lots of good memories. If I can use paper plates and serve store-bought goodies, you can too! It can be done – and any friend worth having is going to bless you just for your hospitality, not for your ability to surpass Martha Stewart, (Although, that is still fun every once in a while, yes?)
    God bless us all on our journy towards sharing our hearts and our homes and accepting ourselves for the wonders that God made us to be. Thank you again for giving us all a compass towards moving in the right direction. :)

    • Thank you Sharon for your wise words. And I agree – paper products are sometimes the best! :)

  7. So good Sandy. I think as women we need to learn to be comfortable in our own skin as a hostess and realize that we are only required to be ourselves, that is who people want to be with. My lack of confidence comes into play when I take my eyes off my purpose of loving people and “fellowshipping” with them and put them on myself (do I have enough matching serving plates, is the house clean enough…etc…), comparing myself to other homes I’ve been in…

    I love having people over and while I know I might not lay out a spread like some of my other friends, I know that people have enjoyed coming over and hanging out with us no matter what was served or what it was served on.

  8. I can certainly relate to Emily. I would say it takes a little bravery to entertain and confidence to entertain while enjoying yourself. For the longest time I thought I had some sort of social anxiety because having people over would stress me out so much and then I couldn’t enjoy myself because I was worrying so much. Now I only have people over that I’m really comfortable with and let Trader Joe’s do the catering. I’m hoping to get better at entertaining with time.. and confidence.

    • Hi Michelle. YAY for TJ! I love that store. My problem is that we don’t have one in our town :( Thanks for sharing!

  9. When I start to feel like I am burned out on having people over, I just remember all the times we have been invited over to someones home and the feeling of refreshment we are left with long after the evening. I also know that when God lays someone on my heart to invite over, and I listen, HE always gives me the energy I need. Thank you for the reminder! I also need to know I am inviting them over to pamper THEM. PERIOD. Never expecting anything in return. It makes it so much more enjoyable and stress-free.

  10. Hey Sandy! This is the Emily from your post today! I can’t wait to show my husband your post and tell him that I am the Emily! haha! And I so made that peach cobbler from yesterday’s post last night….. AND shared it with friends! You are a blessing to me and I thank our Lord for bringing you into my life… even via internet! ~Emily

  11. As much as we entertain, and compared to many in our circle, we entertain a lot…I still panic about an hour before everyone arrives because every last dust bunny crawls out and mocks me openly. I turn into a dervish of insanity snatching at toys and scrubbing at spotsm, until my sweet husband gently reminds me of our purpose. Not to be perfect, but to be hospitable.

    I still get them mixed up.

    So I ignore the toys on the floor, I wave back at my dust bunnies, and I open the door and greet my guests with a smile.

    Thank you for your daily reminders, my friend, of what it’s really all about!

  12. You always give the best advice Sandy. I wrote about your book and Melissa’s giveaway on Heart Choices today.

    Blessings and love,

  13. I’m listening, Sandy, and ALMOST ready. Thank you. BTW, your book is wonderful. The pics of your mom and grandma brought back sweet memories. I loved them both dearly.

  14. Yes! Sandy! You said it. I am so encouraged reading that list, to stop thinking about yourself, love on others, focus your mind, not let surroundings dominate…I want to print them and put them inside cupboard! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Hey girl – my 10 C’s are in my book! Another great list of reminders! Great to hear from you. Heard your time in HI was wonderful!

  15. Sandy,
    Thank you for those Godly words of wisdom. You are right. We are made in God’s perfect image and GOD DOESN’T MAKE JUNK! We have to stop letting our fears and our idiosyncrasies get in the way of our loving ourselves and depriving others of our love.
    Thank you for having the courage not to allow yourself to be stifled by your fears and idiosyncrasies and encouraging us to do the same!!!

  16. I love to entertain and have people over but I have a question about people who come over and try to take over as hostess……
    For example, I had some friends over recently and we just did appetizers and I asked each of them to bring one dish, a sweet or savory item. One of the gals complied and the other brought over 5 different dishes and ended up taking up all the space on the counter with her food and I had to stick some of my food elsewhere. I had asked them to bring one dish each because I knew what my space limitations were. But 4-5 separate dishes??? I asked her why she brought so much and she said it was for the kids. But I had specifically said I would have things for the kids to eat in my communication with them both.
    I got over it at the moment and enjoyed the evening anyway but what do you do when someone comes to your house and takes over?

    • Hi Kelly, I can only think of one person who has done that, but realistically I’m sure it’s happened more than once. I guess I’ve learned to just set the food out, and with having kids in the house — the more food the merrier! I’m not sure why people would bring so much!? You’ve stumped me on this one.

      I’d save her leftovers for hungry teens! LOL.

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