I’m terrified to have large groups of people in my house. Small groups are fine, but a guest list over six gives me the cold sweats.

I love people, but I love them more one-on-one.

I don’t worry about the prep work. The cooking, cleaning, that’s all fine. I make the kids do it. Joke! That was a joke!

I don’t worry about my house getting messy or things getting broken. Things are just things.

What I worry about is saying the right thing, making people feel welcome, and connecting with everyone so no one feels left out. How can I possibly do that when we can’t all fit around the table together?

Each year, my husband likes to invite his freshman basketball players over for a cookout. He grills, I do side dishes and desserts, which usually means fruit, chips and M&M ice cream sandwiches from a box. Hungry college kids are easy to feed.

This year, Saul thought it would be fun to invite the whole team. As I stood in my kitchen bravely trying to catch his enthusiasm, he quickly added that because of the amount of people, he would have it catered.

There are lots of Bobcat fans in town that would give their right arm to shoot hoops in the driveway or play corn hole in the front yard with these guys. I get it. It’s fun. I should be grateful. But all my mind could focus on was the math… players plus staff plus wives plus kids. It added up to way more than my comfortable number of six.

You guys, I purposely say “Yes” to things that are scary because I know it’s the only way I’ll grow.

I’m hosting a Friday morning bible study in my home starting in October. Yes, you are invited.

I’m having a 31 party for all the members of Team Phillips just before the Athens Race for the Cure. Yes, you are invited.

I think it’s important to kick the comfort zone to the side sometimes. It’s part of my philosophy on kindness. We must leave what feels easy to break through barriers and really get to know people and shower them with kindness. That’s where the biggest reward comes for the giver, and let’s face it, kindness really isn’t about them, it’s about us. God created us to be kind and we never really feel like we’ve stepped into our purpose until we embrace it.

Friday night came along and the walls of my house vibrated with laughter and doors slamming and spoons clanging.

I was almost overwhelmed. Almost. And then I just stopped. I listened to the noise filling my home and my heart swelled with joy and gratitude.

Fun! We were all having fun! And I didn’t need to be the center of attention or give everyone a handcrafted goodie bag to make them feel special. All I had to do was open my home.

Huh. That wasn’t so hard after all.

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