“Welcome” – Have I failed at my One Word already?

welcome mat

I chose “Welcome.” I wanted to intentionally be open to whatever happens next. To accept my circumstances with contentment (even while working to change them as needed).

Then she rings the doorbell.

She’s standing on my new welcome mat, the one I bought to remind me of my objective.

She assumes it’s true: Welcome.

But she’s whiny, a bit bedraggled, and not particularly grateful for having to hold her luggage longer than she’d like.

She’s not someone I really want in my home.

But I’ve been friends with her family forever. I should let her in.

Yet I don’t. I hesitate. I analyze the situation. I wonder what went wrong. I wonder how long she’ll want to stay.

She needs work.

Sure, she could use a little patience and sympathy and consolation. She’s gotten it from others. But she’s now asking for it from me.

Instead, I’m giving her judgment, thinking her weak, and failing at her job.

This house is rumored to give grace to the fallen, to give peace to the embattled.

Why not her, too?

So I open the door. I let myself in.

It’s been 4 days since I had surgery. The gall bladder is gone. But the original pain isn’t.


I don’t welcome the pain in me. I don’t welcome the weakness. I don’t welcome the inconveniences.

But I welcome the God who stands with me in the pain. Right now it’s a package deal. All or nothing.

So I’ll take all.

I believe God sees around the corner. He prepares us for it as best as we’ll allow.

I know my pain is NOT hard compared to what others suffer. Mine is minor. Other friends have serious issues: diabetes, unexpected pregnancy, unemployments and relocations and cancer treatments.

So I open my door to what God wants to bring this year—even when it’s me—a woman with a suitcase of whining mixed with a little pain and occasional discouragement. Instead of telling her to get her act together and move on, perhaps I’ll welcome her as she is and trust that God will work through even this.

So we vacuum the guest room and change the bedsheets and welcome whoever God brings to our door. Even when those guests are our imperfect selves. Open the door and be compassionate to all who enter.

Because whatever or whoever comes our way, God comes with them, too.

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

* * *

How are you at self-compassion? Please share in the comments.


20 thoughts on ““Welcome” – Have I failed at my One Word already?

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Well-said, Lisa, and I don’t think you’re failing at all.

    I am; I don’t know quite how I can make current circumstances welcome and embrace them…I’m just trying to keep my head above water in this gyre. Dealing with a literal survival situation over time focuses the mind, hardens the heart, and makes one into something other than the best version of oneself.

    It sucks.

    All I can hope for is that somewhere, there will be calm water, and I can begin to undo the harm I’ve done in my harshness, to others, and to myself.

  2. Nancy Sturm

    Oh, you nailed it, Lisa. Self-compassion is often the most difficult for me. I expect so much of myself and often fail. I love your concept of welcoming your imperfect (aren’t we all?) self into your home. By the way, I had gall bladder surgery a couple of years ago. I felt nearly normal after two weeks, so your pain should end soon. I hope you recover quickly and fully.

  3. June

    Oh, sweet friend. When I saw the title of your post my first thought was, “Surely not!” Then to see you’re talking about yourself. I can so relate to this! My year has begun with painful health issues as well. I hesitate to write about them because I know so many suffer so much more. But we each have our own reality to deal with. I’m sorry for your pain, the frustrations of dealing with the limitations, and pray for you a full and speedy recovery – – Patience and comfort in the meantime.

  4. Beth

    So funny, Lisa and so true! I think God just opened my eyes to the lady at my door this morning too and I didn’t welcome her either! That being, me and my sinful interaction with my hubby this morning! God has been opening my eyes a lot lately and “ouch!”–it is awfully ugly to say the least. Thanks for always being so vulnerable and landing on a humble and servant-hearted response. We both may show up at the door bedraggled in the moment, but thankfully God doesn’t leave us there!

  5. Kathy

    How true Lisa..God welcomes all..and how easy it is to close the door on those in need, to judge, to turn our backs. I’ve done this, too, and need grace always to help me stay open, and the Holy Spirit to give me patience, kindness, and all the fruits we need to keep our doors open!! Wonderful post. I love your honesty, too. Makes us feel we’re not alone in our weaknesses!

  6. Sharon

    Self-compassion. I really like that phrase. And no, I am not very good at it. Self-judgment, self-condemnation – oh yes, those I excel at.

    I love the image of the woman at the door being you (or me). And how reluctant we are sometimes to open our hearts to the not-so-wonderful *self*. Perhaps when we hesitate, we can let ourselves feel Jesus at our side saying, “Oh yes, let her in. I did.”

    Grace to others is sometimes difficult. Grace to self is sometimes even harder. But it’s necessary to extend it to ourselves. For if we never learn what it means when we judge ourselves most unworthy, then we’ll never fully understand it, nor be able to accept it and experience the sheer joy that it brings.

    As to failing at your word? No, growth is not failing. And it is God growing this *word* in your heart that enabled you to open the door.


    (Prayers for quick and uncomplicated healing, and a cessation of pain!)

  7. Pamela

    I’ve never thought about welcoming myself. Chronic pain gets old fast and I find myself wanting to leave my own body. I think your words about welcoming my body will make a difference. God always speaks to me through your writing.

  8. Alisa

    I love this Lisa! I love your perspective of welcoming ourselves. I can tend to be hard on myself at times, much harder than anyone else. But just as God extends grace to me, I need to extend grace to myself. Thanks for this reminder! I’m visiting from #RaRaLinkup.

  9. Trudy

    I love how creatively this is written, Lisa. About welcoming yourself. Self-compassion can be so hard, can’t it? I’m so glad you let yourself in! I pray you heal soon and your pain eases. Be gentle with yourself. Blessings and hugs!

  10. Dolly@Soulstops


    Oh, I’m sorry you’re in pain. Clever tie in…Praying you feel better soon and God will encourage you and reveal His love for you in new ways and that you can receive it and show compassion to yourself. I can relate to that struggle with self-compassion. Here’s a link to Andrew Peterson’s song, “Be Kind to Yourself,” as God led me to this song when I really needed it last year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYiM-sOC6nE ((hugs))

    And I’m glad you welcomed your guest 🙂

  11. Pam

    Ah, Lisa! Do not fail prey to judging yourself too quickly as you recover from surgery. Your value to the Lord and HIs Kingdom has never been measured by what you do, how you look, or how you handle what life handles. It can be tempting to do that and then invalidate your real feelings when you think of what others are going through. You are no less precious or valuable in the midst of your pain and recovery. I pray the Lord will encourage your heart and spirit, heal your body, and give doctors clear guidance about any part they are to play in this situation.
    Prayers and blessings,

  12. Carly

    Great post! I liked how you turned the focus of “welcome” on whether we welcome ourselves. It can be hard at times but I love that God loves us and welcomes us as we are. Praying that your pain is healed and you feel better soon.

  13. Mary Geisen

    Wow! I had to stop when I read your words about our imperfect selves. They kind of hit me right in the face especially when I realized how unwelcoming I am to myself.

    Your words speak volumes today. Ones that we need to not only read but make our own. I pray I may be welcoming to all and give the grace that I need to myself when my imperfectness gets in the way. Blessings!

  14. Jean Wise

    your honesty is inspiring. I have been praying and am sad you still have pain even after surgery. Time to kick out that guest. right? If it helps, I am fairly ignoring my word so far this year – joy. have occasionally thought about it but haven’t really delved into how to live joy further. Let’s keep encouraging each other. will keep you in my prayers.

  15. Michele Morin

    Thank you for this honest look behind the scenes of your open door policy! Funny, I was having a conversation with myself about an upcoming retreat that I’m responsible for . . . anticipating who might come . . . do I dare to admit that I was dreading some of the participants?? I’m going to write the word “welcome” on the top of my planning sheet.
    Thanks, Lisa! (And trusting that your recovery will be swift. My son had his appendix out recently, and I was surprised at how long it took him to feel like himself again — give yourself time to recover.)

  16. Anita Ojeda

    I loved this, Lisa! I’m so sorry you had surgery (but it’s probably better to take care of those pesky things like gall bladders…). I’m getting better at self-compassion. Next time I get all grumpy and critical of myself, I’ll think of myself on my doorstep with my suitcase in hand.

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