Ten months ago I uprooted my life and made a big move to Austin, TX without a clear understanding of what it requires to re-establish your life in a brand new state. As time passed I wrestled with giving into disappointment, wondering how I would establish my business and community in this new place.
I made plans and centered my move around deadlines and timing, which was lofty and unrealistic.
My plan included:
- Having an established community within my first few weeks (what on earth was I thinking?);
- Attending various networking events and meet like-minded entrepreneurs (some of which happened);
- Having my business established
But, I am here to tell you my life looks nothing like I had planned.
And looking back, I am not surprised. Because the entire plan I outlined was orchestrated by me and my personal desires, versus starting the planning process by asking God for guidance on where to start and how to build community within Austin.
Moving out of state and starting over has been a slow and steady process; one I am constantly fighting to embrace. I realized that it’s hard to accept when things go “slow” when we live in a culture that prioritizes instant gratification and quickness in every area of our life, including grocery shopping (Insta-cart anyone?), drive-thru orders, and ready-made meals prepared and delivered to our doorstep.
“Slow” isn’t glorified or typically seen as a good thing.
Efficiency and quickness are an attractive business model in today’s culture, but the opposite of how Jesus intended for us to build community.
I find it surprising that throughout the Bible, God uses something as simple as bread as the key illustration in monumental stories. He didn’t use a filet mignon, or a three course meal served on a beautiful table that you see repeatedly pinned on Pinterest.
He used bread.
In Biblical times, bread required multiple hours (sometimes days) to prepare. The bread-making process began with harvesting the wheat, then grinding the harvest by hand into flour utilizing a stone mortar, followed by kneading the flour in a wooden basin. After completing all these steps, the dough is prepared to be baked in a tannur, which is an oven made out of clay.
I was shocked to discover the multiple steps and hours it took to make one loaf of bread, and wondered how many people were involved in the laboring process.
Once you realize the lengthy preparation process behind just an “ordinary” everyday food item, it transforms this “ordinary” food into something meaningful.
When shared with others it is a gift symbolizing the sacrifice of the bread makers time; an acknowledgement of the anticipation of the guests arrival.
When I first moved to Austin one of my goals was to host people in my home once it was “ready”. Meaning, it was fully decorated to reflect the Pins I had saved on that private board.
Can anyone relate? We refrain from hosting because we believe the lie that our home, and the meal we prepare for our guests, has to look Pinterest-worthy. We believe the lie that in order to be a good host you also have to be a good designer, cook, baker, etc.
Hospitality and community building isn’t defined by perfection and extravagance.
God chose something as simple as bread to share with His disciples at the Last supper, as well as the story of miraculous multiplication of the five loaves and two fish. When Jesus used a small lunch supplied by a boy to feed more than 5,000 people, He is reminding us that building community and living out discipleship are accomplished through the simplicity of life’s rhythms.
Simplicity, which it involves valuing the LABORING and PREPARATION process, like making food with one another and inviting community alongside you in your less-than-perfect home, is hospitality. But it is a display of hospitality this fast paced culture isn’t accustomed to seeing.
The more we open our homes and invite people in to sit at our tables to break bread with one another, community is created.
It’s in those moments where people feel welcomed and safe, and honest and heartfelt conversations will be held that will lead people to question why this type of hospitality is different. And it’s because of Jesus. In these moments we get the privilege of living out the gospel over a shared meal.
It’s through discovering the making of bread that I am reminded that slow isn’t always bad. There is value in the laboring and preparation process in life and building community. Good things take time.
Kim Rico is originally from California, but now calls Austin, TX home. She owns Drops Of Honey Designs which is a Creative Consulting and Styling business that helps Venue Owners and Female Entrepreneurs help attract their ideal clients by better telling their stories. She is a self-proclaimed foodie who never turns down a charcuterie board or glass of rosé and loves hosting people within her home.