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How to Fight Hospitality Fatigue

Hospitality fatigue is a real thing! My mom often mentions how crazy I am with the amount of people we serve in our home (or outside the home) and I shrug it off thinking “I couldn’t love it more.” But recently, I’ve felt physically and mentally exhausted which means it’s time to take a step back and evaluate where we got off balance. Here are some ways our family makes room to love others in a healthy and life-giving way.

Set Boundaries

As easy as it can be to say “yes” to an activity every night, Tim and I know that we could never sustain such a full social calendar and still find space for family time (or personal time). So, we have built in boundaries to make sure we are still connecting and feeling known within the respite of our home.

Each Tuesday is date night, where Tim and I get an opportunity to recharge and reconnect. And every Friday night is family night, where we rest together at the end of a long week and usually before the start of a busy weekend. So, I recommend you set apart a night to do something you love that doesn’t zap your energy but refreshes you for the next thing.

Note: I think meeting with the “right” friend can be soul-care and a great way to fuel up. So…don’t think I don’t see you extroverts!

Read God’s Word

We need to recharge in God’s Word and allow Him to breathe life into our inadequate hands and tired hearts.

Whenever I begin to feel hospitality fatigue, I read a story from the Gospels. I try to discern God’s loving-kindness, so our family can exemplify a piece of God’s character to the people who come under our roof. Usually it entails: asking deep questions, speaking truth into their circumstances, serving them before ourselves, providing grace and having fun.

I read the Bible not only daily, but also before people arrive at our home. God always provides the energy and strength I need to serve up meaningful conversation and make space in our schedule for others to stay awhile.

Pray Before or During Friend/Family Time

When we run out of fuel, it’s time to ask God to fill us back up. Praying before you meet a friend for coffee or silently while you grab the napkins is a great way to ask God for whatever you may need in the conversation.

Sometimes, before a social gathering, I can begin to feel anti-social, stand offish and unhelpful. Truly, I just want to sit in a corner by myself and have a pity party for no apparent reason (other than the spiritual enemy doing his job at keeping us from connecting). If I just pause and pray for a moment, God usually comes and softens my heart and pushes me forward into conversation.

Sometimes hospitality just takes WILLING hearts to open doors or make a new friend and God will take care of the rest.

Take a Break?

I wrestle with this practice a lot because I don’t think people should take breaks from friendship. But I do think you can take a break from hosting. Perhaps, you let someone else throw the summer BBQ or you enlist help for a birthday party. Maybe you order pizza instead of making a three-course meal or you meet at the park, so you don’t have to pick up the house.

There may come a season when you need to say “no” more often, but I don’t believe it should become a regular habit. We need to make time to cultivate meaningful friendships, so that means we allow people into our busy, messy seasons.

Final Encouragements

If you are feeling hospitality fatigue, know that I COMPLETELY understand. It can be really difficult to feel like you have to have every detail in order. Or the pressure to make sure everyone is having a good time falls on your shoulders. Just remember that God will work through your obedience to open your home, or your schedule to bless others. Any good that comes from serving our friends and family is all God and His power creatively working through us. And He is working through your efforts too.

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24 Comments

  • Reply Brittany

    Oh my goodness! I am not hospitable at all. I will meet with friends for brunch elsewhere but I never actually bring them into my own space. I need to do this a little more and these tips are absolutely perfect.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 9:25pm
    • Reply Bailey

      Also friend, it doesn’t have to happen in your home. Hospitality is a feeling, a loving-kindness to listen well and offer encouragement. It can happen in a road trip conversation or waiting line at the grocery store. You can offer the safety of home anywhere.

      Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 2:21pm
  • Reply Yvonne

    So many hurting people in the world need to feel God’s love through our hospitality. It might be the only gospel some people will ever see. When I feel burned out on serving others, I find some quiet time to spend with God so He can refresh me. Sometimes, it only takes a few minutes to refresh but sometimes it takes days. When burnout hits, we must refill our tanks from God so we can continue with our calling.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 11:53am
    • Reply Bailey

      You are so wise! And yes! Our world definitely needs more hospitality!

      Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 1:09pm
  • Reply Milton Goh

    Yes I agree with having God’s word as a method of recharging. Whenever Jesus ministered to lots of people on earth, He needed to withdraw and spend time in praying and communion with His Father to recharge and become refreshed.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 11:43am
    • Reply Bailey

      Yes, it’s not just saying “no” or getting some time to yourself but using that time to fill up with the Lord

      Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 1:09pm
  • Reply Jessie @ One Lost Coin

    I love your tip about reading the Bible before people come over. I never thought of that, but it is a good way to invite God into the space. I love how devoted you are with hospitality.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 5:02am
    • Reply Bailey

      Thanks Jessie! I definitely have seen it produce a lot of peace and joy in me before I pass that on to others!

      Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 1:08pm
  • Reply Marcie Cramsey

    Great ideas, Bailey! I love having people over and entertaining. I’m not a great cook, but I can order food, or enlist someone else to bring the meal! I love the laughter, hearing people pray together, and reading scripture. It’s a blessing to our family to be hospitable. But I agree with you, Bailey. We need time to refuel and rest. Balance is a good thing. For one, if we are so busy, we will pour that busyness into our guests. It’s good for them that we take time to rest and rejuvenate. We offer more when we do. 🙂

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 7:22pm
    • Reply Bailey

      awww yes, absolutely! I am glad we share a similar passion for hospitality.

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 8:23pm
  • Reply Paul Zunker

    Thanks Bailey! I relate this to doing ministry work too. Just like friendships and hospitality are all positive things, ministry work, although it’s good and brings glory to God, can actually take our focus off of Him and we become slaves to the business. We can lose sight of our savior in the midst of “good” things if we aren’t staying in fellowship with Him. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 1:36pm
    • Reply Bailey

      100% agree! We NEED rest.

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 8:24pm
  • Reply Nancy E. Head

    Love the messages here. We need the fellowship of others, but we put so much pressure on ourselves to make it all just right when we’re hosting. Therefore, taking a break from that is a good thing. On occasion. My memories of hosting when my kids were little are wonderful, but now I look back and remember the times it was just us. Like all of life, balance is the key–not too much, not too little. God bless!

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 1:32pm
    • Reply Bailey

      I love that you can look back now on that! I would love to hear more of what worked and what didn’t work for you as you built and family and loved others.

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 1:42pm
  • Reply Edna Davidsen

    Dear Bailey!

    I’ve just finished reading “How to Fight Hospitality Fatigue” and here are my thoughts.

    You know, Bailey, I always get inspired by the way you and your husband open up your home to the people you guys live with.

    You talk about the importance of setting limits; that’s essential to keep a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The Bible is also my favourite book. Just by reading a bit in it recharges me like nothing else 🙂 I know what you’re talking about there.

    I like what you say about saying ‘no’ sometimes. I see so many Christian brothers and sisters who don’t master the skills of saying no.

    We don’t need to be everywhere. We cannot be everywhere if we wish to serve the Lord to the fullest.

    Thank you for this encouraging blog posts!
    Edna Davidsen

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 12:52pm
    • Reply Bailey

      Edna, you always give the best feedback. Thank you!

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 1:30pm
  • Reply Melissa Henderson

    Showing God’s love each and every day is a blessing to us and a blessing to others.

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:51am
    • Reply Bailey

      Amen, girl!

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:53am
  • Reply Vanessa

    I wonder how much a tendency toward people-pleasing plays a role here? As an introvert I have the opposite issue since I’m hesitant to host often because of how drained I am afterwards. Thanks for this perspective!

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:43am
    • Reply Bailey

      Oh, I totally think people-pleasing could be a huge symptom to hospitality fatigue, especially when people feel like they can’t say no. I genuinely just love hosting people all the time so it’s even less people-pleasing and just a joy, but even that get’s exhausting. I think we have to fight those tendencies of just feeling tired because I truly do believe that is a strategy from the enemy to keep us from connecting. If your friends really do exhaust you, I would find ways to cultivate the relationship but maybe in setting that are more life giving for you.

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:54am
  • Reply Yvonne

    Great reminder to depend on Christ for everything especially when we are tired, drained or feel like giving up. Good post.

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:42am
    • Reply Bailey

      thanks for reading Yvonne!

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:52am
  • Reply Tessa

    I really needed to read this. I think I avoid being hospitable because of being an introvert and getting so ‘drained.’ I think it is a great reminder that I can depend on God and trust in Him for that revival that I need when feeling drained. Thanks for your post!

    Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:38am
    • Reply Bailey

      I have many friends who feel the same way. I often tell them there are many women out there (even me) who would love an invitation. It doesn’t have to be fancy and God totally delivers what both people need in that situation.

      Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:52am

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