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.
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.
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.