Hospitality. But Not The Kind You Are Thinking Of.


Lately I’ve been thinking about hospitality.

But not the kind where I’m hospitable to others…


For awhile (I’m looking at you 2013 and 2014) I’ve been doing and doing like a crazed person.

Sometimes that’s how life is for a season or so, but once you realize it, you get to make the decision to keep going in that direction or change things. Sometimes changing things means other people might misunderstand you. It’s still worth it.


Having people over to our home is the best thing Chad and I do together–one of our greatest joys in life, but even good things have their limits.

We were supposed to have new friends over for dinner last night. Yesterday at lunch we cancelled.

I’m not even sure what Chad told them. Maybe he told them I was sick? It wouldn’t be a lie, because in a way I am, but it’s not because I have a fever. It’s because I haven’t allowed my house to be hospitable towards me. He texted me that he cancelled, I read it and then I cried.

I cried because I really wanted to have them over and get to know them.

I cried because I was so glad he cancelled so now I could stay in my yoga pants and dirty hair.

I cried because I want to be a person who has the margin and clarity of thought to welcome new friends into our home and ask meaningful questions and then listen to their answers. Right now I am not that person.

It’s not fair for me to invite people into my home if I don’t have the room to listen.


If I don’t have room to listen that means I need to pay attention to myself and make a change.

If I can’t set a table graciously for myself, how can I set it for others?

If my home isn’t a place for me to rest, be, learn, hide and grow, then it will never be that place for others, no matter how passionate I am about it.


I’ve been a guest in a home when the people should have cancelled and it’s agonizing–for everyone. I wanted to call a time-out and explain that we all know that we have no business being in their house right now and that I’ll pack all the dinner prep in the refrigerator and clean up and that they should just go to bed. We’ll show ourselves out. No hard feelings.

I’m learning to let my house minister to me first, so that I can then minister to others.

I’m fooling no one if I try to pour out to someone else, when I have nothing to give.

And I’m wasting all our time if I try to fake it.

INTJs don’t fake things. It’s one of our strengths that get confused with being mean.


Maybe the thought of inviting people in sounds exhausting, not because you are a bad person but because you are a tired person.

best ever

We have permission to say no. We have permission to say nevermind, we have permission to choose to take care of ourselves first so that we can more fully give to others.

breathing room



  1. Thank you. Why do we feel that we need permission to invest in ourselves anyway?! As if the ultimate self-less ideal is to never take stock of what our personal needs (which is ridiculous)! Adding in that personal allowance to “fill back up” is so necessary and so often neglected. I appreciate this post. Thank you, again!

  2. I so needed to read this today. Like many others here, we have had a very difficult year due mostly to some serious health issues my husband has experienced putting him in and out of the hospital 7 times within a year. Four of those times occured this past summer and included a stroke and starting dialysis when his 18 year old kidney transplant finally gave out. Lately I can’t even keep up with the basics around the house much less host a dinner. My husband will be on dialysis Thanksgiving day as will so many others and I am so thankful for the wonderful, kind staff who will be working that day to care for all these people. I was stressing over whether or not to try and host a family dinner as I have often done in the past. Could not figure out how to do that so we graciously accepted an invitation for a group dinner with friends. So, after his dialysis Thursday, we will come home to let him rest a bit. Then we will leave and close the door behind us on all the imperfection, go pick up my dad and go enjoy some time with friends being grateful for all God has done for us. And maybe I will leave the guilt at home too. Thank-you. You have been a blessing in my life today.

  3. Amen!! AMEN!!! Best post in the blogosphere, for such a time as this! Shout this from the rooftops, declare it to all the moms! The message is important. We. Have. Got. To. Start. Taking. Care. Of. Ourselves. Before we burn out, and have nothing to give! It’s scary and courageous and brave!! Love you for being a truth-teller!!!!!!!

  4. This was beautiful! Thank you for your honesty and the challenge that us often hard to hear and digest this time of year. Great reminder!!

  5. Thank you for speaking for all of us from your heart I decided last year that had to stop entertaining and get well, take stock of my home and what type of guest I would allow in my home,. I had been entertaining constantly for a year. It takes a toll. , This decision came after a ex friend had a mental breakdown in my home and damaged property while screaming at me, Since then I require peace and quiet in my home, order and no expectations that I must entertain. Since then I suffered a broken bone and came down with diabetes so I have not been up to entertaining and its all I can do to care for myself and my home, For now that is ok . We have to give ourselves permission to be free of commitments,, especially within our own four walls,. Good for you for setting important boundaries with personal space and allowing yourself to do so,
    Question, where did you get that fabulous down comforter and that beautiful blanket? They are just perfect comfort pieces,.
    Enjoy your coffee

  6. In this moment I am relieved that you said what I feel. I know exactly what I need to do before Tuesday because that is the day we leave to visit my family for Thanksgiving. When we return I want my home to invite me in instead of me dreading to unlock the door. Thank you Myquillyn.

  7. This. A thousand times this. You’ve met my heart where it wants to be.

  8. This is my first visit, and I was with you until you made it into a commercial. What a way to cheapen the out-pouring of true emotion…a true connection. All of the sudden, I feel like your uninvited ones, except I was once privy to know why you changed your mind about visiting and getting to know each other. We might have been friends.

  9. I’ve always seen home as a haven for the people who lived there, but I’ve always wrestled with making it available for others, because that’s something I’ve always appreciated when it was a gift given to me and yet my family never often did that. I never made the connection that homes offered as spaces to grow and thrive and learn for others are first those for the people who live there. It’s encouraging to read how you’ve learned that for yourself and encourages me to ponder how that looks in my own life.

  10. I am reminded of what Edith Schaeffer said in Hidden Art of Homemaking that their home has a door that opens wide to invite others in and closes shut to just be them (paraphrased ;) I just bet Jesus loves have a frothy cuppa with you in your spot. How sad He must be when we neglect our need for rest and quiet and being, when we give out and never take in. Preach it, sister!

  11. FYI when I click on “read on the blog” it had a virus attached. My security system blocked it but it was a bad one

  12. We used to have so many parties and now are practically recluses. I know we need to achieve a balance but having privacy and fewer commitments is like a gift.

  13. Beautiful post! I could feel myself relaxing just reading it. You have such a gift with words. Thank you for sharing them with us today.

  14. This is awesome. I’ve never read your blog before, but you sound awesome, too. My father-in-law gifted me with a house-cleaning service tomorrow. I humbled myself and accepted it, because I’m 5 months pregnant, and should be accepting it, anyway. I still went around breathlessly cleaning before they brought El Pollo Loco over for dinner, which I think is hilarious and baffling and stupid, but there it is. I think I’ll read this post one more time and remind myself to be hospitable to moi, and maybe rustle up a little corner of the house to facilitate some deep breathing.

  15. I recently became a stay-at-home-mom, and yesterday I was the sickest I have been in YEARS! I even taught elementary school for nine years and was never that sick. It reminded me that I’ve got to take care of myself too and not feel so pressured to get so much done for others. Then I read this post and I don’t think it was a coincidence. Thank you!

  16. That is so true about INTJs not being able to fake their way through. (I’m one too!)

  17. I love this! I found your book and website at such a prefect time, we are in the process of selling and moving our house, so I have a lot to think about on how I want this new future home to be.

    Anyways! Since we are going through this craziness, my husband and I are buying our Thanksgiving dinner from EarthFare, turkey and all the fixings. That way we can enjoy this special day relaxing in each other’s company. I’d love to cook everything myself, but let’s face it, that might end with a few unintentional harsh words in a stressful moment.

  18. Sherrylynne says

    ahh…a fellow an INTJ’er. I need say nothing more. I get it and am so doggone relieved that someone gets me!

  19. I did not know what a INTJ was and I researched it.. holy crap I feel like I just got understood…

  20. “It’s one of our strengths that gets confused with being mean.” << Favorite.

    I loved every word of this and I am also cold all the time. Today someone randomly stopped by (INTJ death star) and I was wearing my pajamas with my red puffy coat, zipped up. "Oh, were you getting ready to leave?" I naturally pointed to my chest region and said "Nope. I'm not even wearing a bra under here. I was just cold."

  21. As much as I agree with you (and I do), as much as I would love to hole up in my jammie pants, t-shirt and warm fluffy socks instead of entertain sometimes and as much as I already feel like I’m constantly holding my breath at the thought of the preparations and cooking for Thanksgiving, I could never allow myself. I carry enough guilt for me and for every person within a 50 mile radius of me. I feel guilty when things don’t go well for those around mr that really don’t have anything to do with me, always thinking that if I had done something there may have been a better outcome. I feel obligated and I always try to fulfill those obligations gracefully. I can’t allow myself to think about it any other way.

    • Dear Judy, I know intellectually that my worth is established through Christ, but I am a born people-pleaser, which means the knowledge is lost in translation by the time it reaches my heart. Your guilt talk sounds familiar, and I hope that you and I both allow God’s grace to renew our minds. He has so much joy for His people, who are we to refuse what he longs to give us? Blessings to you.

  22. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. I have def. been under the trap of ‘I am not doing enough (whatever enough is!) in the area of hospitality’… but I can def. see the difference when i do it my strength and when I do in Father’s… So loved how you wrote: let your house minister to you first…

  23. I see Ann’s comment above cheering for moms to believe this. I’m single and am horrible at opening my home. I want it right. I want the clutter clear. I grew up in a home where we ALWAYS had people over and my mom is a horrible housekeeper. It didn’t matter. Why do I care? I’m single and live alone. My home SHOULD be hospitable all the time. Argh, why can’t I get beyond myself?

    I sure do love it when friends show up unannounced. It makes me smile.

    And that Nespresso? I’ve wanted one for a year. Can’t wait to hear what you think. I had to basically toss my Keurig out the window and have heard great things about the Nespreso.

  24. If this post were a physical item, I would hug it to my chest. Thank you! As an INTJ and sometimes and ENTJ—I get it! “Your house has to minister to you before it can minister to anyone else.” YES! Thank you again.

  25. <<>>
    Oh! Just oh… .

  26. Such a great read! I am an ENFP but I can totally relate to this. I’ve seen that office before! It was super cozy looking in real life, too! (Day at the Barn)

  27. You’re an INTJ?! No wonder I immediately fell in love with you! I’m an E/INTJ! :D (I try to be E for a while and then, unsuccessful, swear off anything that talks and hide out with my coffee and books and writing. People get confused by this when they don’t realize that just because you can talk a lot does not mean you’re an extrovert) Your book blessed me – and I’m glad it led me to your blog!

  28. i just found your blog. You have such a beautiful talent for connecting with what women need to hear. Thank you.

  29. You are a very wise and gracious woman!!

  30. Hi Myquillyn, It is March 2016 as I read your wonderful post. I couldn’t agree more! For a long time I perceived my need for rest and me-time as a shortcoming, but I begin to see these time outs as a necessity for all my listening and what I do do! Nice to know I could be ‘normal’ (except for my not so normal name, like yours…). Thanks and best wishes from Leiden, The Netherlands.

  31. Nester,
    I so get you because I am exactly the same. It took me half of my life to realize that I’m an introvert and that it is ok. Everyone else in my family is extroverted, so it is difficult for them to understand when I need a nap or am physically and mentally exhausted after serving in youth group (sometimes to the point of utter exhaustion). But it is so wonderful to know yourself, and then to the best of your ability be gracious to yourself so that you might also be that way to others. We should start a support group, but who am I kidding, none of us would show up. We’d just use that time to read a book or take a nap and know that the others would understand :)

  32. Thank you for the good writeup. It actually was once a
    leisure account it. Glance complex to far delivered agreeable from you!
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  33. Nester – well written. I think we have all been there. I’ve been basking in the freedom of “no” for a whole 5 months now. And I find my strength returning. It still isn’t where I want it. But I am getting back to the old energy, joy, and wisdom I had for so long, and then squandered in the doing. I don’t know how long it will take before I say, “yes” again to anything that is more than a 60 minute one-off. But I do know I’m doing the right thing for now. Bless you for listening to your needs, and entering your own time of rest, and giving all of us permission to do the same.

  34. Michelle Krol says

    Dearest Nester ;) As a fellow INTJ (nailed it with the inability to be fake, yuck!), I can really appreciate this post. I had the pleasure of being a guest at your barn/home for our workshop and let me just say one thought that crossed my mind is how I would feel with everyone over, and how gracious that was…how I love to do those things but how it does deplete me when I don’t think that it does because I adore all the creativity of it. I feel like we have been going nonstop ourselves and I just don’t want time, I need it, and I thank you for saying it out loud too. Especially with the holidays approaching that I want to fully take in and embrace and feel. xoxo

  35. This beautiful post reminds me of a quote from “First we have coffee ” by Margaret Jensen. (In Norwegian accent) “Ven there is heart room, there is house room.” Let’s nourish our heart space, then we will be ready to extend our home space.

  36. Dan Allender says we aren’t hiding the truth from anybody. I think your story about the friends that needed to go to bed is on point. We think we can pull it off and we try but in the end, we are really not accomplishing what we thought we “had to do.” There’s is a pragmatic truth concerning self-care and service in its truest form that you have touched on in a thoughtful, real, and restful way. Peace be yours Nester.

  37. This reminded me of attending a women’s conference back in the 1970s. There was a session called Who Takes Care of the Caretakers? It was aimed at nurses and social workers but it was mostly attended by us mothers who wanted to know who would take care of us.

  38. Thank-you for speaking this truth that I believe most women need to hear! We are gifted by God to care for everyone but often fail to make the connection to prioritize care for ourselves.

    I have enjoyed reading your sister’s writings over the past couple of years, and am so glad they led me to yours. I hope to glean from your heart and skills for decorating and caring for my home.

    The only thing I would add for those of us who still struggle with clutter and disorganization (or “recovering perfectionism:), is to not wait until things are perfect to invite others in. Although visitors to my home say it is neat and clean, my recovering perfectionist personality who craves order is constantly challenged by piles and such, and faithfully moves them out of sight whenever we have guests. If someone stops in unannounced, I welcome them from my heart, while my emotions and pride take an uncomfortable back seat. But people feel the love and care in our hearts much more than judge what they see in our house.

    It’s all about balance; learning when to say a good “yes”, and when it’s right to say a good, “no”. Blessings to you.

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