It is hard to believe, but the Barberrian Villagers are nearing their one year anniversary of serving and living at Barberry Village. The year has been full of challenges, excitement, and all the complicated yet wonderful things living in an intentional community could bring.
Like most relationships and things in life, the first six months were full of wonder and exploration, everything seemed new and fulfilling. Challenges were faced head on and energy was strong. The second six months, the energy slowly declined, especially when clear obstacles appeared.
So now, we are near the one year point, the point where we must ask ourselves - what are we doing, why are we doing it, and where are we hoping to go from here?
As we ponder this, and many of us wrestle with burnout and whether or not this is a worthwhile endeavor - whether or not this is where Christ can best use us - we must refocus.
What is the point of this? As a romantic relationship initiates, it is often sweet and full of suprises, give it time and it becomes the norm, becomes comfortable and can sometimes lose its excitement factor. I believe this happens in ministry too.
We are at a point where Barberry is no longer a new ministry. We've been doing it for a while, we have seen the good and the bad. Are we willing to continue living how we have and continue building relationships with our neighbors? Chances are nothing new will happen, no big breakthoughs for a while, perhaps some more dissapointments. Maybe we wont see fruit in areas we really want to see it in - will we continue?
As Paul traveled from church to church, and saw many things not where they should be, he didn't give up. He carried on. We may not see fruit immediately, we may not see fruit for months, years. Maybe not for a lifetime. How discouraging, it would seem. But are we living to see the fruit or are we living for the sake of the gospel? Are we willing to carry on and trust that God is working beyond what we can see?
As every happily married couple of many years says, sticking through the stale and difficult parts only leads to deeper and more meaningful relationship. It may be frustrating to push through the normal part of it, the part that becomes regular and mundane, but perhaps sticking through these times leads to something more beautiful than what can be seen instantly.
These are challenging questions and feelings. As we wrestle with the direction our lives are taking, what our goals are, we need all the prayer we can get. Please pray for the Barberrian Villagers and what we are all wrestling with as we prepare to enter the second year of living here.