Intentional Community is Exhausting

I actually did write a blog last week, but I didn’t post it because I wasn’t sure it would be helpful to be so honest about our program.  This week I opened up the blog to write a new one and saw Lindsay R’s post, then I remembered this.  And, inspired by Lindsay and having some time to rest, I thought it might be helpful to be so honest about our program.

I must confess, I do not want to blog this week. I am tired and I have little to say that is concrete and sure. There are so many things on the verge of happening right now (gardening programs, mission, relationships, etc.) that require an almost superhuman patience. As Program Director, my role right now is to wait and see where they land. This is not to say I’m not hopeful. On the contrary, I’m incredibly hopeful with the direction the project has taken in the last few weeks. I’m just, to be honest, tired of talking about patience and waiting.

I keep passing the book on my nightstand, “The Intentional Christian Community Handbook: For Idealists, Hypocrites and Wannabe Disciples of Jesus” by David Janzen. I’m not sure what I would do without it, but every time I see the cover I roll my eyes. Not because I disagree, but because I’m tired of being an idealist, hypocrite and wannabe. I hear my pre-intentional community self saying, “But the hardness is how you know it’s worth it!” To that self I would kindly like to say, be quiet. There’s not a whole lot of use in romanticizing frustration. The fact of the matter is intentional community is hard and tiring and often gets harder before it gets easier. Because we’re all humans. Intentional Community brings your humanness into sharp relief. It’s easy to be “on” and seem fully “put together” a few hours a day or on Sundays.  But it’s much harder to retreat to that place of defiant invulnerability when you’re actually living together. Granted, I think this is a good thing (we could all use some cracks in our pretended invulnerability), but it is an exhausting thing. Vulnerability is exhausting.

So when I say I’m tired of being an idealist, a hypocrite and a wannabe, I mean I’m tired of everyone knowing just how thoroughly human I am. Just how much I struggle and with what and the places where my mentor brain and my human brain battle each other (Mentor brain: You have to say something about this situation; Human brain: But I don’t want to. Let’s just watch some more Parks and Rec on Netflix).

So I’m practicing right now. (Human Brain: Don’t post all this. You’re just going to depress everybody; Mentor Brain: But it’s important to remember the cost of following Christ. Shed your own defiant invulnerability and remember that intentional spaces, even ones filled with hope, are sometimes exhausting).

Lindsey L.

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