Here are a few more things I’ve learned about ministry over the last eight months.
It’s exhausting. Back before anyone ever moved in with me, a friend told me that people who weren’t used to living with boundaries continually try to push yours. I believed her, but I don’t know that I really understood what that would mean. I definitely didn’t realize how tiring it would be. This isn’t true for everyone, and I’m not even sure that it’s always intentional, but there are many days I feel like I’m constantly on guard, knowing that I give an inch, they’ll take a mile. And this is true for both the boundaries I set for their benefit (like curfews or due dates for rent) and for mine (like personal time or other friends or family who need me). I’ve learned that I need to be very clear about my boundaries and expectations, at least in my own head, and ready to set new ones when situations arise that I haven’t considered. I’ve gotten better at saying no and not feeling guilty about it.
It won’t always work. Or at least, it won’t always seem to. The hardest part of all of this has been when it feels like all of the time and effort and money and tears don’t actually change anything. Some people are stuck in old patterns and just aren’t ready to break out of them. So, here’s is what I’m try to remember. One, the story isn’t over yet. Lucky for me, I’ve got friends that have been doing this for a while who remind me of this, because they’ve seen things change long after we think it’s over. And two, that I’m not responsible for the results. My role is just to obey, to do what God tells me to, and to leave the results up to Him. It’s not easy, but if I didn’t trust that He is really in control, this whole thing would feel pretty pointless.