Accountability Unseen

Author - Emma Stanley

This house works much like a family. We eat meals together, study and work together, spend our free time going to new places and introducing each other to pieces of us we left back home. Really, the only time we have alone is the time we spend in the bathroom. I can't say I haven't taken a little extra time getting ready in the mornings and unready in the evenings to savor that alone time as much as possible. I mean, let's face it, this kind of living tends to start chafing.

Living this close with each other has been challenging in many ways. We were thrown in the deep end with each other; we hadn't even started our mornin' routines. Yet before we knew it, we stepped on a plane to serve wherever and however possible. We started off as complete strangers, not knowing anything except for where each of us was from. Not even a month in, we're across the Pacific serving people who've lost everything. We quickly learned how each of us works under pressure and how we can work most efficiently together... or so I thought.

As we came back from Maui, many service projects awaited us in the community and on our property. We started chipping away at some of these projects this week. Tonight, a group of gentlemen, accompanied by their lovely wives, came to share a meal and learn more of what it is this fellowship is about. With that came preparing a place for them at our meeting space on the property. As floors cleared, clutter moved, weeds whacked, branches relocated, tensions ebbed and flowed. We spent probably close to an hour talking about what we should do and how best to do it before actually getting to work. Man, was that hard for me. I have found I am much more hands-on than I had realized. Growing up, my family and I kinda of just started doing and figured it out along the way, then I came to find out that most of my fellows were not that way. This was humbling. To have to slow down and listen to other's ideas and opinions and not be offended when they often completely combatted my own was something I hadn't often encountered before. But the hardest part was not to walk away and seclude myself, choosing instead to sit down and set my heart to listen and heed what was being said. To control my expressions, especially to be respectful and kind to those around me. Man, if you know me at all, you know this was capital "D" DIFFICULT. I wear everything that's in my brain, on my face. It's taken years to learn the time and place for that, and it will take many more years before I can actually say I'm doing a good job at it!

We were told of a 'honeymoon period,' the time before we started getting on each other's nerves. It was supposed to last for a while, but as soon as that exhaustion from travel hit, I knew it was over. We had to learn how to work well with each other with our very different personalities, backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses. Not only that, but after long and sometimes frustrating work days, we couldn't get away from each other. Every waking moment that wasn't spent in the bathroom was spent together. We couldn't run from words unspoken or feelings pent up. I didn't know this would be all that hard for me, having lived with two older siblings all my life, but this is much different. I grew up in a tight-knit family, and the time we didn't spend with each other, we spent with our extended family. Every holiday, birthday, and most weekends growing up were spent with my cousins. We would crowd together in one bed during sleepovers, desperate to be close to each other and always yearning for that extra time. To this day, my cousins and I talk every day, and when together, we share everything from laughs to food to even toothbrushes. All this said, I felt like I had a leg in on this whole "life-on-life" deal! What I hadn't taken into account was the adjustment period.

Apologies have to be made much quicker. Things can't sit and brew like I let them before. They have to be resolved to continue living with each other in a way that is honoring to the Lord. This has actually been kind of awesome for me. I've had to really sit and listen and watch everyone. To note the changes in demeanor, to be quick to ask what's wrong, and to be ready to sit there and listen to them pull a record of my wrongs against them, to choose then to ask forgiveness and not take the defensive like I often did/do with my family. Yes, that's hard, but what a rewarding thing to be in a group that is quick to make things right, a group that knows the importance of promptness when it comes to making amends and keeping each other accountable. I often am not aware of my tone or how I tend to boss people around or joke flippantly. This fellowship has taken that and thrown it right in front of me to work on. What a blessing in disguise that has been!

So, this whole life-on-life concept makes much more sense now, sitting with one another every waking second and getting to know where we might fall short. It has allowed us to be the accountability partners to one another that we might have never had before. Jesus spent most of his waking moments with his disciples. They got to know the ins and outs of one another in a way that a 9-5 would never be able to uncover. So we're here to live like His disciples, to spend every waking second with one another. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all held to light and seen for what they are so that we, as a family-type unit, can sort through it together and then go into our own church communities and help do the same. Bearing it all and loving each other that much deeper for it.

1 Comment

Arlie Francis - October 20th, 2023 at 11:10am


You and I are a lot alike in this respect. What you see is what you get. One never needs to wonder where you stand on an issue, and I love that. This was a really good post. Keep up the good work.