For the past seven summers Diane and I have had the privilege of hosting college students in our home and/or neighborhood for the Greensboro Urban Project. For the first five editions of GUPY, I was working full-time for InterVarsity, and that meant that when my summer work kicked in, my campus-related work typically lay dormant. Then as GUPY ended, campus work picked up again, and it made for a nice rhythm.
But for the past two years, I’ve been employed full-time by my church and only part-time by InterVarsity, and so when GUPY begins, my “regular” job with the church doesn’t lay dormant. The church goes on meeting each week, and the areas that I am responsible for continue to operate. Vision for ministry and ongoing responsibilities and relationships continue. While I don’t feel pressure from my supervisors at church to continue my same church pace during GUPY, I do realize that this work and this community that I am devoting much of my life to is still going even during the summer. I also have friendships that I feel get put on “pause” during GUPY.
For some reason it seems like this whole balancing act is made more difficult because GUPY takes place in my home town. Everything is pretty much the same in Greensboro as it was before June 23rd, and the people that I love and am invested in are still here. But I am not available in the same way during these six weeks; the whole dynamic of my life is altered by GUPY. It feels sometimes like it would be easier to just take a group to Africa for six weeks, even though that would mean giving up the comforts of home, because I could be totally focused on one thing instead of feeling pulled in many directions.
All this is not to complain. I really do count it a privilege to lead GUPY and to know the students that God is bringing. It’s just to say that navigating this state of “everything around me being the same but my availability being entirely different” is still very hard.