Sometimes I come home at the end of the day and I feel dizzy. Not just tired…dizzy. I’m discombobulated, like I’ve just stepped off a carnival ride.
As people created to live in community, we find ourselves in these little pockets of togetherness. We’ve got our coworkers, our small group, our sports friends. The people we work out with, the people we go to church with, the people we watch our kids’ soccer with. Pockets and pockets and pockets.
The thing that makes me dizzy by day’s end is how I am constantly trying to make sure the right ‘me’ is on for the right group. Knowledgeable Sports Joey for my sports friends. Deep Theology Joey for my church friends. Sarcastic Funny Joey with my casual friends. Head Nodding Joey to my neighbors. Appropriate Jokes And Life Wisdom Joey when I’m with my teenagers.
It’s exhausting. It’s like these pockets spin around me and I have to fight to remember where I am and how I am supposed to behave. It’s almost impossible to keep my center balanced. Have you ever made the mistake of behaving like you’re in one pocket while you’re actually in another? Of course you have. You ‘overshare’ with sports friends or offend your church friends. Suddenly, you look around and are like, Ooops, that’s not ok here.
No wonder we feel so lost, so confused. No wonder we don’t know who we are or what we want. We are suffocating under layers and layers of dizzying conformity. What was once a survival skill, a coping mechanism, has become the very Tilt-A-Whirl we base our identity around. Fitting In.
When inevitable discontent comes running down our spine, we make the mistake of looking for a bigger and better pocket. If I could just find the right job or the right friends or the right vacation or the right church or the right substance to abuse…then things will be ok. We’re addicted to pockets. We don’t know who we are without them. And, since there are so many of them, we dizzy ourselves trying to make sense of it all.
A few years ago, I had the biggest revelation of my life. It was simple. I’m tired of being afraid.
From the time we are born, there is an all out blitz of influences fighting to identify us. Our parents’ desires, educational institutions, celebrity culture, fearful peers who are as lost as we are, magazine covers, and yes, even churches. We try so hard to appease the masses, fit the molds, perform for the people.
We were created to be influenced by all these things, but not defined by them. We have choices and life is about making them. I want to write stories. I want intimate community. I want to have deep conversations. I want to love and celebrate families. I want to travel and experience diversity.
….I want to be me. And if I want it, it is up to me to choose it. Really, life is that simple. It sure isn’t easy, but it is simple.
I need to commit to the choices that really make me come alive. Choices that make us come alive are like pulling back a thick curtain to discover the Image of Christ in our deepest chamber. The air is light. The light is clean. Our energy awakens. All because it is the origin we are destined to return to.
I only have this one good and precious life. Nobody else has ever been made who is exactly me. It’s high time I stop being so afraid of it and own it.