I had breakfast with an old friend this morning, and while the subject of our conversation was mostly about our lives and what God has done in each, there was a moment when he said something that’s stuck with me all day. Maybe it will stick with you too.
“My goal,” he said, during a conversation about work and environment, “is that the same guy who lives at my house is the same guy who goes into the office. I don’t want to have a ‘home self’ and a ‘work self.’ I want to be me in both places.”
Isn’t that awesome? It’s got to be one of the top five or six things I’ve heard/read/seen lately, and I’ve been hearing/reading/seeing a lot.
I want to be me, wherever I’m at.
For some people, that statement’s pretty stupid. Or at the least, self-evident. After all, who else would you be? Cher? But for some of us, who’ve been conditioned that the bifurcation of ourselves is not only permissible, it’s necessary, the idea of being able to fully ourselves regardless of environment is beyond belief.
We may call it compartmentalization, we may call it professionalism, we may call it a thousand different things, but the bottom line is that a great many of us are used to being limited in some way, shape or form in some areas of our lives. For some us, it’s the decorum of our workplace; our sense of humor, our religious beliefs, our personal lives, might not be welcome conversation topics. And while you certainly don’t want to sit down with your company CEO and make fart jokes, if your company doesn’t respect all of you, then they don’t respect you, period.
For some folks, this is best seen at church. The Sunday Face that so many people put on so people won’t decode the pain they hide, or the differences between their Monday-Saturday life. While I’m not saying that a life of sin is permissible for a Christian, there are some things that some Christians make into MAJOR sins, while conveniently minimizing others.
(In some churches, sin – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. Just saying.)
So to avoid issues, some people pretend to be something they’re not. This defeats the purpose of the church, to be a community where people come and grow with Christ and each other. With so many people hiding struggles and problems, just to fit into the expected decorum, there’s nothing to talk about. Everyone just pretends like things are good with them, thanks, and isn’t that painting of Jesus just lovely over the antique table in the hall?
Authenticity. It’s so crucial.
I want to be me. I have a strange sense of humor. I make the occasional statement that people take issue with. I like nerd stuff, I prefer tennis shoes over going barefoot, and I would rather drink a gallon of gasoline than eat a cobb salad. And at 37 years old, I’m tired of having to be HomeJason and WorkJason.
I just want to be Jason. Take it or leave it.
Being yourself shouldn’t be as hard as it is, but courage can change that. Of course, some of us find courage easier than others. Some of us don’t have a choice. Here’s hoping you find the courage you need to be yourself, wherever you are.