What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Barometric Differentiation

Once a month, fourteen or so student Team Leaders get together to talk about what's going on in the chapter. Last week, since it's November, we met and did some evaluation of this past semester: how have we done, what needs to improve, where do we go from here type of stuff.

The meeting was a good one. There were some areas of definite growth we could celebrate and point to. And there are definitely some areas where we need to improve or develop for next semester. It's those "areas that need improvement" that get me when I'm not healthy.

I'm in a job that I love, working with a large community of people. I invest a lot of time and energy into what happens with InterVarsity at UNC-Chapel Hill. And the danger is that I become so overly-invested in all of it that I hear any criticism of the chapter as criticism of me.

One barometer of my soul being "off" is that I do not have healthy differentiation between me and the chapter. There's me. There's the chapter. They are not the same thing. And yet from time to time I'm in meetings or conversations with people who are critical of what goes on with IV and I find that I'm disproportionately defensive. This is a good warning sign for me that I need to reset my identity and my security in something much healthier than the ups and downs of people's experiences of the IV community.

So that's what last week was about. It was about remembering that my name and my identity and my security are wrapped up in Christ. I am a dearly beloved son who is known and tended to by a Good Father. Without that, I'm just a gaping wound walking around hoping that someone will say something nice about me (or about the chapter) so that I'll feel good about myself. I'm not free to love people. Without knowing who I am in Christ I am so desperate for affirmation that I can only see people either as threats or as opportunities for compliments to be manipulated.

I don't think that this is just a hazard for IV staff. For anyone who is heavily invested in work or a community of people or a project or their kids it's tempting for us to find our identity in how things "turn out." Are people impressed with my work? Do my colleagues appreciate what I'm doing here? Do my kids "show well" around our friends or their teachers or at church?

The solution is not to "care less." That would be an abdication of our divine calling to work. The solution is to care more. Care more for the precious gift of security and purpose and identity that has been given to us in Christ.

And then let love flow, let grace flow, let the investment of energies and time flow. Only this time rather than trying to prove ourselves or make a name for ourselves or manipulate people into liking us (and calling that "service"), we can genuinely give of ourselves unselfishly, freely, recklessly, gladly, joyfully...and then rest when it's time to rest. Because I'm loved fully I can give without self-concern and I can rest without worry about what others might think about me. That's real freedom.

1 comment:

ems said...

"Because I'm loved fully I can give without self-concern and I can rest without worry about what others might think about me. That's real freedom."

first of all, hey alex. it's erich. i've joined the blog world and because i have my own, i am much more interested in the bloggage of others.

secondly, i've found that the above quote is so hard to make real in life sometimes. its very easy for me to agree with the truth of this statement and i can agree with how easy it should be to apply it to life and be free in God's promise of grace. however, when it comes down to it, i can't just say "make it so" to myself (or to God) and all of the sudden have have that weight removed and the light rush in.

good stuff though. i'm liking this blog thing.