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.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fight Club: How Being Brad Pitt Revealed My Discontent (Part 3)

Quick background for those of you who are new to Piebald Life: I've spent the past fourteen years working in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I spent nine years working at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va and the past five at UNC-Chapel Hill, which is where I got on this IV merry-go-round to begin with as a student.

This summer I've taken a new position with InterVarsity as an Area Director for the Central Carolinas. Instead of working with students, I'm working with campus staff who work with students at UNC-Charlotte, Davidson College, Elon University and UNC-Chapel Hill.

This transition has gone relatively smoothly in terms of the outward circumstances: my first big "test" was a four-day meeting with all ten of the staff that I supervise from all four campuses--it went about as spectacularly as I could have dreamed.

Like any newbie, I'm learning my way around the parts of the job that are ne--like understanding insurance and employment forms. And I've enjoyed talking with each of my staff weekly and being a sort of consultant as they gear up for the start of the fall.

All this left me wondering a couple of weeks ago: why am I so churned up internally?

I was talking about this at Fight Club a couple of weeks ago-- the name of the guys small group that meets at my house every Sunday night. One of the wives coined the name and I figure that since I lead it that makes me Brad Pitt. Definitely Brad Pitt.

I was verbally processing my inner-angst when I stumbled upon a realization. In my new position, I do not yet know what "success" looks like. Over the past fourteen years, I've more or less developed my own schema for how to measure success: X numbers of students involved or seniors at senior night sharing how they've grown and matured while in college.

Having clear pictures of what it means for me to be successful are very important to me. I am realizing that all the more as they are taken away.

And what I'm realizing is that most of that was deeply unhealthy anyway. And so I've been internally angst-ridden because in the transition the Lord has removed the un-healthy sources of my identity.

This is, of course, a gift if I can get there emotionally. To be free from the tyranny of numbers and of the pressure to perform in order to feel that I am a worthwhile human being would be a tremendously wide-open place to live.

And soon I'll replace those old measurements of success with new measurements of success, and I will again be in the same place of fighting those same battles.

But in the interim I have a tremendous opportunity for personal growth: to be stripped of my external props and to lean into Jesus alone for my identity is what I am meant to do.

The Fight Club realization a couple of weeks ago was a real turning point for me as I'm transitioning into my new job. There's some clarity about what this season is supposed to be about for me in terms of my walk with the Lord and what it means for me to serve faithfully as I continue to learn my new ropes and care for my staff.

And in the mean time, maybe it's time to dust off the old Fight Club DVD and see if there's any more spiritual lessons to be learned...my guess is that there's probably not.


Shane Arthur said...

My hope is that Part 4 of this post series has to do with what kind of plan you used to get so ripped for the actual filming of Fight Club...

Macon said...

Isn't rule 43b of fight club, "Dont blog about fight club?"