One of the interesting things I've read in all my study of the Millennial generation is the idea that they can comfortably live with multiple personalities. You can be one person with friends, one on Facebook, and another at work or at home. Personality is fluid, and one adapts to one's surroundings. Like being a human chameleon. I have to admit, it's one aspect of the generation I do not understand. I'm trying.
One thing I know, however, is that doing this in one's spiritual life is not confined to any generation. It's too often the default in Christian life.
I'll be a Christian at church.But at work? Well, there are decisions that have to be made there. Sometimes they can't be made with all that love and honesty stuff. That's real life.
With friends? I try, but sometimes, they need me to go along. Do what they want to do. Agree with what they believe. It makes everyone happier.
In politics? Hey, I know Jesus said to love my neighbor. But we have to protect ourselves. And I have a right to say what I want to say, regardless of those other idiots.
Problem: If I am created in the image of God, that's who I am at my core. Portraying that image full time was put into my being from the beginning. It's what was placed in my heart as my purpose for existing. If I'm trying to do that gig part time? No wonder I'm confused.
It's like trying to split an atom. We all know what happens when matter is split at its very core. Explosion. Big explosion.
Why do we think it will be any different when we try to split our being into “here I'll be God's person” and “here I'll be something else”?
If I'm fighting who I am at my core, no wonder I can't commit to being or doing anything long term. No wonder I can't reach, or even figure out, my goals. No wonder I have no idea what I truly want. I have tried to take apart who I am. And what I'm left with is a messy explosion.
Imagine telling my daughters, “You know, I'm just not feeling the mom thing today. Can I take a break from that and maybe come back sometime later?” Now, I know that occasionally, all moms want to do that. But however we are tempted, it will not change the facts. We are moms. We will still have that relationship, even if we check out of it. It just will be really messed up.
We can't show up to work as we feel the spirit. We can't be someone's child every other Tuesday. We can't be a real friend only after 8pm.
We can't be a real image of God because we press 'like' and 'share' for a picture of Jesus, then go back to gossiping about or downright insulting other people.
We need to be whole people. Only whole people really know who they are. Only whole people can sleep at night without the conflict of knowing they were not who they believed themselves to be that day.
Not that we are always what we want to be. There are cringeworthy moments in everyone's day. But when we seek to be one, whole person in all situations? We're a lot more likely to act consistently. It's just easier. Less to remember, which, for me, is a huge incentive right there.
Image of God. Ambassador of God. Friend of God. Child of God. I am all those things. Trying to be some of those things some of the time? Big, explosive mess.
Trying, however imperfectly and slowly, to be that in all places, with all people, at all times? Big, cool breeze of relief. The pieces come together. The purpose appears clearer. When we're being who we were meant to be, through and through from our core out, that's peace.