Until recently, I never realized how much I have compartmentalized my life. The worst part is I got away with it just fine without knowing how it haunted me. The best part, though, is now we are in a place where it is no longer possible for me to compartmentalize and suddenly I feel free.
Let me explain…
I seem to be a different person or play different roles depending on where I am and who I am with.
Work… for at least the last 2 years that I taught in St. Louis I played the part of a victim… and I played it well. I had horrible classes, worked on a super dysfunctional team. I lacked compassion and understanding I was emotional, had a short fuse, complained, vulgar and was not the teacher I know I can be. I would be embarrassed if people outside of school saw me that way.
Church… the greatest thing about my church in St. Louis (beside the awesome worship, children’s ministry, teachings, small groups, etc.) was the fact that it was pretty far away from school. Half the people hadn’t even heard of my school district. Most of the people at school would never venture out to my church. No overlapping there. I could be holy and wise in front of those people but leave it at the door when I left.
Family… I love my family. I am so fortunate to have amazing parents and a super cool sister and brother. But I have always felt a bit on the outside with them. I am the weird one- with a different personality and interests. The one left under a rock by gypsies. I play this role well with them. Sometimes this is painful but other times I crave it because that is who I think they expect me to be.
Spouse… when my husband was a police officer he worked crazy hours. I hated that I was alone when I was at church or with my family but it made it very easy to be a yet another person when I am with him. It is he, in fact, that first pointed out to me how different I am in various settings. How I seem to change personalities depending on what the situation called for.
Pampered Chef… at my cooking shows and PC meetings, again, I play another part. This is the one I thought I wanted to be… loud, wild, silly, sarcastic, fun. I am not sure that is the best person for me. This is the second place I began to recognize this compartmentalization.
Online… I have become addicted to social media- twitter and facebook. There I laugh about my kids and make jokes about what I see and feel when really I am unhappy. This is the easiest place to be anonymous. Until recently, I have kept this as a separate part of my life.
But now things are changing. They say in a small town everyone knows everything about everybody. At first I didn’t think it would be a big deal because I was the new girl in town and no one would care about me. Now I realize I can’t separate my life into groups that are scheduled into my daily calendar because everything here is so meshed and overlapping. There is no escaping who I am now. I work with people from church. Parents of my students have had Pampered Chef parties for me. I can’t be 13 different people.
I boohooed in church this weekend because I think it finally hit me. I “present well” whenever the situation calls for it. I have compartmentalized my whole life in order to hide who I am. But it is time for me to get real. God is calling me to be who he made me to be and for 30 years I have resisted that. I haven’t taken the time be who God wants me to be because I am so busy being who I think everyone else wants me to be. I can talk a lot and I act like I know what’s going on… and if I don’t, I can fake it with the best of them. But I realize I can’t fake it. Anxiety is driving me insane. Depression is drowning me. I am stressed out trying to be something else..
So who does God want me to be? I am not sure yet. I do know He calls me to love Him first and foremost. I know, for sure, that I have failed at that. I know I am called to reach out, in compassion and love to others regardless of the location and situation. I haven’t been good at that in a long time.
Who has God want you to be? Do you hide from how wonderfully you have been made? Do you “present well?”