Monday, December 6, 2010

on seeming to be

One dilemma I am aware of is an inner conflict of desires - wanting to live out of who I uniquely am, and also wanting to fit in. For me, this conflict is played out between wanting to be free to be the (slightly) ridiculous woman I am, while knowing I represent so much of what people want to experience as a 'mature Christian woman.' I am not sure the two are in conflict, but they can SEEM to be in conflict. Am I willing to 'seem' to be something or content to simply be it?

Let me give an example. To date I have not donated money directly to the seminary where I work. Ah... don't misread me. I frequently give to those who attend the seminary. I give to students who are in a crisis, help out in areas that don't have funding, contribute meals and household goods, donate gifts for events, money to couples who desperately need a date, and help with groceries and expenses for families who are under stress. Stuff like that.

Because I do not give in the official ways my name is not on the published giving list. And I wonder, do I want to 'seem' generous or do I want to simply BE generous ... even though I don't seem to be.

I guess this is about the opinions of others. You might say those opinions don't matter, but in fact our reputations hang on them. And our reputations are one of our most valuable assets.

My antenna are up this season with sensitivity for the working (and unemployed) poor. I pass the Salvation Army buckets every day.My heart wants to put money into every box - to seem generous. I want each worker to know that I care, that I am glad they are doing their part, that I am aware of the empty cupboards in our area. But then, this is just seeming, isn't it? I decided that I will give in a certain way, but that I will look every bell ringer in the face and tell them thank-you for doing this. And merry Christmas!

So every day I keep choosing. Seeming to be or just being. Seeming is a lot easier. Being takes courage.


John Wesley Leek said...

Thanks Marilyn.

Krissi said...

While money is what they're there for, I think those volunteers standing out in the cold with those Salvation Army buckets really just like to be acknowledged. I looked one lady in the eye and smiled at her as I was heading into Hobby Lobby a few nights ago and she started up a brief conversation with me. The few exchange of words warmed my heart, too.

And if you EVER gave to the school so that your name would show up on a list, I would be very angry at you. You know, my generation is very skeptical of those lists (at least those of us on the West Coast). We find them arrogant. It sometimes bodes negatively for one's reputation. Not because they donated money, but because they sought recognition for it.

Karen said...

Brilliant words - much to mull over. You are right, I think - it is a lot easier to SEEM than to BE.

joy said...

A sign that is pasted in front of me at my desk and that I see every day ... "To be a servant is more important than to be seen as a servant."

Gavin Duerson said...

Thanks Marilyn! I wish i didn't want to please others so much.

Gal. 1:10 - Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.