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.