Today I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling like I’m a fraud waiting to be discovered. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Let me give you some context:
Tomorrow is the first day of orientation here at SSU and, although classes don’t officially start until Thursday, this basically means that my summer’s over. I know people have likely started arriving in droves, but I haven’t ventured out to meet them yet. It always takes me a while to work up the social energy for such a thing, which is precisely why living in this kind of learning community is so good for me.
I often start to think deeply when I reach a transitional period in my life like this. I wonder about the friends, new and old, that I’ll meet. I wonder how people will think about me and how I’ll influence their lives and they mine. I realize that this community will shape me and I will in turn shape it. I was thinking about what kind of member of this community I wanted to be; about how I want to be a bringer of light and goodness and all kinds of other good Christian clichÃ©s. That’s when it hit me.
As I said earlier, I had this overwhelming feeling come over me like I’m a fraud waiting to be discovered. I felt like the vision of who I want to be in this community didn’t actually line up with the way I really am deep down. I felt like I’d become a parrot that had become adept at saying the right Christian things and a snake who had gotten good at deceiving himself into believing that he actually believed them. I was distraught.
But then I realized that this was some kind of combination of my own overly self-critical nature and the enemy of my soul playing havoc with my mind and my emotions. I also realized that all Christian life is caught somewhere between two worlds. All of the best and worst things in the world collide in this age and we get caught up in the middle of that mess. Ideals speak to the next life but are never perfectly realized in this one. I may want to serve the people in my community, but I’m just as likely to be irate at having to do things for other people.
I guess I need to get past simplistic caricatures of what it means to be a Christian. God has made us far more complex than I usually understand and the simultaneous existence of both old and new natures within us makes life more complicated than any easy description can account for.
Thanks God, for not leaving me to my own devices. I wouldn’t even bother to ask these questions, never mind find answers that bring me peace without Your presence to guide me. You sure do stoop low with such a practiced grace. Help me to make it look that easy…