I’ve had this post saved in draft form for eight days, but I’m going to publish it now. I was originally going to try to cram discussion of actual issues I’m working through and thinking about in here, but the post is too freaking long, so that’s not going to work. I’ll do that stuff later.
First off, a little revelation: When I post a bunch of tiny blurbs but no long entries, and especially when you notice that those tiny blurbs are written without wit (or at least with really half-hearted wit), you can be almost certain that I’m under a lot of stress for whatever reason. We’re most of the way through with March and I haven’t posted a real entry this entire month. It’s been 100% Blurbville. Well, I’m under a lot of stress.
The entry Steph posted awhile ago brought something to light for me. When I read the last paragraph of that entry, I actually went to her and said, “Hey, are you sure you want to be saying things like that on your blog? I mean, that’s public and it’s a pretty vulnerable, personal topic.” As if that isn’t bad enough, I told her I was worried that people would think that I had said things to her that inspired her initial feelings she blogged about. So I was being self-conscious enough to turn her issue into a “What will your struggles make people think of me?” issue, and that’s pretty bad. I mean, seriously. How low can you go? It’s limbo time.
Anyhow, when she posted that, something totally unexpected (by me) happened. People on and off her blog started responding with “Yeah, I struggle with ______, and reading about your struggles really encouraged me.” I was totally blown away and realized at that point that I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to stuff like this. I know how to put on a good public face and deal with personal issues only with people who are extremely close to me (like Steph or my parents or something), but I had never considered the fact that sometimes my silence about myself might be hurting someone else. I mean, what if I’m struggling with something, and the fact that I don’t say anything about it means that someone else who is struggling feels more alone, and Satan has the ability to tempt them more easily and be more successful with tempting them because of those feelings of being alone? I take partial responsibility for that. I should have spoken out about myself in order to help them, even if I didn’t know they were struggling when I initially made my statements about myself. Honesty can heal, as long as it doesn’t expose things about someone else that ought to be private for some reason.
I’m not saying that I should put all my deepest, darkest secrets up here on this blog and totally destroy myself publicly so others can feel good about themselves. I’m not going to, because there are a few cases where other people could get hurt by that, and clearly that’s not a good idea. I’m just realizing and advocating the idea that we don’t have to seem like super-people or always keep our difficulties to ourselves. Be a little open and help the people you love to see that you can still be a beautiful person and not be a perfect person who never has doubts and never has weak moments. That’s true beauty, because Christ shines through imperfect people. I think many or most of my blogging friends already get this, so I’m probably saying it mostly for myself.
I think some of my way of thinking about this may have come from growing up in a pastor’s home. My dad is an imperfect man, yes, but pastors are a special exception with things like this. Christians can be very odd, picky people. If they hear that their pastor has problems of any kind (not just serious stuff), they can sometimes be predisposed to say, “OK, let’s get a new pastor.” Seriously. It’s happened. So my dad and mom have tended to keep their personal problems between them (and sometimes discuss them with my sister and I, of course), but they didn’t often go outside that circle to talk about things of that nature. Sometimes they would talk with the other pastors in our church. But certainly not to larger groups. It’s just unwise for a pastor to do that and risk being picked apart and fired (or at least emasculated) because even if some people in the congregation will protect him and recognize that pastors are human and struggle as humans do, many won’t recognize that. They may call for his job, depending on what the problem is.
But I’m not a pastor.
And now, page two.
One of the things that has hindered me writing about the deeper side of my personal self on this blog is the fact that I believe one or more of my coworkers may read it from time to time. Frankly, sometimes I wish they wouldn’t read it, or I wish that they didn’t know about it. But they do, so I have to deal with that.
I really like them as people and they teach me a lot about myself and how to get along in the workplace, so don’t get me wrong there. I’m only leery of the idea of them reading my more-serious entries because awhile back I learned an important lesson about mixing the personal and the professional, namely: don’t. If you’re feeling weak or sad about some personal thing, don’t let that show at work. If you just had a fight with your spouse, don’t tell your coworkers about it. If you feel insecure about something, showing that insecurity at work is a definite mistake. Not because your coworkers are ravenous vultures. They’re not! It’s only because the workplace and personal issues don’t mix well. Like water and oil. There’s just no room for it. Dealing with personal stuff doesn’t fit into the mission of whatever you’re trying to accomplish at work, and there’s something about the way the working world operates that will push you down quite quickly if you bring your personal baggage in there. It’s like a chemical reaction. I can’t explain it, but it’s real.
So the general difficulty I have here is that my coworkers now have the opportunity to read some very personal things about me (since I’m now going to be more in the habit of blogging about more personal things) and that is, essentially, bringing personal things into the workplace, isn’t it? So it’s like I’m violating my own rule. Well… we’ll see how it goes. I’ll risk it this once and hopefully stay afloat. If you work with me, you’re welcome to continue reading, but do me one favor and pretend like you didn’t. 🙂 I’m paranoid enough knowing that all my friends and relatives can see this. I just don’t need that thought going through my mind when it comes to work. I hope you understand.
OK, I think this is long enough, and if I try to put more in here, it’ll just take me another day, so I’m going to let this entry out to run around and breathe fresh bloggy air.