He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” ~Adam in the Garden of Eden.
How you doing on your extended break? Everything good hopefully? Feeling okay about yourself? Or have you hit a rough patch or two when you look in the mirror these past few days?
Many people are beginning to feel disoriented and a bit bewildered. No, you probably don’t have coronavirus, but you could be developing an acute case of coronavirus frenzy.
The first couple of weeks seemed like a well-deserved vacation, resting up, catching up and enjoying time away from the hectic craziness of what seems now like another era entirely. Now, you aren’t sure what to do with yourself. And you may not even recognize yourself anymore.
Believe it or not, though, you are more you today than you were three weeks ago. And that’s a good thing!
Strip away the job, friends, even family, your church, your hair color — along with other identifying factors — and you take away the facade that you’ve created over many years likely.
What are you left with? You, just you. That’s actually a good thing, and you shouldn’t be ashamed or go off and hide like Adam. But you are pretty stripped down right now, and it leaves you a pretty crude picture of what other people see.
So how does it feel to be naked?
Sure, you can put up that facade and you do a pretty good job at it, controlling what other people see about you. But don’t worry, they do the same thing too. To some extent, we all build up walls, create boundaries and draw lines in the sand that we don’t allow anyone to cross.
Be yourself–not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.Henry David Thoreau
But let’s get back to you. Part of those walls, boundaries and lines in the sand were actually created by the world around you, telling you how you should be, act and relate.
As we build up those walls or facades, we become someone different than who we were created to be. We add layer upon layer, creating an image that changes our personality, our dreams, and even our complete identity.
You see, what you do is not who you are. Who you are should lead to what you do, both in your job, your ministry at church, where and how you volunteer and how you interact with family and friends.
Now that the “what you do” part of your life has been placed on a long hold, the fluff and bluff are gone and you’re left with the bare buff facts, what do you think? If you’re struggling with what’s left, you’ve probably lost your identity. The identity that was wrapped around your job or career, your daily activities, your hair color or length, your church, kids’ soccer games or something else.
The real you is your character, your personality, your ability to connect with others, your authenticity, your feelings, your preferences, your convictions. That’s you, not what you do in life, the car your drive, the house you live in, or the role/lack of role you have in the church, at the soccer field or your station in life generally.
Take a look in the mirror. What you’re feeling now, who you’re seeing now is you. YOU! The real YOU!
I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.Chuck Swindoll.
What do you think? How does it feel to be naked? It can be pretty shocking. Shocking in the sense that you’re used to seeing you with all the paraphernalia (e.g. job, status, etc).
Take inventory, because there is not a better time to adjust and change course. Your life has run aground, at least for a few more weeks, so take advantage of the dry dock and make repairs, strengthen those areas that have weakened and upgrade where necessary.
How, you say? Glad you asked, here’s a few ideas.
- Get quiet. Yes, get somewhere out of earshot of everyone and everything. Put your phone, your computer away and turn of the TV. You can answer those texts and emails later and, be assured that there will be re-runs of whatever it is you miss on TV.
- After several minutes of quiet, start to take inventory of the things you’ve seen about yourself in recent days/weeks. The good, and the bad. Write them down. Remember, these aren’t things like your job, your car, your house, your finances. They should include things like “friendliness”, “good father/mother” or “I stink as a spouse” etc. If you’re having trouble with your list, ask this question: What would my spouse/kids/best friend write here?
- After you’ve completed your list, review each item one by one and ask yourself: Is this the real me? Am I good with this? Can I make this better?
- Later, you’ll want to develop an action plan. In other words, a road map to becoming the best you that you want to be. How do I get there from here? Who can help me? Which one of these areas do I tackle first?
For some, it may be a tweak here or tweak there. For others it may be a large-scale remodel or even a complete overhaul. But start now, while you understand the feeling of being naked, without the job, status symbols and other enticements of your life that were real just a few weeks ago.
When you make your post-coronavirus return, you’ll be more you than when you when into forced exile. It’s important to be the real you. Will everyone like it? Probably not, but that’s okay too.
Be you, everyone else is taken. And, besides, if you aren’t you, the world will miss out on the original you were born to be!