I had kind of a weird experience today. For a bunch of logistical reasons, today was the day that I made a facebook page for the blog. It’s not a huge big deal. It’s a facebook page. But I had to pick what kind of page it was, what kind of work I do.
So there’s a facebook page that proudly says “Robin D Chapman|Writer.”
This isn’t even really about that. The thing is, it’s really uncomfortable to assign myself the title of “writer.” Why is that so hard? This is part of who I am. It’s a thing God’s given me that makes me come alive. That’s a good thing. But throwing it out there as part of my identity feels…
That’s what that is.
I think (and I could be wrong- I’m coming up with this on the fly) that perhaps the more core something is, the harder it may be to identify yourself that way.
I’m a mom. That’s my job description. But at the core of me? I nurture souls. I teach my babies how to be people. It’s somehow by the grace of God and in His strength, my job to lead them in following Him. All of that? Much scarier and more intimidating than “Mom.” I mean, you could argue that it’s contained in the word “mom,” but I’m not convinced that’s true. There are a lot of people who are moms that don’t necessarily have that set of things as goals.
When I state the core part of my “mom” job, it opens me-the core of me-up to scrutiny. “Mom” means so many things. For the most part, it seems to imply an endless list of practical tasks. If you imply that I’m doing a crappy job as a mom, it stings, but I can shrug it off as a difference of values. Maybe your criticism comes from the fact that your values for parenting are different than mine. But if I actually lay out those values, well… then I’m accountable to them.
Likewise, I can say I’m Andrew’s wife, and that can mean the most mundane things. Owning the values of respecting him, supporting him, loving him, helping him become the person God made him to be? Even just typing it makes me cringe a little. Not that those values are so unusual, necessarily, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of people are explicit about them.
And when I say I have a blog, that’s fine. When I say I’m a writer? That opens up a little corner of my soul, possibly for public comment.
When I say I am a Christian, I am identifying with a big group of people with a variety of beliefs and practices. When I say I’m a sinner saved by grace, trying (often failing) to obey God and be who He made me… well, some of you are nodding along, because we share values. But there’s a set of you reading who are kind of writing me off as a weirdo. My church attendance, you could handle. But when I start talking about truly believing it and trying to live it as who I am? Weird. And I don’t really want you to think I’m weird, and it feels awkward to just say it.
Talking about what we do is easy. Talking about who we are is terrifying.
Talking about what we do is safe.
Sharing who we are is… well… not. But that’s how authenticity is. Let’s do that.
This post is part of the write31days challenge… I’m trying to post every day in October. The rest of the posts can be found here.