I and many of my friends and clients, struggle with compartmentalizing our lives. Different sections or worlds where we all exist simultaneously yet apart. “Struggle” seems to fit because it’s hard to keep our various worlds from colliding.
We’ve got our work life, our family life, our social life, our faith life and often with little overlap between our different lives. The compartments are not usually on purpose; it’s like they just happen. Or do they? Do the compartments just happen or do we actually create them without thinking about it?
I think I create the compartments without thinking about it.
I create the compartments because there are aspects of each that might not sit comfortably within the other worlds.
- I try not to bring work tension home with me so I carefully govern talking about my work with my family; it’s better I don’t burden anyone with my headaches.
- It’s important that I present a strong professional appearance for my clients and associates; I only share so much personally as it is work.
- My Faith is important to me but it’s also very personal; everyone has their own spiritually journey.
We’ve written about the value and importance of integrating the circles or compartments of your life before and the subject bubbled back up with a Bible study topic this week when we were in the book of Luke and discussing one particular parable.
“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore, take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”Luke 13: 16-18
Our conversation churned, turned and twisted about what Jesus is telling us in Luke’s account of the Parable of the Revealed Light and after some prayer on the subject, I wanted to share how it has settled for me.
The obvious: you can’t miss the call loud and clear to not put our faith in a compartment, out of plain view. Our Christian Faith is the light that should be “set upon a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.”
But what does this look like in our everyday lives? What does this look like in our work lives where preaching a sermonette in the lunch room may be seen as odd or off putting to a non-believer?
Note the second half of the first sentence of this parable; “that those who enter may see the light.” Where are they entering?
One thought, inspired by deep prayer and I am confident by the Holy Spirit, is they are entering our compartment, our circle. In the parable they enter your room. We can be open and inviting whereby many are likely to enter our room and see the light. We can also keep our rooms protected from too many visitors by maintaining really strong boundaries. The boundaries we construct to keep our lives compartmentalized and our circles from overlapping.
If someone is comfortable entering my room, my uncompartmentalized life in view, they will and should see the light of Christ in my life. I don’t have to preach, thump my Bible or do miraculous wonders. All I have to do is let them feel Christ’s love flow through me and the Holy Spirit does the rest.
By compartmentalizing our lives, we are keeping the light out of sight, covering the light with a vessel or placing it under a bed. The people who would otherwise see the Light of the World, only see our dark side, our selfish side. My apprehension or fear of opening up my life keeps people from entering my room where the lamp sits. I can be nice, cordial, full of decent conversation and super effective in the work place and take all the credit for the friendly, helpful, hard-working guy that I am. Where is God in that?
Or I can be all those things openly giving Glory to God, with the Light of Christ burning brightly for all who enter to see. The compartmentalized me will only accomplish so much as I’m doing it on my own. The Parable of Revealed Light tells me open up those boundaries and let it shine. The hard truth for me is that the people in my life who need to see the light, often can’t see the lamp stand because it’s in the other room.
The Holy Spirit has his sledge hammer out.
“Therefore, take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”Luke 13:18