Monday, May 19, 2014

Social Norms

He not only felt a fraud as a lawyer, but in himself. He felt like a phoney husband, an artificial father, and a fraudulent worshiper in his parish church. 

He had memorized a schematic for living but felt a fraud because he was a facade; there was suppression of the person in favor of accommodation to social norms.  Patient of psychoanalyst Neville Symington

This man was not authentic. His exterior and interior were not aligned. He put on the required masks to play the part for the different scenes in his life. He suppressed his internal nature to satisfy what he thought others expected of him, the social norm.

How can we be authentic in our lives?
I think we can start by looking at our choices, having the courage to change so we can know who we are and accept the challenge to live these choices and make the necessary changes every moment of every day.

I love big faced watches. The largest face watch I could find is the Fossil brand. I bought their products for years! A friend invited me to go shopping at Michael Kors where she had a hefty 50% discount card. I am not a fashionista by any means but I love to save money so 50% off was I high motivator for me.

I found a pocketbook I liked and I spotted a bunch of HUGE faced watches which I assumed were for men. I asked the sales person if they had the same watches for women. She said they are unisex watches.

I could have been buying men's watches all these years! It took a brilliant designer to tell me it is okay to wear a man's watch!

Do you see how society influences us? And it is very subtle.
We have so many choices to make it often feels overwhelming. 

The most important choice for our lives is whether we believe God exists. Is God alive in our life? How do we know? How can others know?

I have been full circle with this topic several times in my life. It requires daily sometimes moment to moment vigilance. Especially with all of the distractions and challenges we face all day long.

I am reading the diary of Saint Maria Faustina and she had many struggles with her faith. A Saint! I am glad I have her diary to explore and use as support.  

And it deepens my fascination of the Catholic tradition's depth and breadth in its offerings.

The Saints
Daily Mass - and all of the components within the mass - fascinating!
Daily Communion
Holy Hour /Adoration
Holy Spirit
Various prayers
Various ways to pray

When you realize, like I did, that we are being fooled by society's norms, check out any one of the offerings of Catholic church.

Generally when a recruiter calls because they see we are looking to hire I do not answer the phone. We do not use external hiring firms to find talent so I figure it is a waste of both of our time to have a conversation.

This time I picked up the phone and explained how our operation works. We decided to meet to discuss the recruiter's company and make a connection.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
—Colossians 3:23

This scripture is the basis for making this change in my attitude and thought process. It grounds me in knowing who I am and who I work for. A great way to compliment God and thank Him for all he does is to welcome one of His own.

Is there a place in our life where we are not working with all of our heart for the Lord? Working on this question will help us know if we are living authentically.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
—John 15:5

The last part of this scripture is a challenge for me. 
What do you mean I can do nothing? I am doing something EVERYDAY! And sometimes that something has too many things in it and leaves me exhausted!  

Ok, let's start with Jesus because He is telling us to do that in the scripture.
The vine is how the nutrients get to the branches. It is the source. Jesus is telling us that He is the source of all things. He is in all things. There is no exception to this. He is the beginning and the end. We start with Him (our birth date) and we return to Him (our death date). What is in between? All the somethings we have been doing which in His eyes may be us doing nothing.

Then what am I to do? I gotta do something, right?

Start each day with gratitude that there is a day, our eyes open, our heart and lungs function, we got another shot at living for today. 

Ask God how to spend the moments that unfold, each one a gift after gift.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
—Psalm 105:4

Society offers a lot of really interesting and fun things to do. Will these things help us return to God while we are alive and especially when we die?

Our lives are not purposed to conform to society norms. We are here to walk with God, hand in hand through the obstacles society (we built) provides so that we return to Him in the end.

Below is from an APP called Jesus calling. I read it at the start of the day and when I feel off course throughout the day. I hope you find it as helpful as I do.

Jesus Calling April 1
I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me. Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.

Talk with Me about every aspect of your day, including your feelings. Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with Me. A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead, ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment. He will keep you close to Me.

Pray continually.
—1 Thessalonians 5:17

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
—Proverbs 3:6