11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 11,12 NKJV)
For a long time I have struggled with avoiding a duality in my living an Orthodox life in the world. The concern of having a “Church me” and a “Work Me” (and no doubt several other me’s depending on atmospheric pressure and prevailing winds acting upon human frailty) has been more apparent since I became Orthodox in 2000 as I began to experience the Church as a way of life more than a place of visitation.
Then we add in some complexities. I travel quit a lot for work, particularly in the last 10 years or so working in Healthcare IT. This provides many blessings particularly around meeting people of different cultures and having great experiences. It also adds strain on relationships, health and most difficultly for me a focus on spiritual life. I am one who needs a routine, maybe the project manager gene coming to the front, but with the travel and work hours I find it easy to let that routine slip away – slips become excuses, excuses become habits lost etc.
I am also a Deacon in the Orthodox Church. This I have found a rewarding and intense lift in my spiritual life; the flipside however is it pushes the “Church Me” further to one side (good) exposing the other me’s to more challenge. The situation of travel and hectic work schedules also cause much mental conflict as I try to reconcile fulfilling this role with fulfilling the one at work. (OK, I must sound like a real candidate for therapy by now).
The starting quote and inspiration for the title of my blog has stuck in my mind for some time, another example of the scriptural wisdom to live “in but not of this world”. The quote describes much of the temptations I see day to day, the temptation to be drawn into political gossip in the workplace and the failure to turn the other cheek the most poignant.
With this blog I hope to share perhaps some learnings from this struggle in the event that someone out there is struggling too and can benefit. I can promise no wisdom (except perhaps some that I have found from the wise, and passed on) but an honest sharing.
For those of you with a similar struggles I hope this brings a perspective. For those without similar struggles, please email me the particular therapy you found successful.
In Christ, Deacon Andrew