Self. What a powerful word. My dictionary defines it as “the identity, character, or essential qualities of any person or thing.” Please notice the “s” on the word “qualities.”

Individual. Another powerful word. Have you ever noticed what’s in the middle of that word? This word means “not divisible; not separable.”

How might people feel when we ask them to divide themselves? Unaccepted. Fearful. Unsure. Disgusted. Lonely. Confused. Judged. Unwanted. Angry.

Too often, we want one quality of someone, but not another. We wish they’d leave a part of themselves at home when they come to church. When they come to school. When they come to dinner.

Think about it. What do we believe and what do we do that causes people to feel divided? Split? Not totally okay? Like only one of their qualities is acceptable here?

Could this be related to the stress and pain we’re seeing around us? Yes. Is it one of the reasons we must offer hope to people? Yes.

How can we be more accepting? Inclusive? Welcoming? You’re the only one who knows what it would take for you.

Why should we be? Because lives depend on it.

Following are the words, thoughts, emotions, and desires from my friend, Jill R. I pray they get you thinking as they did for me. Repent and pray, if that’s appropriate. It was for me.

All of Me

I am complex.
A walking dichotomy.
Lonely yet content.
Questioning yet sure.
Hurting yet healed.
Wise yet foolish.
A bundle of self-conscious confidence.
There is often little room in the community of faith for the whole reality of a person.
A rush to label,
To define,
To fix,
Or ignore,
What appears to contradict.
In or out.
Right or wrong.

No room to be.