Imagine attempting to make the office your home–waking up in the morning on a couch in your office, already wearing your work clothes. You go to the restroom down the hall to rinse your face where you greet your coworkers who live there too. You make your way to the break room for coffee, read your motivational material for the day, and then eat yogurt, fruit, and granola from the refrigerator–staying fit in spirit and body. Before heading back to your office, you check the mirror to convince yourself that others will see you as ready for the day—prepped, onboard, all in, motivated. You tell yourself that you’re ready to perform so ‘they’ will keep you on the highest approval list that someone keeps somewhere.
Meaning and a paycheck
Then the workday starts. You get to perform the duties that give your life meaning and a paycheck. The meaning, you tell yourself, is making life better for others, especially your family. The paycheck is for taking care of the family and to be able to buy that thing you are going to get. Or perhaps you’re saving to get away someday when you’re not at the office so much. You will finally be able to spend the time you’ve always dreamed about with those people you did all this work for—including yourself. It’s all for them, after all.
The closest you get to expressing your own needs is when you expect ‘those’ people you are doing all this work for to appreciate you being gone all the time doing all this work for them. And when you dare to communicate this seemingly logical need, they look at you confused or ashamed because they don’t understand the sentence either, which just makes you stay at the office longer because that is where you matter—by not ever being your true self
The difference between the head and heart
Your head is like the office–the place where you figure things out, schedule, organize, take action, and interact with others with an intended result in mind. At the office, your performance dictates your position. It’s where your value is measured based on performance, and you hold your position if you continue to earn your place. Your heart is your home–the place where you hold your most private dreams, have inherent worth, and you can truly be your self. Consequently, you struggle mightily at home because love requires struggle and pain. You also struggle more at home than anywhere else because it is where you are completely known and vulnerable. It’s where your worth is a given and your presence is needed. Your office, your work, and your worth cannot be the same.
One thing that I know you and I are made to do is live fully in relationship. We are called to keep the covenant we make with the people we say we love. Covenant is a matter of the heart, not the head. The head can assist the heart, but not lead the heart in covenant. You will never say on your deathbed that you wished you had spent more time working at the office. You will wish that you had spent more of your life living out of your heart. Only people who know your heart will ever really know you and remember you. And they will remember how much you were or weren’t ‘there.’