For the first time in 11 years, I have a roommate again. Three months ago a good friend and co-worker moved in to my house. We had both been discussing for sometime about how we each had too much space for a single person. Her apartment was huge and my house is built for a family of more than one. Originally the plan was for me to sale my house and move into her apartment. We would share space, both save money and be in a flexible spot for whatever was next. I put my house on the market and waited. And waited. Nothing.
So we switched gears, she ended her lease and moved into my spare bedroom while I finished out the basement. Three months later, the basement is complete, she has her own space and all is well.
I was really nervous about having a roommate again. I’ve lived by myself for a long time. I rarely have to compromise with myself or tell myself to be quiet or pick up after myself. If I stay up late, I don’t have to worry about being quiet or if I want to sleep in, I’m very careful not to wake myself. Generally, I find myself to be a pretty good roommate and very accommodating with myself.
But would someone else feel that way?
When you room with someone, you notice little quirks or habits that are different from your own. Sometimes they are humorous, sometimes annoying. Because I’m narcissistic it makes me wonder – what are my quirks or habits? What little things do I do or say that I’m not aware that would irk a roommate? You could ask Leigh but I believe she is probably too polite to reveal them – even to me.
I can probably name some things – like sniffling or putting things off that I should do sooner or not emptying the dishwasher as soon as possible. But what other things do I do that I don’t see because I’m so familiar with myself?
Which makes me wonder about how I see God. For those of us who have been familiar with God for a long time, I believe it is so easy for us to assign some trait or personality to our image of God that we can no longer see that it is something we are placing on God rather than something that is actually God. If you’ve grown up with God, how do you not only see what you’ve transferred to God but then begin the work of peeling away those layers to the real God? And what if you are afraid that when you peel away the layers you might not like the God you find? I mean sometimes we make God in our own image and that image is something we are comfortable with, familiar with. Messing with that could make us, well, uncomfortable.
I’m counting on sharing space with someone to help me see things differently, to shed some new light on some patterns I’ve developed that perhaps have to be changed. That is why community is important. They hold up a mirror and help us see a different reflection of ourselves.
Christian community is important, too. They can hold a mirror up to our image of God and challenge what we’ve always assumed to be God but isn’t. So perhaps it is time we all share some more space with others so that we can grow personally and spiritually.
What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself from other people? Do you think we make God in our own image? If so, what are some of the issues and personalities that we attribute to God that really aren’t God?