I have a new obsession and frankly it is tearing me up at work –

Microsoft Word’s Grammatical Check

I am not speaking of the standard check. I am talking about the version that checks passive voice tense, first person usage and “wordiness”. This version is eating me up as I apparently use passive voice all the time (and will throughout this post).

I work hard to make sure my emails at work are clear, concise and thoughtful. I want people to read my emails and think – here is a guy that is smart and well educated….I like him.

So this confession really brings me to the point of this post – I want people to think I am smart. I spend more time than I care to admit making sure I come across as smart. I wear the right clothing (sometimes), I listen to intelligent music (sometimes), read books (sometimes), see films (sometimes) and generally try to expand my mind. Is it because I am interested in these things? Yes, I only read books that interest me, but in same ways I do these things to keep up appearances.

Growing up I was what you could call “nerdy”. Yes I know that may come as no surprise to you, but it just feels good to say it, ok? There are two kinds of nerds – smart ones and dumb ones. I quickly found that I’d rather be in the smart nerd pecking order than the dumb nerd line. I found if I used big words and read books, I could then judge another group and be found superior.

This path brought me to today – I still want to be seen as superior. My brother in law says I am a snob and yes, he’s mostly right. I am a self aware snob though – and I hide that self awareness under layers of indie music and Wes Anderson films.

It is interesting that I/we spend so much time worrying about how other people view us. Those of us seeking after Christ are already freed from the world, yet we keep getting dragged back into its dramas and messes. How does one avoid all this?

For me – finding a wife that loves me with all my quirks has made a difference. I would like to think that I am easier to be around now than I was five and ten years ago. That my self awareness is paying off. That perhaps my desire to be seen as smart isn’t so overpowering that I come across as fake or a jerk. Also seeking God – seeking his truths makes a difference. When I seek him and see the world as he does, my perspective is changed. The weight I put on my own reputation is lowered as I am not bound to this world. I’m freed. I’ve passed from death to life.

Am I going to stop listening to Dylan and reading? No. If you give over to those things eventually you grow a taste and you cannot go back. It is like the wine drinker – drink enough good wine and you lose the taste for the cheaper wine. What all this means is that I should not use it as a tool to judge others. Nor should I expect people to look upon me favorably because of it

This thought process is so tough and frankly this whole post is a half thought as I am still sorting through my own makeup.