This past week I have been reflecting on an interesting interaction I had. I was meeting a couple of friends to go see a concert, and there was a fourth person coming whom I didn't know. But when he showed up and was introduced to me, he said, "oh yeah, I know Rebecca."
I think I had seen him before at Quest, but I know I had never been introduced to him or had a conversation with him. We all had a fun time that night, but I couldn't help thinking about that statement and how revealing it was.
What does it mean to really be known? Pastor Eugene was speaking on the story of Ananias and Sapphira again this week and talking about how we as people want to be seen and known and praised. We want recognition. We desire acclaim. I agree that we all too often desire glory for ourselves more than we desire glory for God. But I also know that for myself, there is something deeper than this desire for praise: the desire to be truly known.
See, when I thought about that statement that my new friend made on Monday, I realized that too many people know of me, but not many people really know me. They know my name, but they don't know who I am.
It's one of the great struggles for me with being in leadership at church. I'm up on stage a lot, my email is in the bulletin as a contact, my name is listed in the annual meeting packet under "Ministry Leader" and "Community Group Leader". But while I am called to those roles right now, and I try to be fully myself as I serve in those capacities, I know that people do not always see me behind the leader role.
People who see me running the Life Together ministry don't know that I had a panic attack at the very first Life Together event I ever went to. I have social anxiety and sometimes panic in large groups. So while people think that I am this super outgoing gal, I sometimes find talking to strangers the hardest thing in the entire world.
Speaking of panic attacks, I think I had one the first time I led worship by myself. That would explain why I was shaking on stage. Don't get me wrong, I love worship, I love singing and leading people into God's presence, but sometimes I am so nervous, so scared, when Matt or Erik or George turns to me and says, "hey, would you lead this song?" No, no I don't want to lead the song. You lead the song!
I know I am called to be a worship leader, but it might be a long time before I get over that fear.
I don't share these things to say oh look at me the poor pitiful scared girl. There are other things I want people to know too: that I love to be silly and sing songs really loudly while driving my car, that I love Mel Brooks movies, that Italy is on the top of my list of places to see. Oh, lots of things. But Eugene made the point that we need to be honest about our weaknesses and be intentional in our relationships. For so many years I hid my insecurities behind false personas and manufactured confidence, and I don't want to do that anymore. I want to be fully myself, but I don't always know how. How do you balance the need to be a confident leader who is not always swayed by emotions with the need to be honest and vulnerable?
Growing up I wasn't very popular, so I was pretty closed off from people. Nowadays I have more friends than I have ever had in my life, but I realize that I need to work on depth in those relationships. To be truly Christ-honoring in my relationships, I need to learn to be truly myself, for He made me the way I am because He has purposes for me to fulfill. But it is not an easy thing to learn. Too often the lingering fear and doubt remain, the little voice that says, if they really knew you, then they would reject you, just like all the rest. I can say that I don't believe that voice, but all too often the fear affects my actions.
Perhaps the greatest thing about God is that He is the only one who has searched me and known me, and the only one who truly loves me for all that I am. And it is that which gives me hope that I can learn to be fully myself, as I seek Him and live in His joy and peace.
So this is the great goal of my life:
to be fully known
and to be loved
in the depth of that knowledge.