To be known…

May 19, 2010 at 11:16 am (God, Insufficiency of Man, Missional Living, Sovereignty of God, The Gospel)

Community is something I crave, and something all believers have been called to.  I absolutely agree with Dietrich Bonhoeffer as he says: “Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belaying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ.”  And also when he says “Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.  Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray.  You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ.  If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you.”  Without any reservations, I know this is the way the believer will find the most joy in the life and in their walk with the Lord.  However, a few months ago, I discovered that I was an introvert and that’s when things got confusing.

Up until September of 2009, I was living life as an extroverted person.  In September, when my world was shaken and everything that I thought I knew about myself and my walk with the Lord was questioned, I began to discover things about myself.  I discovered that 2 of my top 3 strengths were intellectualism and input, which basically means that I am a dork and I love to read and study.  From this discovery on, and still continuing today, I am discovering things about myself that I never realized before.  Not really new discoveries, but I am realizing that it is ok for me to be a certain way, that I don’t HAVE to make myself one way just because I think a person in youth ministry HAS to be a certain way.

In relation to community, up until September, I had been a part of a small group through my church for almost 4 years.  This group has changed, has grown, has divided, has grown again and in September, was up to almost 25 people and still growing.  Not really a small group by any means.  I never quite felt like I fit in with this group, I never felt really known and understood in the depths of my core, even though I had known these people for almost 4 years.  I just wanted to be known.  I wanted someone to ask how I was doing, I wanted to be authentic with someone, but no one ever asked.  I am a horribly depraved human being who puts on a wonderful facade of “everything being ok.”  I just wanted someone to notice my facade and call me out, but it never happened.  So, I continued living in the facade of “i am in ministry and have a degree from seminary so I am walking solidly with the Lord” and just the facade of mental and emotion well-being of “yes, i am all put together and loving life.”  When in fact none of that was true.  So, when my world shattered in September, I pulled back.  I lost trust in everyone and pulled back emotionally and socially.  I was alone and overwhelmed by the inner monologue running endlessly through my head.

So, in my discoveries of being an introvert, I realized that introverts rarely feel known and connected in large groups of people, and would rather be in a group of 3 or 4.  Less width, but more depth.  So I quickly shrank my circle of deep friends.  I pulled back emotionally from everyone in our group, besides 2 people.  I still love them, still want to hang out socially with them, but realized, trying to give myself to that group was more draining than beneficial, and I desperately needed help.

So today, I have 4 girls that I consider deep solid friendships – friends that the Lord has blessed me with and that I love so very much.  2  are in ministry themselves, 1 in school, 1 working..all different stages of life.  I love this, I love how the Lord uses them to teach me and show me new things about me and about Him.  But still….I find myself back to the same thoughts I had in our big “small” group – I want to be known. I often think of Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together and his caution above that I often remember – Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.  What is alone and what is real community?  Often, I am in a group of friends and having fun but still feel alone, because I am not really known.  The facades I put up hide too much.  Is my community of 4 real community.  We never all are together, these are 4 girls in different parts of my life.  So, is that real community, or not because I am not really known?

I want someone to know my struggles, know what I have been through, know my daily/sometimes hourly fights.  I don’t want to be fake, I want to lose the facade, I want the deep inner yearnings of my soul to come out.  I want to be authentic, but I don’t want to volunteer this information without someone wanting to hear it.  So, if your reading this, ask someone.  Ask a friend how they are doing, how they are really doing.  Ask like you truly care about them.  Ask how their soul feels.  Who Jesus is to them today?  And if you know me, ask me.  Ask me what is really going on under the facades I wear.  I want to be real.

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1 Comment

  1. rebecca said,

    I love this!! consider the question always open. i always want to know you….the real you!!!

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