The Fear of Being Known

One of the things that inevitably happens when you begin to make yourself known to others is that some people don’t like what they see. I don’t know about you, but I have always had a reluctance to share who I truly am for fear that when I really put it out there, “that big matsa ball” as they say on Seinfeld, people will flee in droves from the shocking truth. Fortunately, it’s not such a severe occurrence but nevertheless, there is some separation which happens when you start to share about yourself to more than your closest personal friends. Your close friends know who you are and accept you junk and all. People who know you less or are acquaintances seem much more ready to jump ship at signs of danger. Its a weird feeling, but I always have that little pang when I see my friend list number drop on facebook or feel like I have to unfriend someone. It seems stupid, but there is that self-doubt which comes to mind, “that person didn’t think I was important enough to stay in contact with.” I’m sure there are innumerable reasons for it and of course I probably deserve it a lot of the time but I can let it affect me if I’m not careful. Which probably ties in to the issue at hand, I care entirely too much what other people think of me. I can’t seem to help it. I feel like its important to be well liked or perceived as a good person even though I know I’m just a turd. There’s always that nagging voice in the back of your mind, “you know people wouldn’t REALLY like you if they knew how messed up you are.” It can seem so convincing and manages to keep us from really experiencing life, from putting ourselves out there. The reality though is that this thing that keeps us locked up inside ourselves for fear of judgment actually is a lie. It is true, some people won’t like you because of who you really are, but a lot of people will. More importantly, God cares for you and I, which in some ways trumps the whole deal. Its not about what I do but about who He is and what he offers us: full disclosure. I don’t have to fake it with God. He is well aware of my shortcomings and misdeeds, my sinful tendencies and my self-obsession. He offers me the supreme gift of making my sins known to Him, something I am always reluctant to do. No one wants to admit how messed up they really are and it seems even worse when God is the one you are spilling your guts to but the truth can be so freeing. Telling God everything frees us from the burden of sin we keep trying to manage. Its a weight of unremitting micro-management. It takes our focus off of what is really important in life and keeps us locked up inside ourselves. I, for one, am tired of it. I’m ready for a revolution in my soul. Time to be honest with God and get the hell out of this internal weigh station. Let’s break through the lines of the enemy and start a revolution in our hearts to make ourselves known. Hey, you never know, you might just make some new friends in the process.

Published in: on September 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Projecting an image of ourselves that we think will please others can get so tiring. And you’re right, it’s a lie. An exhausting lie.

    It reminds me of your post on atheism- just as our idolatrous versions of God need to die, maybe our misleading versions of ourselves should be sacrificed as well. Putting ourselves out there might make us vulnerable to rejection, but surely that’s better than being loved for the person you aren’t.

    This is good stuff. Thanks for posting it.

  2. Hi Steve,
    I still need to respond to your engaging comments to me under your other post, but I just wanted to encourage you to continually take the risk of being known by others, which sometimes involves: rejection, misunderstandings, and more. It’s quite the paradox! But overall, not much is worth more than having genuine relationships that transform one another for the better, through all kinds of seasons. Like you, I sometimes find it is difficult to manage the opinions of others, but at the same time, this represents what it means to be a social being in the world. That is, one who opens oneself up to the risk of relationships with others in order to create meaning and find ones true self; for this is truly what it means to grow emotionally, spiritually (for some), and intellectually. While the journey is painful at times, keep up the good self-reflective work. I know you will find more joy than disappointment by entering into the risky business of showing your true self because it is amazing how this approach to life tends to transform the self and others within reach in unimaginable ways.

  3. I have this experience too (minus the god part these days). Putting yourself out there is a double edged sword, for sure. I think it’s worth it in the end, but it can be rough. I really appreciate this post.

  4. I like you! Joshua

  5. Thanks for the encouraging words everyone. You all rock!

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