I must admit that I have a fear of being found out. I try everything I can to hide my weaknesses, and many times I am very successful. I can do this as along as I do not have to get close to anyone. I can preserve an appearance of being completely the person that everyone wants me to be. I can smile, acknowledge that I am great, and keep moving forward.
The reality is that I do struggle and wish I had a better skill set in some areas than I do. For me, this is a major source of anxiety, the notion of being discovered. So to combat my feelings, I have learned to wear a mask. It always has a smiley face on it and gives the generic answer that everyone wants to hear from me. The thing is, the longer I wear the mask, the further I run from getting close to people.
I have just begun my fifth year as pastor of Rio Rancho United Methodist Church. Anyone that has been in one place for a while knows that there comes a time when the mask must fall away, and you must reveal you’re real self. That includes the strengths and the weaknesses. It is not an easy thing to do. It takes guts and absolute faith in God’s mercy.
We are all faced with the issue of sharing ourselves with each other. Taking a step in building trust is the only way that relationships can develop into something much greater than we ever could imagine. It is also the diving off point for intimacy. The reliance on faith is the uncomfortable part of being in a place for a long time. We grow together, relying on God’s incredible strength to mold us into the people for which the church can become.
True wholeness must include vulnerability, acknowledging that there are parts of us that need developing. If we can do the work together, we can become stronger. We can live bolder, and we can be richer in wisdom. Praise be to God, who calls us to live not just as surface level neighbors, but to join in the richness of relationship.