Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown
This is going to be a two part series. Part 1 is from other people’s thoughts and then part 2 will be next week with my own thoughts.
Funny, I had been planning for a few weeks to write a blog post on this subject. Then we had a guest preacher on Sunday which can be hit or miss depending on the subject matter and/or style of teaching. This week it turned out to be a hit because the sermon ended up being almost exactly what I was going to write on. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE GOD.
I’ve paraphrased the sermon here, so not direct quotes but pretty much the gist of what I got out of it.
We’ve all got troubles. But we don’t like letting other people know that we do.
Ephesians 6:10-17 talks about putting on the armor of God so, among the things you will defend yourself against are flaming arrows. These arrows show us our shame, remind us of our secrets, and whispers the lie that God could never love you.
The power of this lie is that it plays on our deepest fear, which is that we want someone to KNOW us, the REAL us and not the person that we pretend to be on a job interview. We want to allow them to see the skeletons that are in the closet but also want that same person to love us.
We’re so afraid that the dream can’t come. That if someone actually knew the real us, saw behind the mask, before the makeup that they would walk away. Our fear is to be known and be rejected. And when those things that we fear keep us from being loved and they are held in front of my face, we believe every bad thing about us.
We try to defend ourselves by putting out a version of ourselves that we think is lovable. We take all the real stuff and put up yellow caution tape and say keep out. We put up the good stuff on Facebook because what will happen if others see all the other stuff? They’ll walk away.
“When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative”. Chris Rock
We only show the version of us that we think others might love. We only get out the stuff that we think is worthy of love.
What if someone saw behind the mask? What would someone say if they really know us?
Satan shows you your sin and tells you God doesn’t love you. God shows you His Son and says “Oh yes I do.”
A friend of mine wrote a comment in a Facebook group we’re in and gave me permission to share parts of it here. I feel like it pretty much summarizes what the message on Sunday was saying but with a personal touch.
I stopped dating when I was 19 and didn’t go on another date until I was 23 ( I think?). Guys. Never. Asked. Me. Out. I went on about it kind of ad nauseam on the blog back in the day, and everyone had a reason for it that read kind of like these articles. I was too “picky”, I was too “contentious”, I was too “masculine”, I was too chubby and didn’t care for my physical appearance enough to attract a man. All the guys I knew were *right* not to ask me out because I was, apparently, at 23, a hateful spiteful disgusting hag.
The gross thing is, I *believed* them. I believed it was my fault that no one wanted to go out with me and that the responsibility for it rested squarely on my shoulders. If I were more spiritual, or more beautiful, or less opinionated guys would be into what I was selling.
Between 23 and 25 I began to start rejecting the “theology” that had kept me single for so long. I started Online dating and saying yes to everyone, and I went on a lot of dates with a lot of disappointing men. No, not “they have a blue collar job and that’s beneath me” disappointing. “I can’t carry a conversation” disappointing, “I have no real life plans” disappointing, “I figured it was about time for me to stop being an irresponsible playboy and settle down” disappointing. I thought that these kinds of guys would be the only ones who could ever possibly like or be interested in someone like me, because the message I heard constantly and internalized was “You’re not good enough.” I was beyond settling, I thought I needed to find someone out there who was willing to settle *for* me. “You’re not good enough” resonated with me because it was something that I had internalized a LOT as a bullied child and a young adult who just never felt she could chin up on the adequacy bar. No matter what I did, I always felt like people around me were disappointed. That was baggage I carried into my relationships.
After a four month relationship with “I didn’t finish high school and am dangerously emotionally attached to my mother” disappointing, I started to suspect that there was a common denominator in the kinds of guys who asked me out. — They were guys who wanted to date the kind of woman I was trying to sell myself as. The idyllic quiet, unassuming, unquestioning sweet gentle good Christian girl I was trying to learn to be. They wanted someone who was going to mother them, care for them, make them happy and solve all their problems. The Conservative church had taught me that I was supposed to be a problem solver. My role was to be a “helpmeet” and if I couldn’t live up to whatever that entailed for whatever specific man I was supporting, then I was a failure as a woman. I finally had to come face to face with reality: I could never be that woman.
Thankfully, I had been becoming involved in a less conservative church over the years, with women who reeducated me in who I was. I was loved regardless of my doing, and that my ideas were not less worthy simply because they originated in my female mind. These strong women of faith retaught me to trust my own discernment when it came to seeking out God’s plan for my life. I came out of that season and I began to get a different perspective on dating: What if — instead of waiting on guys who didn’t ask me out to take me on a date, or accepting whatever crumbs might fall off that fundamentalist table — I began to date the kinds of guys *I* wanted to marry? Decent guys with good life plans who shared my goals and interests. So I began to consciously seek those guys out. I worked hard to surround myself not with guys who talked a good “spiritualized” game, but with guys who were engaged in their careers, who set goals for themselves, and who had hobbies and interests beyond impressing people with big talk and being seen at Church and friend events.
All this to say, sometimes we put too much emphasis on the asking. At the end of the day, in any marriage, you both have to learn to make decisions together, as a couple. If you know what you want out of a relationship and you see those qualities in another person, then run after that! There is no biblical mandate that says you can’t. Don’t internalize the story that you are only worth what washes up on the beaches of your life, or you might end up with a bunch of six pack rings and some kelp and a lot of time on your hands.
Well said. Probably better than what I’ll be saying next week, but I’ll still give it a shot.