Today, I am wrapping up a pretty significant role I have played in our church for the last year. In so many ways, I am extremely glad that it is finally over. I never knew how even more isolating it can be a public leadership figure in the church. Every time I was in the church, people would approach me and act as though they knew me simply because they saw me on stage or in the video announcements. Being in a position where everyone knows your name but truly does not know a thing about you, put me in a new state of loneliness. It is almost better to be able to walk in and out of church without anyone noticing you. Instead, I had to maintain a persona, engage in the small talk, extend myself to the brink of exhaustion, only to go home to the demons that awaited me.
I wonder what everyone would have thought if they knew who I truly was and what I struggled with? If they knew about my regular failures and sins. The last few months have shown me a side of the church that was new to me, and I didn’t like it. It revealed an unfortunate reality that even for those who are connected, rarely is anyone honest or genuine. I seldom experienced vulnerability or honesty. The church had to be a business in so many ways that those in leadership or on staff really had no one ensuring that their Christian walk was healthy. Even more so, in order instill trust with the congregation, everything had to be planned and thought through. There was so much strategy involved in communication that by the end, it seemed more like propaganda than meaningful updates.
I recognize that all of this is a necessary component to keeping a larger church going. Not everyone needs to know everything and in addition, there is far too little grace shown from the congregation to the church staff. Still, it made me hurt inside to see yet another environment that I could not step into if I revealed my true self. I just don’t understand if there ever will be a time and place where I can belong to the body of Christ, without the layers I hide behind.