One of the blogs I frequently write for allows me to use an alias. My alias keeps me from having to use my real name, which keeps people from knowing who’s really doing the writing: It allows me to be anonymous. I have come to understand that the undercover, 'anonymous me' is the real me. More real than the 'me' suggested by my name, title, and/or calling. More real even, than the ‘me’ people know or perceive me to be.
My 'anonymous me' is really who I am. It's actions and words reveal what's deep in my heart--buried from the eye of public scrutiny and discourse. My 'anonymous me' does and says what it wants because it has no fear of being found out and/or found false. Just about all of us have an 'anonymous me'.
The 'anonymous me' in us is the part of us that comes out to play when no one else is watching. Anonymous Me is a loner who is imprisoned in the presence of people. The 'anonymous me' is that part of us that's comfortable without company and prefers to work alone. Bashful in public--brash in private. Unassuming in the light--unkind and unrestrained in the dark. The 'anonymous me' is the one inside of many men--pastors and preachers included-who secretly visits the internet to scan porn sites. It's the part of some women that answers the phone and opens the door when the kids and the neighbors have counted sheep and fallen asleep. The 'anonymous me' is that part of us no one knows exists because he stays in the basement of our being until the coast is clear. It is only then that 'anonymous me' comes out--doing and saying what no one would suspect.
The 'anonymous me' doesn't always behave badly. Sometimes it engages in innocent, harmless activities. For example, it is the 'anonymous me' in a man that secretly sends flowers to a woman he is attracted to but is too timid to tell. It's the 'anonymous me' in a woman that puts an unsigned card on the windshield of a man's car because she's afraid of being thought too forward. It's the 'anonymous me' in us that calls just to hear someone's voice on the other end of the phone, carefully keeping quiet while they say, "Hello...Hello...Helloooo!”
While the 'anonymous me' in us is not necessarily, or always bad, it is always unknown and prone to take advantage of that fact. A part of growing spiritually is getting to the place where our, not-so-nice 'anonymous me' lives the same way our 'public me' does. It's arriving at the place where we wouldn't say or do anything privately that we wouldn't say or do publicly. It's the things we say or do privately but not publicly that God wants to change about us. I know this because I was recently arrested, questioned, charged and convicted by the Holy Spirit for the words and tone of my 'anonymous me' while blogging. I wasn't engaged in sexually explicit conversations. Neither was I going on profanity-laced tirades and cursing people out. But I was guilty of sometimes being too sharp of tongue when it came to debating social issues or defending the Bible and my spiritual beliefs. I don't think it would be considered sinful, but I'm certain that it wouldn't be considered edifying either.
After my arrest, I understood that it was the 'anonymous me' at work. I knew this because I didn't want how and what I spoke in private to be made public. I would have written things much differently had I thought people who knew me would be reading it. But I praise God for arresting me and convicting me. I also thank Him for sentencing me to change - for life!
After acknowledging the wrong of my 'anonymous me' and pleading guilty, I noticed right away that my tone, expressions, and responses under the same hostile circumstances changed. I was shocked. I thought for a moment, "Wait-a-minute! Who be this?! And why is he responding so nicely to people who are speaking so rudely to him?!" It was at that moment I realized that 'anonymous me' had begun to act like the one I make known to others. I was no longer responding under the guise of being unknown--thinking, "I can say this because no one knows it's me saying it." Instead, I was responding as if the whole world knew exactly who was speaking. And you know what? It felt pretty good! It felt good because I didn't feel guilty. It felt good because I didn't have anything to be ashamed of or to apologize for. It felt good because, just-like-that, I had grown.
I only wish I had remembered sooner that it's not about who knows or doesn't know about the ways of 'anonymous me'. It's only about what God knows. All the while 'anonymous me' thought he was in anonymous mode, he wasn't. God knew everything.
What about you? Do you have an 'anonymous me'? Are there some things you say or do that you wouldn't say or do if everyone knew it was you? My new aim is to be the 'public me' in private; not doing or saying anything privately that I wouldn't do or say publicly. Doing nothing on Earth, that would shame me in Heaven!
Will you join me in a commitment to crucify the 'anonymous me'? That part of us, that's not good for us? Doing so, knowing that nothing is anonymous with God but all things are naked and exposed before His eyes. The eyes we seek to find favor in. The eyes we seek to be found faithful and pleasing in.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. (Psalm 28:13)
K. Sheldon Bailey is a former senior pastor of 11 years who ministers the Word of God throughout the world. He has been involved in ministry to men for nearly 25 years in the capacity of Sunday School teaching, jail ministry, men's fellowship, conferences, and personal counseling. He is also the author of the book, "Trouble: What Every Christian Should Know About Trials, Tribulations and Troublesome Times."