Wednesday, December 28, 2016

for when you think you are not known

You sit, wondering, do they notice me, notice my presence, notice my smiles, notice my tears.  Amidst the conversation, the fellowship, the friendship, am I that forgettable, that invisible, that insignificant.  In the world so big and wide it is that which glitters that gets the awe and attention.  The golden chalice draws the eye while the humble clay cup dutifully serves day after day.  If the squeaky wheel gets the grease, what do all the other wheels get...

Lest anyone reading become worried, no I am not, Praise God, currently in the depths of despair so while kind words and encouragement are never turned away and always treasured more than the giver can imagine there is not a sudden need to be boosted up out of the pit.  However courage of Spirit does allow me to admit that this is not an unfamiliar feeling from the past and will be recognized again in the future and experience has taught me that more than a few instantly recognize and empathize with the feelings.

New surroundings can bring about the oldest of memories.  That which has never been truly confronted, hurts that have never completely healed, or even pains thoroughly prayed over, dealt with and moved past can be plunked upon your door step once again tempting you to open them up and set them upon your shelves when the senses begin whirling trying to make the unfamiliar places your body resides in familiar places for your mind to understand.

As easy as it is to succumb to these feelings of insecurity, of vulnerability, it is also just as easy to push them down away from the surface of completely tangible.  Pressing them just far enough to the point where they are barely covered by whatever you have chosen to hide them from visibility.  It can be found laughable the way in which the human heart tries to readjust the negative things we feel.  Those with the introverted tendencies I know so well turn into themselves even more attempting to swallow themselves whole in hopes that no one will notice them even though being noticed is what their heart cries out for.  In their equally as confusing but completely opposite way, the extrovert becomes more extroverted drawing attention to themselves in an effort to confuse and keep your eyes on the parts of them they seek to show so that the other ones will hopefully go unnoticed.  Misdirection on both accounts.

As always, it is the speaking it into existence, the bringing it into the light that causes the fog to lift, the dust to blow away, and clarity to begin to form.  Darkness never gives a true story.  Light is the only thing that shows Truth.

The Truth is we all want to be noticed, all want to be known and all fear them both as well.

Years ago in the car the other half of my heart who has vowed to love me forever, and I him in return regardless of life's curveballs and our own sinful stupidity, played me a song on the tail end of our biggest struggle to date.  That song, Josh Wilson's song titled One Safe Soul, beautifully simplifies this oxymoronic struggle within our human hearts.

Man's greatest fear is being alone,
And his second greatest is being known,
But if you are both known and loved,
You've got nothing to be scared of

We don't want to be alone because we feel rejected but we don't want to be fully know because we fear rejection.  It's being both known and then loved that gives our hearts the ability to soar.

Tim Keller puts it another way and then adds in the key component for all aspects of life, the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, makes all the other pieces make the sense the were designed to make.
"To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial.  To be known and not loved is our greatest fear.  But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God.  It is what we need more than anything.  It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us." 

This desire of our heart, this desire to be noticed, sought after, recognized, known is our soul crying out for something to fill a void only able to be filled by our Creator.

Thank you for the people placed in our lives who know us well and love us despite their knowledge.  They are an extended grace of which we are so undeserving.  But to place all hopes on them, to place upon them the burden of keeping you upright, to sit and seek out only the love of others to keep your spirits up and your Spirit well, will leave you alone and unknown more than any heart needs or desires.  

We will each find ourselves around a bend we on our own would have never journeyed toward.  A path on our own we would have never trodden.  A corner turned because the way in which we wanted to go, the planned route we never assumed would go anywhere but straight, was blocked forcing a new direction.  The unfamiliar will come up without a familiar face around in which to hold a gaze unless you know and understand One who knows and loves you,  who has known and loved you, since before time began.

In countless places, with countless personalities, amidst countless individual situations we sit wondering, do they noticed me, notice my presence, notice my smiles, notice my tears assuming the answer is no.  Sometimes it will be, sometimes by the other struggling souls around you the answer will most definitely be no, you are not noticed by them, but always, always you are noticed.

Because O Lord, you have searched me and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise up;  you discern my thoughts from afar.  You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.  You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.  Psalm 139:1-6 ESV

With the end of the year coming, with the analyzing of the past year's events and the desires of the new year ahead, I pray we see all the ways we were known and loved, yes by each other because we are the hands and feet of Christ here on this earth, but mostly by our Father who, no matter the paths we each took or were taken on this year, loves and knows us and always has and always will.

Pray for me as I seek to make that my focus and reflection, I'll be praying for you.

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