[The blog post is part of a series based on a course called Satisfed]
Here’s what I wrote in my journal today:
I feel a twinge of sorrow today…Sorrow that no one can climb into my soul and make me feel known, which is all I really want…I feel my soul drifting into places that I cannot navigate and I crave the solid ground of deep conversation and knowing eyes.
I’ve felt that way a lot this past year.
After my father died, I remember sitting alone in my apartment processing with God my deep sense of panic; I felt like I didn’t know myself any more. Something about losing my father led to this sense of being untethered; deeply and terrifyingly unknown.
With my arms wrapped around my legs, my chin tucked on my knees and my eyes squeezed tightly shut, I remember praying desperately.
God, if I could ask anything of You right now, anything in all the world – it wouldn’t be a husband, it wouldn’t be one more hug from my dad – it would be feeling known. Really and deeply and truly known and really and deeply and truly loved.
We were all made to be known, but there are a couple of obstacles that make it impossible to have that need fully met by the world.
Obstacle #1: We spend our lives covering ourselves up because we’re terrified of being rejected. I recently read this quote in a beautiful book called Heroes and Monsters:
“I would rather be accepted for who I am not, than rejected for who I am.”
I put the book down and lay on my bed and cried. I feel like I’ve been faking everything for so long. I select every word I say based on the perception that I want people to have of me. It’s exhausting and it is sabotaging my ability to be known.
I hide who I am because I know the truth: in the world knowing determines loving. We want to test drive the car before we buy it. We want to make sure that what we know about someone makes them safe to love. That’s how dating works, that’s how friendships work, that’s how employment works, that’s how everything works in our world: I will decide whether I love you based on what I know about you.
And as long as those are the rules, this sinful flesh of mine is a real handicap. That’s why I’m thankful for God. His worldview is different. For God, love determines knowing. He knows those who are His. He enters into ‘knowing’ with us because He loves us. He does not love us because of what He knows about us.
Only in a relationship like that can I be truly known without fear. No matter who I am or what I do, I will never be rejected by God.
Obstacle #2: your ability to be known is based on your ability to know. I can only be known to the extent that (a) I am self-aware and (b) I can communicate.
I always prided myself on being someone who is both of those things, but all of a sudden, when my dad died, people would ask me pretty basic questions like – how do you feel? and I wouldn’t know the answer.
At my father’s funeral, I was overwhelmed to see the support of all my friends. It was neat to see. But none of them could get in my skin. They could only know me as well as I could articulate what I was feeling. And there weren’t words. So I couldn’t be known.
I remember the anchor to my soul that day was the truth that God knows me. He could see all the wounds and all the pain and all the joy and all the peace that was inside of me. And the whole funeral, He didn’t need to hold my hand because He could literally hold my heart.
God’s knowledge of you is not limited to your self-awareness or your ability to communicate. He knows you more intimately than you know yourself.
And there’s only one thing better than being known like that. And that’s knowing Him.
No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34 ESV)
Ugh. This verse makes me want to throw up tears. It’s unbelievable.
God just said that we no longer have to let the frailty of the human mouth tarnish the glorious truth of God. I get to know God because He has covered my sin with the blood of His Son.
In Christ, I get to be known, and I get to know all of Him.
My beloved is mine and I am His.