"She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her. 'You are the God who sees me,' for she said, 'I have now seen the One who sees me.'" Genesis 16:13
“Was who she was, who she really was, really enough? This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take: To be seen as we truly are. “ Cinderella (2015)
The sun began setting in the distance with the warm spring air shifting to cool as the sun said its goodbyes and the night sky arose. Two friends met outside exchanging words as light faded. One of these friends expressed her heart—in it a cry or a plea from the depths—a desperation to be seen. In this moment, I saw my friend. I saw the depths of her heart and her innermost longing. For a brief period of time, she was seen, a cry of the heart met like the satisfaction of a sunset at the end of the day.
Isn’t this the longing of all human hearts—to be truly seen, to be truly known. Not known for what they do. Not known for their status or occupation or position, but to be just known—personally, innately, intimately. What their favorite color is, favorite movie or song. If they like ketchup or mayonnaise, the warm weather or cold. What makes their hearts dance and sing and what makes them cry. How they have been hurt or are still being hurt and to know that someone cares and sees and wants to know them. There is no greater gift than to give the gift of knowing another.
The other side of this knowing comes with risk. The risk is if I let another in, will they accept me? Will they love me? Will just who I am be enough? With no applause, no accolades, no accomplishment. Will I be loved and accepted for just being me? For me, that would mean, will you love me—Sue—whose favorite color is blue, whose favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice, who loves to spend time with my family, taking walks, running with friends, and basking in the warmth of the sun on a clear day. One of my joys is cuddling with my husband feeling the warmth of his strength as we embrace. My children make my heart sing and hurting people wreck me. The Lord’s goodness undoes me and I long to see His people set free.
In fear of being known or risking knowing others, we self-protect. We don’t let others too close nor do we get too close to others. As a result, the human condition is in dire straits. Our hearts long to be known but at the same time, we fear the risk is too great. We suffer from the pretense of it all while longing for more. But what if we risked? What if we threw caution to the wind and risked being known or risked knowing others. What could happen in our churches, in our communities if we stepped outside of our comforts and took a step of faith across the aisle or across the street into the life of another to know them, truly know them? I ask because I truly wonder and I need to be better at this as well. I think it would change our churches, our communities and possibly eventually our world.
In our quest to become like Jesus, this is one aspect of His character that we must choose to embrace or discard. He sees. He stops. He tarries. He waits. He looks deep into our hearts and tends to the places that need a touch, that need Him. I pray I can be more like Him, unafraid of intimacy, daring to love with the risk that love will not be returned. He risked most of all, giving His life knowing there would be many who wouldn't receive the gift. If He risked that, perhaps we can risk as well. The question is will we risk loving and risk being loved, risk being seen, with the knowing He sees, and He says we are enough.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being the God who sees. Thank you for the gift of seeing us and loving us even in our flaws and weaknesses, even when we were enemies of the Cross of Christ. Your love is amazing and enough. Lord, will you help us risk being seen, risk loving others and risk being loved. Give us courage to love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.