As a kid I watched my sister, the witty, fun extrovert, charm her way into the hearts of many and wished I could be like her. People joked with her, enjoyed her, sought her out. While I sat in the corner. Taking it all in.
At some point, I realized by hiding myself I didn't give people a reason to care. Slowly I started opening up--to individuals, at Bible study, in small groups of friends, on this blog. It didn't take long to see the more vulnerable I made myself, the more people cared, the more they asked how I was doing or told me they were praying. Being willing to share a bit of what went on in my heart and head (especially the ugly stuff) cleared the way to a whole new world of relationships.
It's been exciting and freeing. People seem genuinely happy to see me. Sometimes they even seek me out. Kind words buoy me. I'm held up in prayer. Taking risks is worth it. I finally understand my own insecurities have held me back from experiencing meaningful relationships. Now I know to push through for the prize of friendship.
But there are times, no matter how personal I get with others, no matter how much I let people in, it becomes apparent I'm not known as well as I thought. An offhand comment leaves me wondering. I realize I haven't met someone's expectations. Criticism meant to sharpen me still smarts. Harsh words burrow deep. A joke hits too close to home.
I feel defeated and think, "Do they know me at all?"
When those thoughts creep in and doubt hovers, God whispers sweetly in my ear.
I know you. I delight in you. I love you.
And I'm so thankful, for a God who sees, who recognizes my human flaws and loves me in spite of them. I'm thankful He knows exactly where I've come from, what my motives are and where we're headed.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Being known by the living God brings strength and confidence to keep putting myself out there. It means I have no need to justify myself or live up to varying standards of people around me. There is no need to explain myself. In Him, I can be me.
And be treasured, flaws and all.
The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?
Walk on in confidence, my friends, knowing your God sees who you are. He created you for a specific reason. He knows you. He values you. You make Him smile.
Photo Credit: RejiK