Friday, January 15, 2010

The Idolatry of Being Known

Last weekend I went on a retreat with the Gotham Fellowship. And as I was sitting in a small group of women discussing my desire to have relationships always be comfortable and family and friendships feel always close (obviously not good or realistic) , one of the women said to me, "It sounds like a desire to be known."

As soon as she said it, I knew that she had hit the nail on the head.
And as soon as she said it, I immediately became frustrated.

I saw a play last year (Uncle Vanya) and one of the characters performed a monologue about how she despearately needed the man she was pining away for to see her because then he would love her in spite of the fact that she was physically not as attractive as another woman he was falling for.

I later self righteously proclaimed (to multiple people) that the monologue had struck me because she had such a desire to have a man see her, to have a man know her in order to be fulfilled. And that I was so glad that I (being so obviously sophisticated in my faith, just kidding) only needed God to see who I am, to know who I am.

And then, almost exactly a year later, I realize how deeply I was blind to how deep such a desire ran in my own heart to be seen, known and heard by all of those around me. And how I put that pressure onto them.

Sure it's nice in theory to say I only need God but really, come on, who was I kidding? I needed PEOPLE! People to make me feel loved and appreciated but most of all, I needed people to make me feel KNOWN.

Later, though, I knew God was telling me:
'I do know you.
I do see you.
I know you better than you know yourself.
I know you better than you can even begin to articulate yourself to another person.
And that is enough. To be known by Me is enough.'

And so now, I just need to internalize that truth in such a way that it changes what I believe about myself. And that changes everything. It changes the way I live.

Because if God knows me, sees me, gets me and loves me...
If He sees all the ugly thoughts and selfish motivations and everything and loves me..
Then I really don't need anyone else for approval or comfort.

Just another example of how much freedom the Gospel can bring.

"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.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

-Selections of Psalm 139

1 comment:

Claire said...

I definitely feel this desire often. Whether Matthew is here or not, I find myself wishing my female friends here really KNEW me-- and missing those women I feel like do, or did at one time. Thanks for the reminder, and calling it what it is. I'm pretty much always struggling with this.