WOW God has me on a fantastic journey of learning and growing in understanding as I study His word but also as I study to continue my education in counselling.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 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…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. “Psalm 139:13-16, 23
There is something so deeply touching about being known. We are all created for connection – we long from the time we are formed, to be known.
To know is not enough.
What are some things you think of when you think of the word “knowledge” or “to know”? People who have knowledge are influential, superior, powerful, they can be advocates if they choose. Knowledge somehow makes us believe we are secure, possibly safe, no longer vulnerable and maybe even in charge. But there are some things knowledge does not assure us of; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Don’t we all long to live lives that exhibit the fruit of the spirit? As believers, shouldn’t these attributes come to us as easily as breathing? Ppfftt! The truth is, all too often the absence of this fruit in our lives often suffocates us with shame and disappointment. We’re left wondering why our relationships with God, and with others, are so shallow.
Could it be the difference between
knowing and being known?
To be known is to be pursued, vulnerable, examined, exposed and even shaken. That doesn’t sound very inviting. It is to allow others to assess your value, to react to you, to affect you and allow yourself to be affected by them. It is to grant others to option to love you or reject you. It requires trust. To be known, truly known, is to be loved, encouraged, forgiven…isn’t that the highest call of humanity? I think being known is a process and we have to invite the experience.
I always tell my children that in order to know someone, you have to have a relationship with them. You can’t have a relationship with someone you never talk to or spend time with. Knowing a lot about God really isn’t enough. We can know Him and still be empty, lonely and isolated. In fact we can’t know God if we don’t experience being known by Him to some degree…otherwise these are just facts and the heart is not involved. The degree to which you know Him will directly reflect your experience of being known by Him. I could take this further to say that the degree by which you are known by God is reflected by the degree with which you are known by others. In other words, your relationship with God is a direct reflection of the depth of your relationship with others. They cannot be separated. You can know God and not make any effort to know others; but you cannot be truly known by God and not long to truly know others. If you are experiencing this – then I encourage you to ask yourself if you know or are known. There is a difference.
Another thing I tell my children is that when you have a relationship with someone, you care about their feelings. If you know that something will hurt their feelings and make them cry, you are careful not to do that because you know that your actions impact that person. See we can know God and never impact Him or be impacted by Him. If we are known by Him, and He is known by us, then we impact one another….and because of this we are thoughtful of the things we do and don’t do. Because of this we move towards the fruit of the spirit with hope and longing.
I’ve discovered something with my experience in counselling. All of us long deeply to be known, loved, encouraged and forgiven. But when life beats us down we are willing to sacrifice being loved, encouraged and forgiven for being seen. We are willing to be seen above being known.
Did you know that when you share your stories with one another (your lives), when you are truly heard and understood, both the sharer and the listener undergo actual changes in the brain circuitry?! It actually changes the composition of part of the brain that allows for compassion for others. You both feel a greater sense of connectedness that decreases anxiety and depression.
To know or to be known.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Do not sacrifice being known for being seen. Don’t let your need to know, to be right, allow you to lose focus on being loved or loving others.
You impact God. Your choices, your brokenness, your victories – you impact Him.
Maybe you have no idea where to start, how to go about renewing your mind. Maybe you are tired of knowing and longing to be known. Back to the highest call of humanity and God’s law to love well – shouldn’t we as believers slip our hand into the hands of our neighbors and walk along-side them when they struggle? Shouldn’t we tell our stories and listen to the stories of others? That is literally where the transforming of our minds takes flight, like a butterfly who is released from the captivity of their cocoon…
Every story is worth hearing. Every hand is worth taking…