All this week, we’ve all had name tags to identify ourselves — name, location, church. It’s been fun and awesome to meet new people, but as an introvert, I’ll admit I’ve grown weary. It is not because these aren’t wonderful people with wonderful missions worthy of getting to know, but it is because the fuller my brain becomes with all this incredible information, the less I’m able to handle the simple things such as make casual conversation. I say “make” because that’s what it is. The initial words that have to come become harder to produce because of all the stuff underneath the surface.
Last night we talked about emotion. We had to mimic facial expressions to each other (which was hilarious, and probably the most needed lightheartedness for that moment). Because then we had to sit face to face with someone we didn’t know and identify all the things that were underneath the face we carried. There’s always a lot with everyone.
The speaker asked, “What is the number one driving emotion?” The murmurings were rippling through the crowd and someone said loudly, “Fear.” The speaker said, “Yes, but it is deeper than that. It is anxiety.” Anxiety is feeling helpless, unsafe, waiting for the inevitable danger. It is exhausting alertness, being consistently on-guard, waiting for the WHEN of the threat that will happen.
Do you know what else is true? We all want to be known. And yet we are so afraid of being known. Once we trust and allow ourselves to be known, we are petrified of it being taken away. We are always anxious about the grief and pain of being unknown.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Hagar in the desert, in that moment that she fled from the danger of Sarai’s wrath, who had discovered she was pregnant with Abram’s son (even though that was Sarai’s plan). The Angel of Lord met Hagar at the spring and spoke with her, and told her to go back to Sarai and submit to her. Hagar didn’t argue, instead she named the Lord in her own personal way, “You are the God who sees me.” This is specific seeing: not just seeing the surface, this is seeing the WHOLE. All. In total. You are the God who sees me.
We want to be seen. We want to be known. We spend our days being unknown in so many ways. We can always, always trustfully first submit to the One who sees us. And if we need other help, the kind of help to bring us into moments of “seeing” the things we cover, being seen in the core, the things that were meant to be seen, then hallelujah! I’m 100% sure He doesn’t want us to live undercover. Why else would He place so many caring people around us, asking how we are, asking if we need help?