It’s easier than ever to send a message to the world and harder than ever to stand out. We can tweet, post and comment our opinions, philosophies, interests, and stories with the simple click of a button or the touch of a screen. We put it all out there for the world to see; we shout it from the rooftops (or in our case, shout it from the insta-story), but sadly, with more than one billion people active on Facebook and more than 100 million users on Instagram, our thoughtfully composed comment or filter-improved photo or perfectly-timed story or soul-revealing post often feels more overlooked than understood.
It’s easy to feel overlooked in a sea of noise. And we all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. We all want someone to look us in the eyes and tell us that we matter. And if we don’t want this- if we find ourselves hiding and running from others more than we stand our ground and speak our mind, it’s only because shame has done a number on us. Hiding in the crowd to remain unseen is not the desire of the human heart, but it is the survival instinct of a broken heart.
For the most part, within all of us lies a yearning to be seen and heard. Perhaps that is why we are so fascinated with social media. It’s our latest attempt at connection. Generations before us were left to journaling and publishing their thoughts to be heard. Most often, vulnerability through the sharing of emotions and experiences took place within the context of face-to-face conversations. But today, though these outlets still exist, we now find comfort in revealing ourselves through the click of an app or the scrolling of a feed.
Strangely, we do this not to consume more information, as much as we do this to establish real connection. We don’t post a selfie of our new haircut because we truly believe this is vital information for the masses. We post the selfie of our new haircut because we want people, the people we wish to see and hear us, to take the time to notice and to acknowledge us with a like or a comment. We post the selfie, not out of vanity (of course, there are exceptions), but mostly out of a deep desire to connect.
Sometimes, we get the connection we crave. Other times, we scroll and post and still come up short. But either way the desire to be seen and heard and to be understood and valued never goes away.
Truthfully, no one can ever fully see us. And no one can ever fully hear us. No is with us every second of every day, and no one, thankfully, can read our minds and discern our thoughts. There will always be parts of us that remain a mystery to the world around us and even to ourselves.
With one exception. God sees us and hears us. Not just some of the time, but all the time. And since He doesn’t exist in time, He knows us for all of time. He knows your first breathe and your last one and every one in between. He knows your days and your hours and your minutes and your seconds. He knows not only your thoughts, but the very origin of your thoughts. He knows the ins and outs of your mind like the back of His hand. You may struggle to remember your dreams when you wake in the morning, but He knows them all by heart. You speak and your words expose pieces of your heart, but He can quote every word you utter before you even open your mouth because every part of your heart is already exposed to Him.
He knows you, and He knows me like no other ever will. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
This thought used to frighten me. “Jesus is always watching” felt more like a reminder that if I sinned, I would get caught. Jesus, like a hall monitor, would give me detention or much worse. But now the thought overwhelms me. I no longer see Jesus as the judge and jury ready to arrest me and convict me when I think an impure thought or say the wrong thing or allow doubt to creep into my heart. Instead, I see Him as a God of love who would choose to pursue relationship with me even after seeing and knowing all of me– including the parts I am grateful no one else sees. I am stunned, bewildered, amazed that God’s glorious grace has made a way for me to forever be in the Presence of God, that the blood of Jesus has become my very righteousness. I am astonished that every single day I can stand before God not cowering in condemnation, but embraced by Love that heals and Truth that liberates.
I am continually confounded by how personal God is. His deepest desire, made clear to us from the start of time, was to simply be with us. God’s greatest craving is the same as ours- connection. Sin broke that connection. And on the cross, Jesus died, not to form a religion, but to repair relationship. Jesus chose the cross to reestablish connection with humanity. With you. With me.
For God, everything is personal. Nothing is just business, and certainly not business as usual. His attention to the details of our lives exposes the deep obsession God has for us and is evidence that we are His most prized possessions and the very joy for which He endured and conquered death.
A couple weeks ago, I was speaking at a women’s conference and decided to end the conference by preaching a message I had recently written. In the message, I highlighted a point by retelling an iconic scene from the movie Titanic, and then showed a short clip from the now 20-year-old movie. So, I preached the message, mentioned Titanic and showed the short scene featuring the characters Rose and Jack, aka, young Kate Winslet and Leo, and then closed with a time of ministry.
As soon as the conference was over a woman came running down to meet me with tears in her eyes. She told me, “You’ll never believe this! I have been struggling to make an important decision in my life that would involve not just a job change, but a career change. I have been unsure of what to do, and in desperation, told God that I would only pursue this job opportunity if He made it crystal clear that I should. I even told God, ‘if you want to do this, then you are going to need that preacher girl up there to say the word Titanic in her message.’ I even nudged my friend before service and said, ‘If God wants me to do this, I’m going to need Rose and Jack to show up and tell me!”
Only God can take a message I wrote a couple weeks prior to that conference, and use it to not only bring this woman clarity and direction, but more importantly, to remind her that Jesus sees and hears her. Only God could be that radically personal.
I don’t know what confirmations you are looking for or breakthroughs you are believing for or guidance you are searching for or power you are hoping for or love you are yearning for. I don’t know the intimate details of your life or your heart. But Jesus does. He sees you. He hears you. And He wants to bring hope where there is discouragement, love where there is fear, peace where there is anxiety, healing where there is brokenness, grace where there is shame, truth where there is deception, freedom where there is bondage, joy where there is depression.
He sees you. He hears you. And when you know that, it gives you the faith to…
- Pray boldly. He knows your situation, and He knows your hopes and desires. And when you know He cares about you and for you, you can unapologetically cry out to God. You can trust in His timing and rest in His strength, regardless of the circumstances around you. You can believe for not just the ordinary, but the extraordinary. You can keep praying, fueled with a faith that surpasses frustration and fear. You can live each day knowing that “your hope will be fulfilled, for God sees it all!” (Psalm 9:18 TPT) This week, decide to pray bold prayers and believe for God’s perfect will to be done in your life.
- Connect truthfully. When you know that you are seen and heard by God, and that you are always met with His love that embraces and truth that liberates, you gain the confidence to be present and honest to those around you. When you know that God accepts you, you no longer perform for the acceptance of others. When you know that God sees you, you don’t have to search for attention or approval. When you daily experience your Savior personally, then you gain the courage to be personal and real with your spouse, your friends, your family, your church community. The masks come off, and you become someone who knows how to be authentic, vulnerable, and truthful without having to apologize or hide. This week, decide to shed whatever masks need to be shed, and to be unapologetically YOU.
- Give generously. You have something truly wonderful to offer this world. You have a story to tell. You have gifts to give. You have passions that can help care for those who are hurting in our world. You have love to spread. You have ideas that ought to become more than just ideas. You have convictions that should be acted upon. You have time to invest in someone else. You are a light in this world, and light doesn’t stay hidden. It shines bright for all to see. When you know that you are seen and heard by your Heavenly Father, it releases you to give what only you can bring to this world. This week, take some time to reflect on your strengths, your personality, your skills and talents, your passions and interests, your compassion, and your story. Detemine to take one step forward this week in giving what you uniquely have to share the love of Christ with others and do good for those around you.