Monday, October 26, 2015

31Days - Known

Yesterday I explored the fear of not being known (feeling alone) and the Biblical truth to combat it. Today is a continuation of yesterday's post – just the "flip side" of it. So if you haven't read it already, you may want to go back and read Day 21: I am afraid of not being known (feeling alone).

The following are small excerpts of the journal entry I shared in that post. (The full journal entry can be found in the link above):
How can I be so desperate to be known... and so reluctant to put myself in a position where I can be -- all at the same time?

The thought of having to interact with someone petrifies me... yet... I want so desperately to be able to do more than just come, worship, and then leave without even talking to a friend. I hate knowing that I'll walk out those doors and we'll eat lunch alone... again.

And yet... And yet week after week, I head straight for the kids, lower my eyes to avoid contact and walk out - an incredible contrast in wanting to be known and refusing to chance it. At war with myself. How stupid is that?

Oh, God... I need someone to rescue me from myself....

I am at war with myself – an incredible contrast in wanting to be known and refusing to chance it.

It would seem I'm not alone. The comments I received after the last post shared how much people related to feeling alone and wanting to be included, but admitted they didn't actively pursue it. Why is that?

I may make excuses like "I'm too busy," but deep down, at least for me, is usually a bigger problem. I am afraid.

I explored the fear of making the first move in a relationship and Biblical truth to combat it in one of the earlier posts in this series. If you haven't read it, and you are one of those who can echo the sentiment of wanting those friendships, but not pursuing them, you might want to go back and read  Day 4: I am afraid of being the first to admit desire for a relationship. It was one of those posts that took me by surprise and had a lot to say to me.

I want to dig a little deeper today, though. I want to dig into the "Why is that?" underneath it and then the Biblical truth to combat it.

So my fear for Day Twenty-two:
I am afraid of being known.

It's a real fear – after you get to know me, you might not like me. And that hurts. So there's some truth in the fear. But what's the real Truth? Truth with a capital T?

Let's start with yesterday's first point:

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you...."
(Jeremiah 1:5

God knows us intimately!

We are already known by the One who matters most. He knows us more intimately than anyone on this earth ever will. And yet...

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
(John 3:16)

God loves us!

Even knowing us better than anyone else, He still loves us – better than anyone else! Maybe you've known those verses for a long time. I have. And I have to admit that sometimes, when something becomes so familiar, it doesn't necessarily move me the way it should. But take a look at what David wrote:

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul....
(Psalms 31:7)

I've read this before and not seen it, but David says he rejoices and is glad because God has known the affliction and troubles of his soul. And David is not talking about just physical circumstances. He's talking about his soul – his spiritual state; his heart. God knows his heart and yet shows love, kindness, and mercy.

Why does that make David glad?

Because he knows just how poor and miserable his heart is. The word translated as "affliction" actually carries the meaning of depression, poverty, and misery. He has a miserable, impoverished heart and he knows it. And he knows God knows it.

David also knows how unfaithful and how much trouble his heart can be. Strong's Dictionary gives the meaning of the word translated as "troubles" as: a female rival, adversary, adversity, affliction, anguish, distress, tribulation, trouble. Brown-Driver-Brigg's Dictionary gets a little more blunt with the female rival idea and gives a possible translation as "rival wife." In other words, David's heart is divided, it's not always faithful to the God he loves. His heart causes him trouble and he knows it. And... he knows God knows it.

So David rejoices and is glad for God's lovingkindess because he knows that God knows what a wretch he is – and God shows him love, kindness and mercy, anyway. Long before John Newton penned the hymn, David was singing it: "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound; That saved a wretch like me!"

God knows our souls and still shows love and kindness!

I know we know that. And yet... it's still a little scary to consider "being known" by a human – someone with somewhat less than divine love. Yet we are told:

Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2)

I need to share my burdens.

The law of Christ (His commandment to us) is found in John 13:34-35:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

We fulfill His law by loving each other. We love each other by bearing burdens. You can't bear my burdens if you don't know them. I need to let you know.

I need to let you know me.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
(Romans 12:15)

I need to share my joy and my sorrow.

Again, you can't rejoice with me unless I let you see my joy; you cannot cry with me unless I let you see my pain. I need to let you know.

I need to let you know me.

In James 5, James describes the deep and intimate connection that should exist between Christians:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another....
(James 5:16)

I need to confess to you and I need you to pray for me.

Confession requires deep openness and revealing things we would rather hide. But James says that confession of sin is to be met with prayer, not judgment. And again, you can't know what to pray for me if you don't know where I struggle. I need to confess. I need to let you know.

I need to let you know me.

We see a great example of this openness with the Apostle Paul. He shared his fear (1 Corinthians 2:3). He shared his battles with his own self (Romans 7:15-25). He shared his joy (Philippians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 3:9). He even boasted of his weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

He let people know him and they followed him to Christ.

But why does God call for us to know each other this way? Is it just for others' sake? There is that. But I think it's also because He wants us to be loved in a deeper way. Going back to yesterday, He knows it's not good for us to be alone.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial.
To be known and not loved is our greatest fear.
But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God.
It is what we need more than anything.
It liberates us from pretense,
humbles us out of our self-righteousness,
and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

If we will not take the risk to be known; we will not experience the fullness of human love.

I have to admit that I am only coming to know this truth. I have believed that by hiding parts of myself from my friends I was making myself more presentable and more likely to be accepted and loved. For years I've hidden parts of myself even from my husband. Some were things from my past I was ashamed of and I swore I'd never tell anyone. Others were feelings or fears that just felt too vulnerable. But an amazing thing happened when I began to share those things: I felt more loved and more accepted rather than less. When I present just a part of myself, deep down I know that you don't really know me well enough to say you love me. When I revealed those parts I'd rather keep hidden to my husband, (and later some others) I discovered a freedom and love that were well worth the risk involved. Not only am I loved better, but it opens up the door for others to be more vulnerable; to say "Me too!" and thus become more fully loved themselves. No, I'm not advocating telling your deepest, darkest secrets to everyone. We do need to use wisdom and confide in safe people. But the more we open up to others, the more full our relationships; the less alone we feel.

Only in being known do we escape the feeling of being alone.

And that part is on us. We have to make the move. Going back to yesterday's post and looking at God's provision of a friend for Elijah.... It dawned on me this morning that God didn't just plop Elisha down in front of Elijah and say "Here you go – new friend, signed, sealed, delivered." No... it wasn't quite that easy. God told Elijah to go and get him. (1 Kings 19: 15-21). "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus...." Go.

We need to go and make ourselves known.

But it is oh, so worth it!

Father God, it's hard for me to let down my guard enough to be known. I don't want others seeing my weaknesses and what I believe are my deficiencies. I want to show the world someone who is "worthy" of love and acceptance. But how much more wonderful to be known – truly known – and still loved. Help me to remember that the joy is worth the risk. Give me courage and strength to share my heart – the burdens, the joys, the sorrows, the dreams, the weaknesses, all of it. Give me the courage and strength to be known. Thank you for knowing me... and loving me anyway!

Fear: I am afraid of being known.


  • God knows us intimately! (Jeremiah 1:5)
  • God loves us! (John 3:16)
  • God knows our souls and still shows love and kindness! (Psalms 31:7)
  • I need to share my burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  • I need to share my joy and my sorrow. (Romans 12:15)
  • I need to confess to you and I need you to pray for me. (James 5:16)
  • I need to let you know me.
  • If we will not take the risk to be known; we will not experience the fullness of human love.
  • Only in being known do we escape the feeling of being alone.
  • We need to go and make ourselves known. (1 Kings 19: 15-21)
Note: This post is part of a 31-day writing challenge. Click here to see the rest of the posts on my 31 Days of Fear (and Truth).

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