Thursday, October 8, 2015

31Days - Seen

You know the person who smiles and plays along while wearing a large sombrero as all the wait-staff bounce around, clapping and singing/shouting some version of happy birthday? Yeah, that's not me. I'm the one sinking into the ground and silently muttering threats against my family.

I was also the kid who slunk onto the bus at the end of the school day trying desperately to slip into an empty seat where I could be unseen; left alone... hoping to avoid any teasing bullying that might occur if I was noticed.

I was the kid who tried to quickly calculate where I could slide into a seat in the lunchroom without being seen. I didn't want people to notice that I was unsure and didn't know where to go... that actually I had nowhere to go....

Speaking of going... I'm the one sitting in the church pew regretting drinking that cup of hot chocolate earlier... but loathe to actually get up in the middle of service to take care of the "issue" because, well... all eyes would be on me.

I'm the one who regretted intentionally drawing attention to myself as a young child... drawing the attention of my abuser.

And... I would've been the wallflower at the school dance. But a wallflower might be still be noticed. So I didn't go.

My fear for Day Eight?
I am afraid of being seen.

Not seen as in being known. That's a whole nother post. ;) But just being seen, period – doing anything that might draw attention to myself. It's a real fear... with some valid reasons behind it. History – my history – proves it can be humiliating... even dangerous. So there's some truth in the fear. But what's the real Truth? Truth with a capital T?

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."(Matthew 5:14-16)

You are the light of the world.

Uh oh. Light. That gathers some attention in this dark world.

A city set on a hill can't be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket.

Uh. Yeah. I think that's what I was just talking about when I said "uh oh."

Let your light shine before men... that they may see your good works!

In the words of Pooh, "Oh bother!"

Let my light shine before men? I'd rather cower in the darkness under my bed, thank you very much..... Oh, wait. Jesus talks about that, too:

"Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.
(Luke 8:16)

Okay. So scratch that idea. So what else does the Bible have to say about being the light?

... prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life....(Philippians 2:15-16)

... appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life

So... we are to appear as lights in the world, by being "above reproach" in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. A crooked and perverse generation. That does seem to pretty much sum up our world, doesn't it? So what's our instruction? We are to appear as lights by being above reproach. And how do we do that? By holding fast the word of life!

Now why does that just blow me away? Because as I was posting yesterday's fear ("Walking in the dark," ironically enough) I wasn't really sure why I was writing about it. I mean, it almost seemed a cop-out on the whole 31 Days of Fear (and Truth) thing. And I really did have other fears to write about. But I just kept coming back to it. It just felt right. So do you remember what the key point was yesterday? I looked at how God's word was instrumental in the psalmist's life, showing him truth; giving him purity and a right relationship with God; giving confidence and boldness and wisdom.

So here I am today, writing about being afraid to be seen, and the verse that comes up says to hold fast to the word of life? Maybe I'm the only one excited by that, but it just seems really cool to me that this post follows on that one; builds on that one – through absolutely no planning of my own. I don't know, maybe that was just supposed to be my own little confirmation and not shared here... but sometimes when you're excited to see God you just gotta kinda shout a little, you know?

Okay... so rabbit trail aside. We all know those people who just live to be the center of attention, right? Well, that's not what's called for here. It doesn't talk about drawing attention by jumping up and down and yelling, "Hey! Look at me! Look at what I did!" Or even by jumping up and down proclaiming "Every one is going to hell and you'd better get right with God now!" No, what it says is:

... prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life....

We are called to hold fast to the words of life. Just to be who Christ called us to be. Trust me, that will make us different. By simply being who He calls us to be (which requires being in and holding fast to the word), we will be light. And because the world is so dark, that will draw attention. We will be seen. And that's okay – despite what my own inclinations lead me to believe. Here's the cool thing, though. When I was searching on "light" I came across this verse:

Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. "For so the Lord has commanded us,

(Acts 13: 46-47)

In my Bible, the caps are used to indicate that the words are a quote from (or an allusion to) a quote from the Old Testament. So I looked it up:

"I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness,
I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you,
And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations....
(Isaiah 42:6)

Paul felt comfortable claiming this verse, so I will too. Paul references Isaiah to say that he's been called to be a light to the nations (Gentiles) – the same light we are called to be. What I want to look at, though, is not just the call to be the light... but the promise within it. Look at the beginning of the verse:

I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you....

In the very same verse which Paul holds up to support his call to be a light to the gentiles, God promises to hold by the hand and watch over those He calls to be a light. Once again, He understands the fear. He sees it before we even voice it. He tells us, "I know being a light is scary. I know you are afraid to be seen. But don't worry... I've got you." It kind of echoes what I wrote about on Day 2 when He said, "I know that putting someone else first is scary. But you don't need worry about your self-protection because I love you. I've got your back." (Jenn Dietz paraphrase, there).

Now how cool is that? Two of my fears in the last week, God answered before I was even born and said, "I understand the fear. I know what I'm asking is scary for you. But don't worry – I'm here. I've got you." I wasn't expecting to see that on Day 2. And I wasn't expecting to find it today. Yet there it is. Wow, God. Just wow.

Father God, You know I am scared of being seen; of drawing attention to myself in any way. Yet you call me to be a light. That's going to draw some attention in this dark world. You call me to be different. That's hard for me too. I don't want to stand out. I want to blend in and disappear into the woodwork. But it blows me away to realize You understand that fear. In the Old Testament, even, you understood it and gave the words that would speak to me today, where I am at here and now. Amazing, God. Just amazing. Help me to remember the awe... and remember the promise. Help me to pull the light from under the basket... and come out from under the bed!

Fear: I am afraid of being the seen; of drawing attention to myself.


  • We are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
  • You can't hide a light. (Matthew 5:14-15)
  • We are supposed to let our light shine before men. (Matthew 5:16)
  • We appear as lights by holding fast to God's Word (Philippians 2:15-16)
  • God Himself will hold and protect those He has called to shine. (Isaiah 42:6)


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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