“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” – Genesis 16:13
Of all the names of God, this is one that remains at the forefront of my mind often.
El Roi. The God that sees me.
It’s beautiful and it’s tender and almost impossible to fully comprehend. The God of the universe, who created oceans and mountains and waves and wind, sees me.
It’s been over six months since I felt led to publish anything in this space. I’m sure I’ll write a post to catch you all up soon, but for now – a glimpse at something that’s been on my heart lately. Feeling seen.
It’s a quipy little phrase that has been getting tossed around lately – “I feel seen” – particularly when reposting memes that hit a little too close to home. But this idea of being seen and known? I think it’s a common thread that weaves through all of us; a yearning I think we all possess. I was recently in a professional development session and came across this line in an article about social-emotional learning in schools.
“We seek to create a space where every student has the opportunity to feel known, be heard and be understood.”
Sure, the context of the article was students in schools and is something I think every school should make their focus but it also struck me how universal this longing is. We all just want to be known, heard, and understood. I believe it’s in part why I feel so content and connected at my current school – I feel seen here. People know me here. I’m not invisible here. It truly can make such a huge difference.
There was a time in my life where my longing to be these things by the other people around me overshadowed the truth that I have always been known, heard, and understood by God. What a shame it is for it to have taken 28 years for me to start to appreciate it.
There’s no “getting to know you” period with God. I don’t have to sit with him in my quiet time every day because we’re still getting to know each other and I need him to learn more about me. It’s me meeting with my Creator trying to soak up as much of Him as I can while being fully seen and known – just as I am. The messy, the broken, the hard to love.
But what’s amazing to me is that God doesn’t just see us as we truly are. He sees our circumstances. He sees our struggles and our pain and our grief and our anxiety. He sees the ways that we are tempted, the ways in which we are forced to confront this fallen world we live in on a daily basis. He sees us as we are, where we are.
As I’ve grown and come to appreciate this incredible truth, I’ve also come to realize a rather unfortunate thing along the way. It can be extremely hard sometimes to see myself the way that God sees me. Sure, I can say to you that the Lord looks at his creation and calls it good and that we are new creations, God’s handiwork, and created in His image. Those are all very true things that are found in Scripture. But on any given day, can I actually wholeheartedly say that I believe them about myself?
Admittedly, I am my own harshest critic. And if I’m being honest, there have been seasons where I have probably been too critical of myself. Knowing who God says I am and actually believing I am those things are sometimes two different things even though they shouldn’t be. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been in this place. So how do we move from knowing to believing?
For me, it’s a choice. Choosing to believe the things that God says about me over the lies that I constantly conjure up. Choosing to see myself as redeemed instead of broken. Choosing to see myself as a beautiful daughter of God, even when beautiful isn’t even close to how I feel. Choosing to see myself the way that both my Father in Heaven and my earthly father see me. A choice that shouldn’t be that hard to make and yet it is in light of the broken world we live in.
But the Lord is a God of seeing. Of healing and redemption. He looks after us and it’s a truth and a message that I have been surrounded by lately. It’s shaping to be a defining theme for this year and I’ll just say this – I am here for it.