Thursday, February 20, 2014

fully known. fully loved. [fully needed]

Normally, this semester, my Wednesday nights are alternated between two activities: Wednesday Night Devo (for Campus Ministry), and Cozumel meetings. This Wednesday was supposed to be a Cozumel week, but our "fun" meeting got postponed to next week, so I got to go to devo instead.

God plans things for a reason, I think.

Isaac, the guy that spoke, talked about John 17: where Jesus is praying for us, for unity, to be united in encountering Jesus, and the like. It was great.

But I'm not gonna lie: it's been a long week. A very exhaustingly long week.  I wasn't 100% tuned in in the beginning. And I probably didn't get the point he was truly trying to make, but God put me there tonight to here something, at least.

Then he spoke a little about being fully loved and fully known and what that feels like, and how once we encounter Jesus we can be fully loved and fully known. That grabbed my attention.

He said two things that really caught my attention:

He talked about how we are afraid if people really know us, they'll stop loving us- that's why we only let people see a side of us before we let them truly know us. We have to test the waters, to make sure people are worth letting in.
You can love me all you want, but if you want to get to know the whole me, I'm afraid you won't love me anymore, and vice versa (if you love me, you probably don't know me well enough not to love me)- this is the idea.

And he's absolutely right, at least for me.  I struggle with letting people fully into my world, for the fear that they'll walk out if they see me at face-value. If people knew the real- the whole- me, would I still be loved? Can I be loved by the people that know me fully and wholly? I want people to only see the lovable parts of me.  I don't want people to see the bad or the ugly... just the good, then I'll be loved.

But that's not the only side of me to be loved.

I probably need to be loved more because of the bad and the ugly; I need to be loved through and with the bad traits, bad habits, tough moments, and not just through the good things about me. But I can't let people fully love me- the good, the bad, and the ugly- without letting them fully know me- every part of me. I just can't win at this, can I? I don't want to be just known, either- being known but not feeling loved just plain sucks.  I want,  I need to be loved and known, because one really doesn't sit well without the other.

But it's hard. It's hard when you struggle with vulnerability like myself to let people fully know me, and love me, because I'm afraid people will write me off once I let them too far in. I'm afraid I'll be left broken hearted if I open my heart too wide. How can someone really love me in spite of the things I do, the things I've been through? Why would someone take one look at me and still decide I'm worth loving?
 These are the thoughts that plague me, day in and day out. It's taken me forever to realize that the people that say they love you and mean it want to know you. They want to know my life, my struggles, and love me through them. They want to love the pieces of my heart that aren't quite put back together. But they can't love me if I don't let the walls down, if I don't let them try to get to know me. The people that truly love you will stick around, and be a listening ear, and will be your support when you screw up and fall. They love you in spite of yourself, and those are the people to spend your time loving and knowing.

I love this Timothy Keller quote (yes it's from a book about marriage, but it fits!):

“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.”

It's the same with God, too, I think. I want to show God how good I am, the good things I'm doing... but not the sad, the  brokenness, the struggles, and the heartaches. I want to keep all that under control myself and offer him the good girl part of myself.

But He doesn't want that. He doesn't want just that- He wants everything.  Relationship calls us to a two-way street- where we encounter God in every aspect of who we are, not just the times we need Him or in the happy times. He already knows who we are- yet in spite of the bad and ugly parts of our souls that we try to hide, he still chooses to love us.

I keep this quote where it's visible everyday:  

The very thing we are afraid of, our brokenness, is the door to our Father’s heart. -Paul E. Miller

What I'm afraid to share with God- and everyone else- is what He wants. He wants a full-on relationship, not just a glimmer of one.

Once we let God fully into our lives, once we fully encounter Jesus for who He is- then, we can start being fully known, and fully loved. Isaac said tonight, "Jesus may be the most beautiful person we encounter." I think He's absolutely right; when I can let my walls down and let Him fully into my life, there's nothing- or no one- more beautiful. His grace and glory radiate when He is allowed to work in and through us.

He closed the devo by talking about the Mary and Martha story, which is one of my favorites.  Martha only had it partly right- doing things and serving is only part of the relationship. Sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary, letting Him fully know and fully love you, is what is truly important if we're aiming for an intimate relationship with Him.
Once we let Him fully love and know us for who we truly are- then we can unite together and love each other. Just like Jesus wanted.


{Psalm 139:1-16,23, The Voice translation with highlighting by me}:
1 O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am;
2You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again.
Even when I am far away, You know what I’m thinking.
3You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming,
and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know.
4You know what I’m going to say long before I say it.
It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone.
5You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me,
and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder.
6 It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply You know me, inside and out;
the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it.
7 Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?
Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?
8 If I go up into heaven, You are there.
If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there.
9 If I ride on the wings of morning,
if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean,
10 Even then You will be there to guide me;
Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there.
11 Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,
the light around me will soon be turned to night,”
12 You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.
For You the night is just as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.
13 For You shaped me, inside and out.
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.
14 I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.
You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful;
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.
15 You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You
As I took shape in secret,
carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb.
16 You see all things;
You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb;
Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it.          
23 Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am.

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