“We all are born into the world looking for someone looking for us.” – Curt Thompson, founder of Being Known
A few moments after my second son was born, I found myself somehow alone in a room with him (a miracle in a hospital). Just minutes before there had been a rush of doctors and nurses. Then suddenly, we were alone. There he was, all wrapped up like a fragile, little burrito. I could finally gaze at this little being, who had been growing inside of me for nine months.
I examined his sweet, tiny face, and began talking to him. I don’t remember what I said to him, but I do remember that there was an immediate response. His little head and eyes immediately turned toward the sound of my voice, and he looked me right in the eyes. In that moment, it seemed as if he was saying to me, “I know you, I recognize your voice. You’re my Mom!”
That is our design plan. We’re created to come into the world, ready to connect, to be loved, and to be known. It’s not a want or a desire. It’s a need, starting at birth and carrying throughout the lifetime.
To be known is a sacred thing. We all know countless people but are rarely known by them. Being Facebook friends or college acquaintances doesn’t satisfy our deep need for relationship. In fact, some people are friends for years and never really feel known. Being known requires an intimacy that is sometimes hard won, pushing through vulnerability, conflict, and insecurity. It can only happen inside of trustworthy relationships, where we feel safe to be our authentic selves.
If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. I Corinthians 8:2-3
While I was pregnant with my son, I knew him in a sense. He spent nine months growing in my womb. I was aware when he was awake and moving. I knew that he was a boy, and I even had a general time frame for when he would be born. I had some parenting knowledge and experience. As the verse above states, I imagined that I knew something, but I did not yet know as I ought to know. I didn’t yet know all of the important aspects of my son’s identity: what he would look like, his personality, his quirks, his faults, or his strengths.
After I gave birth, the knowing process expanded, because I could see and touch him. I began to understand my son in a new way. I became available every minute of every day to caring for his needs, understanding his rhythms, learning his sleep schedule, and even being able to discern what his different cries meant. As he continues to grow, I get to know him in deeper and richer ways.
How amazing then, that Paul promises, “if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” We love Him, and we are known. It’s that simple. Our Heavenly Father is intimately aware of our comings and goings, our thoughts, our needs, our desires, and our passions. Even in a marriage of 50 years, a spouse cannot read the other’s thoughts. By contrast, God can not only read our thoughts, but He knows our thoughts before we’ve even thought them. He can recite the number of hairs on our heads. That is a level of knowing far beyond what our finite minds can comprehend.
It’s comforting that God knows us fully, but is the process of knowing all one sided? A few chapters later in I Corinthians, Paul speaks to this, saying: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” I Corinthians 13:12
Just as I loved and knew my infant son intimately, but he could not respond in kind, so we on this side of heaven cannot fully know our Father. What is now 2 dimensional, as in a mirror, will one day be 3 dimensional, face to face. One day, we will not just be known; we will know fully. Our God-given need for connection will be met perfectly.
Pause: Meditate on the verses above for a few moments. Is there a particular verse that resonates for you?
Renew: Think about a relationship in which you have felt really known and understood. What set that relationship apart? How do you experience being fully known by the Lord?
Next: Being known can sometimes feel vulnerable, particularly if you have been hurt in relationships. Focus on one close and safe relationship in your life (with your spouse, a friend, or family member) and contemplate one way you can work at allowing that person to more fully know you.
May we revel in being loved by a God who desires to know us. I hope that thought leaves you feeling treasured today.
Pause, Renew, Next!