Posts tagged Being Seen
One of a Kind {Team Journal}

Today’s team journal was written by our Administrative Director, Kate Haas. 

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I did not know, until recently, that comparison didn’t solely steal the joy of those around me.

For many years, I was looking for someone to see me outside of my circumstances. I began to believe that, though I desired to be unique, different, and one of a kind, it just wasn’t something I could achieve while also being known. The only option I saw was conforming to the measures I thought were being used against me, the one which would allow me to connect with others the way I wanted to.  I wanted to be deeply known and understood, while also being a little different. Maybe a lot different, but I like to skip, and sing silly songs, and make friends, and not share my food, and I think that’s generally okay.

I am unique because my Father is one-of-a-kind.

I could tell you fairly easily that I did not want to be compared to others. I didn’t want to match anyone, because then I would be even more like someone else. I wanted to be known for my best (self-diagnosed) traits, and I didn’t want anyone else to have these traits. If I was being compared to another by those traits, I had to win out, I had to be the best person people knew with that trait. If you’ve read that sentence, I know how it sounds. I would never admit that to anyone out loud, which is why I’ve written it down here, for honesty sake.

The worst part for me?  I knew that I could be known by God, so completely and fully that I wouldn’t need to worry about matching, or having similar qualities to anyone else. Could I trust this completely? No. That would send me out of control. I’ve also learned that I don’t like that much either. Maybe He wouldn’t really be able to know me? Maybe I’m too different? Sister, let me tell you that I am dead wrong. I am unique because my Father is one-of-a-kind.

How do I know that? Moses reminded the people of God as they entered the Promised  Land, and somebody wrote it down. Deuteronomy is a speech delivered by Moses before those with the ability would enter the Promised Land. He speaks on the law that was given to them for their sake, and they would perform it so that they could remain in the Land. He starts by reminding the people where they have been, and who their God is. Take a look: 

 

Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other beside him.  (Deut. 4:33-35)

 

Did you hear that sister? There is none besides Him! There are no others like Him, and I was made in His image. And so were you! I was meant to be different, and I was designed to be fully loved and fully known by this God.  It was completely undeserved, but He offered me forgiveness, He gave me the record of His son, Jesus. Then He did more! He took me into His family to be counted as an heir.  Have you heard of a God like this, sister?  What an extraordinary God.

I have experienced comparison as the thief of my joy for far too long. I have hidden behind walls when I could have been hidden beneath the wings of the Lord. I will hide no longer, knowing God loved me first and designed me to skip, and sing silly songs, and make friends, and share my food a little more often (but I’m still working on that one! Give me time). 


Kate Haas wants to live in a world with free coffee, hugs, and deep conversations. When she isn’t in class, you can find her she’s at home with her husband and four-legged toddler reading a book or watching a detective show. Her favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [Amen? Amen!]

The One About Being Looked For {DWITW 365}
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 A baby comes into the world looking for someone to look for them. – Curt Thompson

I wonder if we ever outgrow this? Curt Thompson uses the noun “baby,” but I have to believe we could substitute any variety of other nouns, and it would be true: A vulnerable adolescent. An angst-ridden teen. A widowed man. A woman with a reputation. Even in the hardest of seasons, I believe one is always looking for someone to look for them.

In John chapter 4, we meet a woman of Samaria with a reputation that could widen many eyes. Five times she’s been married, and her current beau isn’t even her betrothed. I can imagine the people of Sychar whispering behind their hands as this woman walked past them to the well. I imagine her walking with her eyes fixed on the ground, not wanting to address the truths and fallacies of what her townspeople were saying. And yet, I feel convinced she was hoping to find someone looking for her; I don’t think a woman uninterested in being sought would go to the trouble of marrying five times and then sharing a bed with a man who wasn’t hers in the first place. She was in the pursuit of looking for someone looking for her.

Each day we rise with the knowledge of our own stories. Whether self-awareness is in play or not, we know what our histories hold. Each day, this woman of Samaria faced the people who lived alongside her in Sychar, knowing the beds she’d shared, the loves she’d buried, the hope she still held - despite it all. We know all those intricacies about ourselves, but it isn’t often many others have full disclosure on our personal privacies. Either because it’s none of their business, or we are simply private people, or perhaps others don’t know because they are just too heavy or they feel too undignified to offer up to another. So, we stifle, keep to ourselves, remain tight-lipped, but we are ever looking.

He just doesn’t care what other people think. He’s not concerned about labels, He doesn’t follow normative, societal patterns. He just wants to bring folks to His Dad and love the stuffing out of them.

Imagine with me what that day must have felt like for the woman of Samaria . . . it’s just another day. She needs water, so she goes to the source. Not expecting anything abnormal, she’s perhaps thinking about whatever she did the night before, the last conversation she shared, maybe pondering the situation she’s currently in with a married man. She arrives at the well and finds a Jewish man, sealing the deal that she will not be speaking, free to remain in her thoughts.

But Jesus has another plan.

“Give me a drink,” He says. I imagine she whirled around, stunned by the audacity and boldness of this stranger to speak to her, a woman of Samaria. And in this moment, everything changes.

Now I think we could dive into a variety of reasons why this passage holds importance. The one I always hone in on, however, and the one I wrote in my sloppy handwriting in the margins between the text, is simple: He speaks to her.

This is unique for a couple reasons – He’s a Jew and she a citizen of Samaria – these were not folks who mingled at the annual block party.  He’s a man and she’s a woman - and unless you were married, men and women just didn’t talk shop at the local watering hole. Jesus is scandalous, ya’ll.

And I don’t want us to overlook these things. In fact, these things add up to one of the biggest reasons I’m so crazy about Jesus – He just doesn’t care what other people think. He’s not concerned about labels, He doesn’t follow normative, societal patterns. He just wants to bring folks to His Dad and love the stuffing out of them. It’s a big deal.

But let’s go back to that first quote in the beginning; a baby comes into the world looking for someone to look for them. Now substitute some words to describe our gal at the well, in for “baby.”

A woman with a reputation is in the world looking for someone to look for her.

A woman with questionable relationship patterns is in the world looking for someone to look for her.

A woman yearning for relationship is in the world looking for someone to look for her.

A traumatized woman is in the world looking for someone to look for her.

Sound familiar? This woman then, doesn’t seem so different than us. How often, when we are seeking something or someone, do we look up? (Or in her case, right in front of us?)

I imagine the woman of Samaria and I probably would’ve been fast friends. I’ve never been married, and I don’t share beds with men who belong to another woman, but I’ve had some missteps in my narrative. And even knowing everything I know about my own story, I still look to be looked for.

And I know Jesus is still waiting at the proverbial well. He will always ask the questions, though He’s got the answers. He will always seek us out, though He’s aware of our coordinates. He speaks to us - no matter where we’ve been, where we’re thinking about going, no matter what.

He is waiting, sisters, with our full history in hand, to ensure that, whether we even know to look for Him in the first place, He never stops looking for us.

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Steph Duff wants to live in a world where every human, whether small or regular-sized, learns to use their voice and is seen and known. When she's not traveling and story telling with Back2Back Ministries, you'll likely find her drinking excessive cups of coffee, with her nose in a book, or daydreaming about India. Her favorite scripture is Habakkuk 1:5, and she prays for a world in which Jesus is the name on every lip. Learn a little more about her love for semi-colons, what stirs her blood, and the yearnings of her heart over at www.stephaniduff.wordpress.com.