To Be Known
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
One of our greatest human desires is to be truly known as our wholes selves. Many people might know parts of who we are. Some know who we are at work. Others know who we are at home. Still others know who we are on the tennis courts or in the church pews. Our kids might only know the parent parts of us and our siblings might only know the sibling parts of us. Living fragmented lives can be exhausting and we find ourselves pulled towards integrating all these various parts of who we are. Oftentimes being known goes hand in hand with accepting love. To be known and loved is a core desire.
But, getting to a place of being known can be a scary process. Allowing others to know who we are requires vulnerability and in the process we risk rejection of our true selves. There have been two times in my life thus far where I had to work up the courage to be my full self and realize that God calls me and equips me just as I am. The first was in the process of coming out. Since coming out, God has used me to counsel LGBTQ teens in crisis and has used me as a pastoral leader among LGBTQ people. The second instance of working up courage to be my whole self was when I began to talk about my experiences with depression from my position as a pastor. Though I’ve been working to break down mental health stigma for years, speaking from my own experience accelerated my ability to reach people and to open hearts and minds. In each instance, God called me to do God’s work as my whole, integrated self. Parts of myself that I thought of as liabilities were in fact the parts that best equipped me to do God’s work.
In scripture, God tells Jeremiah that God knew him before he was even born. God then calls Jeremiah, with all his assets and all his faults, with all his capabilities and with all his failures. Similarly, God knows (and loves) each of us, before we are even born and throughout our lives. And, God continuously calls us, exactly as we are with all our quirks and with all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide.
You know me. You love me. You call me. You equip me. Help me to accept your love, hear your call, and know that you equip me for your work in the world.