I’m afraid of being known and so are you.
I talk a really big talk about vulnerability and transparency much of the time. I believe that a commitment to really knowing and being known by the people God has put in my life is critical to loving well. I genuinely believe all of that, but down deep … I’m terrified.
I know that if I had a speaker attached to the back of my head that blurted out the things I think as I go through my day, or if there was a TV screen on my back that displayed the things that play through my head on a daily basis … that I would have no friends. None. People would recoil in disgust. No one would want to mess with that level of “broken.”
We all “manage” how well we are known, even with those closest to us. There is no friend that you have with whom you are completely transparent. We pretend and pose as naturally as we breathe. It is what we do.
Why? Because we have come to believe a lie. We have bought the lie that we can either be fully known or fully loved, but we cannot be both.
I believe it for very good reasons. I know very well just how much of a failure I am. I know that I make a total mess of the most simple of demands to do good. I know that my heart is full of self-protecting, me-worshiping devotion to Rick. I know that I think, say, and do things hundreds of times a day that need forgiving. I know that my life is a vivid demonstration of man’s desperate need for the Cross. I know this. Even when I’m trying very hard to deny that it’s true, I know. The really terrifying reality is that I am also known. I’m found out, stripped naked, and laid bare. I have nowhere to hide. He knows me.
Psalm 139 says it gorgeously this way:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
He knows it all. All of it. Everything. Every secret thought. Everything I embarrass myself by letting slip before I’m able to take it captive. Every thing I’ve said behind another’s back. Every gesture and muttered word in traffic. Every image I’ve ever placed before my eyes. All of it. I am fully known.
And here is where the tragedy happens. I let the lie inform my thoughts about God, rather than allowing His revealed truth to speak to the lie. I carry the knowledge that it’s impossible to be both fully loved and fully known into my relationship with God. I know that He knows me. Thus, I assume that He cannot really love me. He must be angry. He must be distant and aloof. He must be sitting somewhere in a comfortable room, perhaps even unaware and unconcerned that I’ve been away. No way possible that He’s been sitting on the front porch every day, watching for my return. No way that could possibly be Him running down the road toward me all undignified-like.
The Cross shatters the lie. Jesus breaks it in pieces.
He says to me “I know all your ways and your thoughts. I know every word before it is on your tongue. Your frame was not hidden from me when I was making you in secret. I saw your unformed substance and have known every day I have ordained for you before the first one every happened.”
He also says to me “I have written your name on my hand, you are my beloved, and I have loved you with an everlasting love. Nothing can ever separate us. I will be with you and you will be with me forever.”
I’m slowly starting to believe Him. It’s changing everything.