Known — Reflecting on Making Jesus First & Living Second

Reflecting on Week 9, Day 7: Known from Doug Bender’s new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First {buy it here:  Live Second and bonus! If you buy before December 15, author Doug Bender is offering an amazing bonus which you can find here.}

Check out: Psalm 139:1–6

I chose this topic to continue my posts because I think it’s powerful.

Do you ever feel like you wear a lot of different “hats” in life?  Work/career, family, friends, church…

I know that I do.  My “hats” change from time to time, but there is always a lot of them!

Throughout my life, I (like probably everyone else in the world and throughout history!) wanted people to like me.  To be successful.  And smart.  And funny.  Beautiful.  And so many times, I haven’t felt that I was these things.

I felt like I couldn’t be myself, that I needed to be more like someone else.  There were times when these feelings really began to feel like truth in my heart.

When I was about seventeen, almost eighteen, I met this guy.  He was pretty cute, seemed nice enough.  And he liked me.

Well, I hadn’t dated very much and really felt like I was not going to find anyone who really liked me just because of me.  (Oh, if I only knew then what I know now!)

Shortly after meeting him, I told my parents about him.  I am from a small town and my dad actually knew his step-dad.  About a week or so into our dating, his step-father called my dad and cautioned him that I should not date him.  In all my infinite wisdom, I simply felt like no one wanted me to be happy, that his step-dad must have it out for him and is trying to sabotage this for me.

As teens can be, it’s all about us, right?  Adults don’t know anything.

Well, one evening I was visiting him at his home, watching movies and having dinner.  Quiet night at home.  It was winter, shortly before my birthday.  That night I had asked him if he would come to my party and he agreed.  My heart was full, as only a seventeen year old girl’s can be at the simple thought of a birthday date.

Then his friends arrived, unexpectedly.  He asked me to go into his bedroom and wait in there.

I had no idea why, but I went.  I sat in there, listening to him talk to his friends.  Wanting to leave, but he had made it clear that he did not want me to come out under any circumstance.

I could hear their conversation and he began to talk — suddenly his words struck my heart. He was making fun of me.  He was ashamed and embarrassed of me.

Humiliated.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Wanting to run away, but feeling so trapped.  I couldn’t leave, I couldn’t stay.  Each word was like a knife to my heart.  All of the things that I thought were unlovable about myself were being validated.

Finally they left, he came to the door and said that I was free to come back out and finish the movie.  No apologies, no embarrassment for his words, just statements.

I left.  And I never seen him again.  But his words, they stayed with me.

My heart was broken.  I, of course, broke up with him and told my friends that I just wasn’t interested anymore.  I couldn’t utter what had happened.  I couldn’t tell them what he had said.  And I thought every guy after him probably thought of me like he did.

Many years later, after a lot of hurt — a lot of mistakes and bad choices, I learned real truth.  I learned what God thinks of me.  I have forgiven that guy (in truth, I can’t even remember his name — only his words and what his room looked like that night.) and I no longer think that all men are like him.

My identity is in Christ.  I don’t hide anything from Him.  I don’t have any secrets with Him.  I can be me.  All the time!  It’s freedom!  I can tell him my fears, my doubts, my brokenness with no fear of being shamed or ridiculed.  Only forgiveness and love.

While I still prefer people to like me, it doesn’t make me doubt my worth if they don’t.  If I fail, I am disappointed — but I know that I am not a failure.  I would like to think that I wouldn’t have stayed in that room if I knew then what I know now.  That I would have never even gone in that room.

To be known by God, as only He can know us is life altering.  He knows your heart, your thoughts, you can’t hide anything from Him.  And there is so much freedom in giving that to Him, in accepting His amazing love and the freedom that brings.

{Not my creation, I found it on Pinterest}

Love Jesus.  Love others.  Live Second.

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