This past weekend we had a new person show up at our community with the weight of the world on his shoulders. We found a quiet corner and he told me his story – filled with loss. He is lonely. He wishes there was a community where people KNEW him. I listened and nodded and after awhile, when he ran out of words, I began to introduce him around. Within thirty minutes our entire group knew his name. But getting to KNOW him will require something from this sad man, something he’s not sure he has the energy or desire to do: share who he is with others.
Willingness to really dig in and be known by others is a challenge that many find difficult to commit to. It’s kind of a pain in the neck, to tell you the truth. It requires coming and early and staying late for a meeting. It usually will mean joining a small group of some kind. At some point the person is going to have to figure a way to contribute to the care of the community, otherwise, they’ll always feel like an outsider with their nose pressed up against a glass – looking in, but feeling unseen.
It is hard to convince people that their feelings of alienation are not necessarily the fault of the community they feel “not apart of”. Sometimes this feeling is directly related to our own inability or unwillingness to join in.
Maybe that’s why I love this verse so much: But now, after knowing God (or rather, being known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless world system? Galatians 4:9 CEB
I don’t have to try to convince people of the proverb (even though I think it is true) that “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.”
I am continually encouraged (for myself and on behalf of others) of the power of this true thing – we are known by God. I am known by God. You are known by God.
Are you one of those folks who just cannot quite get over the hump of committing to a group of people and diving into relationship with them? Instead of feeling all out of sorts about THAT, spend some time thinking about the fact that God knows you – inside and out. This doesn’t solve all our problems. I think we need people with skin on to help us experience love and connection and being known – but this could possibly be the place to find the courage and willingness to take another small step toward finding a place where we can practice willingness. Even with all our phobias and tendencies to hide…we are not invisible to a God who pursues us in love.