I think we have a cultural tendency to avoid being seen by one another. Not physically (hence my last post), but emotionally. It's kind of interesting actually, as we bare more skin, we tend to hide away more soul.
I mean, think about it - we are more connected than ever with social media, everyone we have ever met can know every thought in our heads worthy of sharing (or not), and yet we have less and less capacity to really see one anothers' hearts. Struggles. Joys. Pains. Grief. Shame.
While we're really good and connecting on the surface, we're not so great at connecting more deeply.
Today a friend came over with her kids for a playdate. Although the friendship is fairly new, she's the kind of friend with whom I can dive in deep (which makes refereeing our children that much more frustrating).
We're trying to sort through the tough things in marriage...can't they see that?
While she and her kiddos were here, my kiddos were a tad bit challenging. I love and honor my children, so I'll just leave it at this: one child was completely unwilling to share the entire time, one child had a crying melt-down over the loom-kit bracelets, and one child had a crying melt-down as I was trying to walk our friends to their car.
The only child who was happy throughout the entire playdate (possibly because he was napping through half of it), screamed for a full thirty minutes right after my friend left.
Needless to say, I was struggling. And frustrated that every sentence of our conversation kept getting interrupted by tattling or crying.
As I was dealing with one child's attitude, my friend looked at me, smiled, and said something like, "It's really good to see you like this. I mean, not that I wish this struggle on you, but it makes me feel like I'm not the only one."
It's good to see you like this.
That sentence has been ruminating in my mind since she said it about five hours ago. Because the this she saw was not pretty. Unshowered. Ponytail. No mascara. Trying (failing) to discipline a child. Trying (failing) to finish a sentence. Trying (failing) to stop eating cookie dough.
But that's the this that we are so good at hiding from each other. The this that struggles. Aches. Grieves. Gets angry. Is stressed. Cries. Yells. Worries.
Yet this is the this we need to show one another, because when we don't, we are all left feeling like we're the only one who's struggling.
Instead we tend to only show the happy this's of our lives.
This evening I took an adorable pic of my eldest daughter reading her new Frozen chapter book to her little sister, both in pj's, freshly showered, lying together on her bed. It was precious. I wanted so badly to post it immediately to Facebook (except I'm in a season that I'm not posting status updates...precisely because I'm so tempted to always only show the happy and adorable parts of my life).
But the adorable and happy moments don't make up the whole me. The whole me has struggle and grief and depression and stress and frustration. The whole you does too, and we need to share that this.
Sharing the this that we are so tempted to hide is healing...both for us and for those with whom we share it.
Not so that we can spread our misery, but so that we can carry our burdens together. "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)
There's a woman in the Bible whose story captivates me. Her name is Hagar, and although her story is long, suffice it to say she is lonely and depressed and feeling used and unloved.
She has a heavy this and no one with whom to share it.
And she is sitting in the wilderness alone wondering where to go and what to do, and God shows up and meets her in the midst of her pain.
And after meeting with God in the wilderness, Hagar says, "You are the God who sees me." (Genesis 16:13)
The God who sees me.
One of the most beautiful and personal descriptions of God in the whole Bible. He doesn't just see that I'm unshowered and wearing my yoga pants again. And He doesn't just see me when I'm all dolled up in a cute dress and high heels and speaking to a crowd.
But the God who really sees me.
Who sees my heart.
Who sees my thoughts.
Who sees my joy.
Who sees my struggle.
He sees me when I'm aching for my mom.
He sees me when I'm laughing with my children.
He sees me when I'm gleeful on a date with my husband.
He sees me when I yell at my child.
He sees me when I am depressed.
He sees me when I am struggling to discipline a child.
He sees me when I'm filled with joy.
He sees me when I'm angry.
He sees all my this's.
And he still loves me.
And, so long as I'm real and authentic and open to His truth, the God Who Sees Me says "It's good to see you like this."