Saturday, October 14, 2017
It might be the beginning of a conversation that turned south unexpectedly. Or the need to go back to the recipe when it didn't turn out right. Rethink the conversation, where was the kink? Review the recipe, what was missed?
How many times have I gone back to the words, “In the beginning God...”
It's an amazing place to go. It grounds me.
The fluff and flurry of the world, the dirt and dander ---- it gets settled when I go back and remember the way God began it all. It helps me remember His greatness, His character, His patience, His ways. It's a lifetime pursuit to know Him more. It's a need in me. Not because i'm trying to be smarter about God, instead it's because, well, ---- I know me ---- and therefore I know my need of Him. I choose Him.
Try hard as we may ----- in the end, when all that dust settles ----- we know, we can't ---- He can ---- we'll likely mess things up ---- He won't ----- we n-e-e-d Him to show up and do what only He can do or the flurry and dander will overwhelm the air and we'll go down again.
Sometimes I wonder if i'm the only person still in Kindergarten. :)
Seriously --- degrees have not altered my Kindergarten level of thinking.
So when I dare to write my heart right out in front of you ---- it's only that my preschool brain is needing to lay down something and get it out, so I can grasp more of what the Teacher is saying.
Several years ago the good Father whispered something solid-rock in my heart. It shocked me, but I trusted His urging. He does still speak ya' know. He is not silent. But we must measure it all carefully because His voice is not the only one trying to talk to us.
I do not hear “voices”. (God help – some people do...)
I do not believe God speaks to a heart today telling it anything contrary to what His Holy Bible says. It's a good way to measure a thought – does it line up with God's word or not. If not – it's the wrong voice, don't listen friend!
So how can we know if it's a stirring from God? We simply must spend time in His Word in order to understand who He is and what He would or would not be saying.
It's the simplicity of a Father caring for His child.
The child knows the difference between its father's voice and the voice of another man. How? Because the child and father have spent time together. (Kindergarten level stuff) :)
So what was it He said to me, those years ago? He whispered into my storm and said, “I see you. Even if no one else sees you dear, I --- see --- you.” And I wept a river of tears in the floor of my closet.
Then it came again to me several months later, “I see you daughter. I'm not missing a detail. You are not alone, I'm with you, I see you, you are mine and I am yours.” This second time I wept a river of tears in the woods behind our house.
I knew it was the Great One whispering to tiny me because I could run to my Bible and read, “The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121:8) --- so, He sees me, He knows where I am, He cares enough to care for me, i'm not alone. And then there's Matthew 10:29-31 “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” --- so, He has looked at me long enough to know the number of hairs on my head!?! What? I don't even know the number of hairs on my head! Which (kindergarten level again) --- means, He knows me better, more thoroughly, much more deeply, than I know myself.
In order to know the number of hairs on a persons head ----- He surely sees them.
And then there's the time when God spoke to Hagar in the wilderness, she had run away from Sarai who had begun treating her harshly. Hagar responds to the angel's words by using a “new” name for God --- she calls him El-roi – which means “You are the God who sees me”.
It was a defining moment for me. For you see, I was convinced I was wasting air. I had tried to be good; tried to be a good friend, tried to be a good cook, tried to be a good teacher, mother, wife, student, servant, person. But I kept falling short somehow --- it seemed I was never quite enough. (Usually my own scales were inflicting this.)
So I ran back to the beginning --- again.
In the beginning ---- GOD created..... for six days He created, and He said, “it was good”. Until He saw that it was not good for man to be alone. Then He said, “It is not good....”.
Alone --- being alone is not good. Feeling alone is not good. God designed us for relationship; with Him and with others.
Have you ever been surrounded by people, but you've felt alone, unseen? You might speak, and someone talks over you. You might smile at someone and they don't notice your kindness. Alone is a hard thing.
Even a solid introvert likes to at least know they are loved, maybe not smothered and coddled, but not completely alone.
The enemy of God surely heard God's words --- “It is not good for man to be alone.....”
It's why aloneness is one of the tools the enemy uses against people. If he can make them feel alone, he can gain an advantage over them. After all – God said it, “it is not good to be alone”.
Dare I say (at my kindergarten level) --- even God Himself does not choose to be alone! He created angels to surround Him and people to be in relationship with Him. Amazing isn't it. The Creator made us people in His image --- and we reflect the part of God that does not want to be alone.
Yet, somehow we can feel alone even in a crowd of people.
I translate that to being “unseen” in the middle of many.
The feeling of not being “seen” by others produces the same effect as being alone.
To clarify, there are times of daily aloneness that are good. A little quiet time, prayer time, time to reflect and think and ponder ---- this is a necessity. Susanna Wesley, mother to John and Charles Wesley was only able to have this needed quiet, “alone” time by sitting in a chair in the middle of a room filled with her own children and pulling her apron up over her head. Her children knew this was her time to be alone with God and they knew to be quiet and busy when the apron went over mom's head. Chosen moments of quiet and alone time are beneficial.
But the aloneness that is not good speaks of being isolated. Not included. Prisons use this to punish the worst offenders. It's isolation --- solitary confinement.
“Not being alone” translates to more than just being with others, it speaks of being “seen”. We know when we are being ignored, overlooked, cast out. It is a tool used by society to wound and isolate.
In some caste cultures, not only were people isolated and not allowed rights, it was considered offensive to even look at them. Still is even today.
Did you ever feel something like that in your teenage years? When you'd innocently walk up to a group of peers hoping to be included in whatever the conversation was about, only to realize no one was making a space for you, no one noticed you, or worse yet, they had noticed you but were not even going to acknowledge you were there. You knew you were “unseen”, not included, not wanted.
Those moments in life come to everyone.
Some people avoid those moments coming to them, by inflicting them on others first.
It's all a cruel game that revolves around the damage of isolation, not seeing, not including another.
One of the reasons social media is so outrageously out of control, is that it seemingly pacifies the ache of aloneness. It takes much less effort to be “seen” through technology than it does to be seen in real life. People can throw a careless statement online, and boom --- they get some attention for it. But in person, if they said the exact same words, they might be overlooked, ignored or even ostracized. Since it's not being said in person, they can be “seen” virtually but not really. The same is true with video-gamers. They can get the sense of accomplishment and community, they are able to feel a part of something even though it is virtual and not actually real. No villain was actually defeated; no arsenal of weapons earned is available in reality. It's a game. It's not real. And if the gaming community does meet in person, their conversations, so i'm told, usually revolve around the “game”. They don't share realness of life, but they have at least found a way to be included in something.
People were not designed to be alone.
In this world so many are wounded, isolated, and left feeling alone.
Counselors tell us that one of their primary tasks is to give people a safe place to be seen and heard. The world population has never been higher than it is today, and yet, we are surrounded by lonely souls.
Social media is not a solution, it is a slow drip of arsenic for the lonely soul.
In the beginning God created much that was good, but when he came to the human created in His image, He said it was not good for them to be alone.
Who do you know that might be lonely or hurting or unseen?
Do they know you “see” them? Do we see them?
A few months ago I was criticized for conveying the words “i see you”. The words that came back to me were, “Why do you say that to people? It's actually not biblical at all for you to tell people you see them.” It's taken me a long time of searching out whether or not I was being biblical or not. I had to go back to the beginning and spend time on my knees over those words.
What a healing ointment it has been to my heart and soul to go through Genesis and make note of all the times God “saw”.
Genesis 1:1 --- He created.
Genesis 1:2 --- His spirit hovered.
Genesis 1:3 --- He said, “Let there be light.”
Genesis 1:4 --- God saw that the light was good.
God was a busy God in Genesis. Read through chapter one with highlighter in hand, mark all the action words/verbs describing God's activity. No matter the translation, you'll see a very busy God as He saw, called, said, made, created, blessed, looked, warned, caused, took, and brought.
The balm for me is that HE SAW that it was good, and He responded to what He saw. And if we are made in His image, and called to His purposes, it makes sense to me that we should see and respond. When God saw Adam and said it was not good for him to be alone, God did something about it. We, as His children, have a responsibility to see what He brings in front of us and respond in the way He guides us to.
I went on to Chapter 3 of Genesis and found something i'd never fully noticed before. It's after the serpent has come and deceived the woman. She ate what was forbidden and so did Adam. Then in the very next verse, 3:7, it says, “At that moment their eyes were opened and they suddenly felt shame...”
Wait --- i'm pretty sure Adam and Eve were created with the ability to see with their brand new eyes. I'm quite certain that when God brought the gift of Eve to Adam, Adam could see her when he said “This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh...”
So it's not that they were blind prior to verse 7, it's only that they could not see the difference between good and evil prior to the opening of their eyes. It's why they were ashamed after that first sin came.
So God calls us to be His children, to be His hands and feet, and perhaps be willing to see with His eyes. His eyes will always see through the lens of love and grace. If we only are looking with our earth-bound eyes, we'll see in earth-like ways – and it's possible we won't actually “see” what is right in front of us.
But if we'll be surrendered enough to let God show us what He wants us to see, and then obedient enough to respond the way He wants us to respond --- we'll be in the process of becoming more like the One who is worth conforming to.
God sees you.
God wants us to be His image-bearers who do His good work.
He wants us to become more like Him. (John 13:15, Philippians 2:5, 1 John 2:6, 2 Corinthians 3:18)
we need to refocus our eyes to be able to “see” each other.
We should see one another.
Facebook and twitter and instagram are only tiny snap-shots --- sort of like looking through the peephole in a hotel door. The tiny bit we can see is only a glimpse and a fish-eye-lens view at that.
Really seeing one another is the only way we can actually know someone and be known by them.
Some do not want to be known because they know if anyone looks too closely, they'll begin to see the parts that have been covered over and concealed. Others do not want to actually “know” someone else, because if they do, they might need to begin to ---- actually ----- do something ---- like ---- care for them in some way. It's easier to click a like isn't it or if possible, just ignore them, don't “see” them.
After all – if I never “saw” them, then how could I possibly realize I should have done something about what I would have seen IF I had cared enough to “see”.
How many times have you witnessed people sitting together but not actually “together” – because everyone was on their phone or computer or playing a game on something in their hands. Hearts don't engage that way.......... (how many children are growing up surrounded, but feeling very unseen?)
But wasn't it the Good Father, El-roi himself who said, “It is not good for people to be alone.”?
Oh friend --- let's see the ones in front of us. The One who loves best still chooses to see us.