Oh how THIS word has been used so often in our culture. Song titles, Book names, & even phrases with being known or knowing are all over Social Media. What does it mean to know something? My millennial son often thinks he knows more than anyone else in the family, yet he spent 30 minutes in the store looking for light bulbs – “knowing” they should be by the lighting fixtures. (Now he really DOES know this information J). I bet most of us will cop to saying that we know about something even when we don’t because we want to be in the loop, connected to what is going on. In our heart of hearts, being known is a treasured thing. When someone “gets” us, it releases some of the fear that we may have about being too “out there” or “no one can understand me.”
There is a great deal of anonymity present in our world. We can hide behind virtual identities or avatars so that the outside sees what we idealize or put forward as truth. FYI, Facebook & its other iterations are NOT REAL LIFE. It’s our brag book, highlight reel, or stage that allows us to be cheerily happy in those endless wedding shots or vacation photos. Can’t really go anywhere? No problem, just pull out Photo Shop & create what we want. It rings hollow deeper in our soul where we long to be who we REALLY are, warts & all – no airbrushing allowed.
And Hollywood doesn’t help us either – by presenting such unrealistic expectations of individuals, so flaws are either hidden or totally exposed in ways that demean & degrade. No wonder we all want to hide away our true selves. That “Who’s Who” is momentary & rarely lasts from one year to the next, much less beyond tomorrow. Yet, the culture of excess and decadence leaves another layer of cover-up away from being transparent. Luke 16:19-21 tells us a different version of status in Jesus’ parable comparing a rich man vs a poor one. 19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.” In the story, both men die, Lazarus joining Abraham, while the rich man is in agony. A wise preacher pointed out that we never learn the name of this rich man. He’s unknown to us and unknown to God because he valued his riches above anything else. I find this profoundly interesting.
One of the gifts of counseling is the ability to let the hair down & be truthful to someone else about who we are. It’s not a once and done type of process, rather more of a pathway to another level of self. It’s about being known for who & what we are. And by being known, ACCEPTED, we are given a greater sense of peace and belonging. I cherish the moments in session where a client reveals a new part of themselves and they get that peace. I really love it when God steps in & makes Himself known too. Just as God knew Lazarus because he was in a relationship with Him, I invite those who want to be known on a deeper level. Come on in, the water’s just fine!