For about a month now, I have felt so strongly people need to hear how important it is to be known.
Perhaps it comes from being in true community for the first time in a long time, and I realize now how lonesome I really was for the season of life after college. It’s a crazy time after college, figuring life out! I can see now in hindsight how unknown I was despite living so openly and inviting so many into my life through writing. Funny how in a social media world, a world where we are more connected than ever before in history, there is more loneliness and even to the point of depression for so many than ever before. We have to take that seriously, y’all. I want to make it clear, I haven’t suffered from depression myself, I can see how easy it could be to fall into it when you aren’t in community. Social media is wonderful, seriously it’s amazing how I can connect with people from all over the world. But it can also be isolating and the greatest component, in my opinion, for why so many people are discontent and unhappy. Truth is, the more social media and technology take over face to face human interaction, the more I fear our hearts will grow cold, isolated, community-less, and unknown.
If you’re not in a tangible community that loves you and knows you, reminding you of the good simplicities of life or the heart of good that has nothing to do with what you have but rather who, then you are sure to find yourself lonely and unknown. Being part of the church body is how we were wired, it’s a deep rooted need within us because it is how God made us! God didn’t even let the first man he breathed life into live alone, because he saw it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18) I wrote a couple weeks ago about this idea of being known in my devotional Sweet Thoughts, and I have felt I needed to share more. I keep hearing in my spirit, “Be known, be loved, make others known and loved.”
One of my favorite friendships in the Bible is that of Timothy and the great Apostle Paul. Paul was like a spiritual father to Timothy, and they did life on the heels of one another, Timothy following the leadership of Paul. Even when it came time for Timothy to step into his own identity of ministry, their friendship remained solid. Accountability, encouragement, and always longing to see each other as any good friends do. Read this intro to a letter to Timothy’s church from Paul:
“I, Paul, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God’s plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus. I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours!
Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.” 2 Timothy 1:1-6
The reason I love this scripture is because you can see just how much Paul loves Timothy. Do you have people in your life you could say that whenever you mention their name in a prayer, which is practically all the time…? Are you in community with people you love and care for so deeply that you pray often for them, you share your own struggles with them, and are actually doing life together? If you’re not, I bet there is something in you that longs for it.
Friends, find community. Be part of the body. What I mean by that is that the Bible calls its people “The body of Christ”, meaning the body of the Church. The hands and feet. In multiple ways, the picture is made that we are all units of a larger picture but we have to be part of a body to help it function and move properly. We are our fullest self when we are functioning as part of the body. We flourish and are our best self when others are helping us process and pull out the things we can easily hide under or mask. There is nothing sweeter than being known y’all. And, as if the challenge isn’t hard enough to place yourself in community and find good friends, be eyes to see people that need a place to belong. Make others known.
Love you guys. I know you can change your world around you, and it starts with being known. We can love others and be loved, because he first loved us. Praise God, right?
You can snag a pre-order of my Because He First Loved tee from The Cake Shop to rock this mantra yourself. Love others and be loved, because we get to mirror what Jesus already did for us. Here.