Morning Meditation, September 14th
Psalm 139:1, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.”
I used to watch the Cosby show as a kid and I’ve never forgotten this exchange:
Boyfriend: “I think I’m going to just spend some time trying to find myself.”
Cliff: “And how long do you think that’s going to take?”
Boyfriend: “About five or ten years.”
Cliff: “In that amount of time you could find yourself and a few other people.”
I remember thinking this was funny but also wondering what in the world this meant. How could someone be trying to find himself? Didn’t he know who he was? Wasn’t he just who he was and that was that? This was before I grew a little older and realized that knowing who I am is more complicated than I once thought.
God Knows Me Even When I Don’t Know Myself
In high school and college, discovering who I was seemed determined by what I liked: sports or theatre or spending time in the library. Who my friends were said a lot about me—or who I wanted to be. But all this shifted around a lot and made me wonder where I fit and who I really was.
Even now I have days where I don’t know why I reacted so harshly to that innocuous comment, or why someone’s kind smile left me sad, of all things. I wonder why I’m anxious in an environment that’s supposed to make me happy, or why some days I’m not quite sure what I even want. Today during my Pilates routine I teared up, for no apparent reason, when a hymn came on the radio (that I listen to hymns while exercising is another phenomenon altogether). What I’m telling you is that I can’t always explain why I think this or feel that, but I should be able to. Right? Because, after all, it’s me. Not fully knowing who I am is such a strange thought because I want to say to me, Hey Kelly, it’s you. Don’t you know you by now?
When I can’t understand myself, God says, I have searched you, I perceive your thoughts, I am familiar with all your ways. (Ps 139:1-3)
God Knows Me When People Can Only Know Me So Far
Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” I adore people who do this for me. I am crazy about these people who—when I can’t get a handle on what I’m thinking or feeling— reach into the swirl of my being and tug on the one piece of yarn that unravels the whole mysterious ball. So, that’s why I’ve been feeling this way! But people have their limits. Even the super wise, prophetic, godly ones can only reach so far.
When people can’t reach any further into my soul, God says, I created your inmost being, I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Ps 139:13)
The Lord Knows Me Even When I’m Afraid To Be Known
Haven’t we all wondered that if we’re fully known we might not be fully loved? Or if we’re fully loved we’re afraid it’s because we’re not fully known? I lived so many years hiding from God what He already knew. My frame was not hidden from Him (vs 15). I was sure the darkness I sometimes felt in my heart, because of what I’d done or what had been done to me, was too dark for Him to peer into. But even the darkness is not dark to God. (vs 12).
I’ve wondered that if I were fully known could I be fully loved? And the whole of Psalm 139 says ‘yes’ to this ache in our hearts with a crescendo. “I praise you,” the Psalmist says in his naked exposure and vulnerability, “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (v14).
When I’m afraid of what being fully known means, the Psalmist says, The thoughts God thinks about me are precious and vast. (Ps 139:17)
To be known more wholly than we can know ourselves. To be known more deeply than others can know us. This is the knowing with which God knows us. But do not be afraid…for He loves us wholly still.
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