“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.”

–Psalms 139:1-3

Sometimes, I wonder, “If I asked people what they see when they look at me, what would they say?”

Delicate, confident, and passionate words could dance through the air; yet, I still might feel covered with a fog, left unseen. This question stems from years of hiding behind intricately built defenses and a gift for listening to others well.

Due to my well-crafted walls, a fog like the one in the picture above accompanied me through each year of middle school, high school and college. I let people know or see just enough of me to be intrigued and engaged, but never anything that could make them bold enough to walk into my heart’s fog-encircled unknowns.

Life felt easier this way, safer. In complete honesty, it became somewhat of a game. I gave a little, and then they gave a little in return. Back and forth and back and forth…until someone stepped too close–asked too intimate of a question–and I retreated. The fog around my heart made it hard for people to see me entirely, but it also let me hide when relationship struck too deep.

However, God would quickly allow someone to see past my composure and into the fog.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

–Psalm 139:14a

 As time carried on, one person found it his mission to know me—the ins and the outs, the composed pieces and the discarded ones. He succeeded; and, ended up becoming my husband in the process.

Justin was the first person, outside of family, that knew how broken my tender heart was. He got to see it all…the sobbing after my character was brought into question, my unique curiosity about the stories hidden within the homeless population, the process of yelling my prayers out.All of it. And it drove a layer of the fog away.

But, God wasn’t done.

He wanted me to see what He had created in me too. I had been blind to His creativity within me because nearly every time I hid myself, it was a test to see if I was worth being found. 

Nine times out of ten, I wasn’t worth being sought after. So, the creator of my life—Jesus–began to perform heart surgery on me. Lies were plucked out, doubts were thrown away, and insecurities were turned into strengths.

Doesn’t that sentence sound nice? What you cannot hear and what you cannot see was the excruciating pain involved in this process. I spent more time crying during this year-long season than any time before in my life. Everything about me was exposed to God’s fingertips and I felt alone in my vulnerability.

“No one sees me in this,” I often thought to myself. My eyes screamed at the people around me, “Look at me! Don’t ask me how I am because my mouth will lie. Just look at me!”

“The eye is the lamp of the body.” –Matthew 6:22a

It was when people—friends, family, even strangers—looked me in the eyes that I began to feel seen. This feeling was magnified when searching questions were asked.

How is your heart? Is this a hard season for you? Where do you need help? Why are you in pain? So, today, I find myself on the other side of heart surgery and with a new desire in my heart.

I want to be seen and known.

And, I want others to be seen in the world we all live in.

So, help me or join me by doing one of these things:

  • Look—not glance or avoid but look–into people’s eyes when you talk to them
  • Try to find out something new about the person you’re talking to
  • Ask intentional questions
  • Don’t avoid life’s messes; embrace them.
  • Pursue those the world might think are unlovable

Take time to recognize people and see them as they are: imperfect, hopeless/hope-filled souls who are desperate to have someone truly see them… and in the process, I hope you begin to see the world around you a little more like Jesus.