Known and Loved
Good afternoon from Managua, Nicaragua!
In October, Jen and I attended the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA. The theme of the conference was “Known”. A few weeks ago I wrote about one of my takeaways from the conference and the theme; that we should be the person we were created to be. Another important concept that was talked about frequently at the conference is something that has frequently occupied my thoughts and has impacted the way we have done things in Nicaragua. It is something that I believe can greatly affect the way a person sees life and the possibilities that exist for them. What is this concept? It is whether or not a person believes they are fully known and fully loved by the God that created them.
The idea of being fully known by anyone is somewhat strange. As humans, we tend to be very good at hiding things that we do not want other people to see, including God if we believe in him. There are many reasons for this, but in most cases I believe it all centers around a belief that people will not like us if they actually know us. Sometimes this is due to a past experience and sometimes it comes from an inner sense of shame. Whatever the reason, we protect ourselves from being fully known because we believe it will prevent us from being loved. While this may be a good thing at times, it can also harm us and prevent us from growing in many areas of our life. What if it is possible to be fully know and yet fully loved?
Many of the Psalms in the book of Psalms in the Bible were written by David. There is one “Psalm of David”, as they call it that sticks out in my mind. It starts out saying, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me,” (Psalm 139:1, NIV) and continues to discuss how fully David believed God knew him. In fact, it says that God “knit him together in his mother’s womb”. If that is not being fully known that I don’t know what is. When describing David, they called him a “Man after God’s own heart”, meaning his connection with God and His will were about as close as it could get. David not only believed God knew him, he believed God loved him. This is shown in one of David’s lowest moments. After committing adultery with another man’s wife, David had the man killed in hopes of covering it up. Through a prophet named Nathan, David is reminded that he may be able to hide things from other people, but not from the God who created him. After realizing the gravity of his situation, David wrote Psalm 51, which starts out, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1) David knew he was fully known, but he also knew he was fully loved and could be forgiven and restored. I believe this greatly impacted the way David perceived his life and God’s plan it, and allowed him to live fully and make a great impact on the world.
I believe the same can be true for us. In my experience, understanding that I am fully known and fully loved has given me the confidence I need to be fully me. Much like hearing the words “I love you” from someone you love and respect, knowing someone who knows everything about you, both the good and the bad, loves you changes your perception of yourself. I no longer have to hide because I have been found worthy of love by the Creator of the world. I believe understanding this makes a huge difference in a person’s life, especially someone who believes there is no hope like many of the impoverished of Nicaragua. If the God who created you fully knows you and fully loves you, why wouldn’t he have a great plan for your life? This is a lot of hope found in finding out you are both fully known and fully loved. I hope you fully understand that today.
– James Belt