Fully Known, Fully Loved

 
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I never thought I’d get anxiety when hearing the words “I love you.” But there was a season of my life when compliments and phrases of affection would actually bring me intense anxiety. The reason is not that I didn’t want to be loved, or that I didn’t want affection. In fact, I dearly wanted to be loved! I felt anxious when hearing words of affirmation because I doubted if people would still love me if they truly got to know me. I wondered if my public persona was more impressive than who I was in reality, and if people would be disappointed when they discovered the real version of myself. I had developed a fear of intimacy, ultimately because of a fear of rejection.

Many of us have past experiences when we put our real selves forward and were not accepted. Whether it was friends who walked away from us or loved ones who didn’t reciprocate our love, we all have experienced rejection to some degree or form. As a result, we either try to hide our real selves to eliminate the possibility of rejection altogether, or try to package the best put-together version of ourselves thinking that it will increase our chances of being accepted. The problem is, this masks the issue for a short while, but puts us in the constant cycle of needing to audition for the approval of man. Auditioning for the approval of man puts us on a shaky foundation because it is conditional upon our ability to perform and conditional upon other’s opinions, which always changes.

The antidote to the fear of rejection is the truth of God’s acceptance. If our deepest fear is that we’d be rejected once fully known, our greatest confidence is knowing God loves us after He’s seen it all.

In Psalm 139, King David writes “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” Ps. 139:1-6. According to this passage, God already knows what thought we are going to think, even before we ever think it. How crazy is that! In these verses, David’s freedom was found in the fact that God knew every detail about him, yet still loved him. Being fully known by God allows us to come as we are, because our acceptance no longer has to do with our performance. Whether on our best day, or our worst day, we no longer need to hide our insecurities or use filters to mask our brokenness because God sees even the worst parts of us, yet still loves us!

God’s acceptance also means that we can take confidence in knowing He will never leave us. Though others may leave us after seeing our flaws, God promises to always be by our side. In fact, He is so present in our lives that even if we wanted to run away from God, we wouldn’t be able to! “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Ps 139:7-10. Our fear of being known is fueled by the possibility of people walking away from us. There’s freedom knowing that in spite of all our flaws, God is always here to stay. His right hand of favor holds onto us as an assurance of His Presence.

Lastly, God’s unending approval of us gives us a different narrative to choose from when the lies come our way. Instead of defining ourselves by our worst insecurities or people’s opinions about us, we have the alternative to meditate on God’s loving thoughts towards us. King David exclaimed in Ps. 139:17-18, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.” In other words, David felt joy and peace because he meditated on God’s loving thoughts towards him. He silenced the voice of his enemies and chose to give ear to only God’s opinions of him which gave him strength. If you want to be free from the fear of rejection, you must meditate on God’s Word. It’s knowing the truth of God’s Word that sets us free from the lies of the Enemy.

Today I am thankful for the friends and family who love me, but I’m also more at peace with those who are not as accepting. My value is not found in people but in Christ. Thank God that Jesus is a solid anchor! His love is our firm foundation.

For those who may feel anxious that your true self may not be loveable, think again. You are God’s masterpiece. You are God’s child made in His image. Every detail about you was masterfully and carefully formed by God, and you are His delight. May this truth encourage you today! You are fully known, and fully loved.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God.” -  Timothy Keller

Joshua Chun (@joshwchun) is the English Ministry Pastor at San Diego Calvary Korean Church. He received a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Life Pacific College and currently lives in Fullerton, CA.

 
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