To Know and to Be Known…

One of the most incredible privileges I’ve come into as part of my cross-country move has been the privilege of really getting to know people and allowing people to really get to know me.

Though I have met a lot of new people since my move, most of the people I spend my time with are people that I actually met before I moved. Because I had lived 3,000 miles away, I had gotten to know my friends by social media or email, or by 2 AM phone calls—the laughing kind and the crying kind, or by quick dinners snatched during my occasional visits to Portland. And whether it’s because of the phenomenal caliber of people I’ve been blessed with as my friends or whether I’ve just been astoundingly lucky (I believe the former)—we really did get to know each other fairly well before my move. When I got out of my car in Clark County, I already knew that I had friends here that I could trust with my life.

I’m more than amazed to say that it’s gotten better. My heart just keeps growing, and my love and trust just keep getting deeper. Because the more time I spend with this extraordinary group of people that I’m surrounded by here, the more I get to know them. And the more I get to know them, the more I can’t help but love them. They make me better. They make me stronger. They make me want to be better and stronger. And they make me want to love bigger and harder and better.

I don’t just find myself knowing my friends better. I find myself knowing myself better. I see flaws I had never seen before, that I realize have to be dealt with. I see strengths I never knew I had before, because nobody had ever told me they were strengths before, or that I had never seen before because I had never needed to be strong in those areas before. I hope and pray that I am becoming—not a different, unrecognizable person—but the very best version of the me that I was always intended to be.

Now that I’m starting to really know who I am, I’m learning that it’s okay to let other people know me for who I am. I’m letting people see neuroses that I’ve always hidden before. (Some of those aforementioned flaws I’m dealing with, I hope.) I’m letting people see me laugh when I’m happy and cry when I’m sad. I’m opening the blinds of the rooms of my heart and letting people see in—whereas before, I let very few really see. And I’m finding that more often than not, my friends can be trusted. They may not always agree or understand, but they accept. And acceptance is a wonderful, beautiful thing because it means that you belong.

One of the issues I’ve dealt with over the years is a deep fear of men. I suppose this isn’t shocking, with my history of abuse. Throughout the years, I felt that I had learned that no man was safe, because even married men have treated me in inappropriate ways. A couple of years ago, I had gotten to the point that when my girlfriends would invite me to do things with their families, I couldn’t even sit next to their husbands because my fear was so great. I lived in constant fear of what man was going to victimize me next.

God decided to use some pretty special guys to help me. Nick was the first. Then Dale. Ryan. Tim. Andy. Malcolm. Chris. Don. And over the years, God has sent me a solid group of male friends who have, through their actions, their words, their friendship, their trustworthiness, their gentleness—have taught me that not all men need to be feared. And this weekend, when one of my brother-friends put his arms around me to hug me and he pulled me close enough to hear his heartbeat, I felt healing that I hadn’t realized existed. I have met some brothers—I know them and I am known by them—I am understood, accepted, and loved—I belong and I’m safe.

Now that I’ve probably shared too much of the personal stuff going on in my life right now, let me drag this back to our discussion about Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. Tozer says, “A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.”

I love how Tozer personifies God. And to me, God has always been real. When Genesis talks about how God walked with Adam and Eve, in the Garden, in the cool of the day, I believe that. I believe He really walked with them. And I believe that He walks with me. But the entirety of my life is an exercise in getting to know Him and accepting that I am known and accepted by Him, and that I belong to Him and am safe with Him.

It is this knowledge that is bringing me to the place that I can feel safe and loved and accepted by others. I love all of my friends, but I know that they aren’t perfect or all-knowing. They don’t have all of life’s answers and they aren’t strong enough to protect me from all of the big scary things that life faces me with. Only God can do all of that—though He sometimes uses my friends to help take care of me.

So, while I love my friends and I welcome every opportunity to spend time with them and get to know them better, my prayer is that I never lose my focus on that personal God that walks with me—not just in the cool of the evening, but also in the hottest trials and the darkest nights.

This post is part of our weekly discussion on AW Tozer’s classic, The Pursuit of God. You don’t have to be reading the book to join the conversation, in fact, jump right on in! If you’ve written a response to this week’s chapter, please feel free to link up at the widget below. Also, run by my co-facilitator, Jason’s site, Connecting to Impact, and see what he has to say! 

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. So thankful for a personal God who experiences life with us. He uses people, like you said, but He also comforts, sustains, and makes Himself known in a variety of other ways if we pay attention. Every taste makes me hungry for more! Thanks Sarah.

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, sometimes, if we’re not paying attention, He will find ways of GETTING our attention, too! 😉

    Thanks for coming by!

  3. As you were writing about how you’ve gotten to know yourself better by knowing your friends better, I was thinking the same holds true with God. As we get to know Him, we know more about ourselves (and usually not always good things!). But in order to have that intimacy, just like with friends, God needs to see us cry, laugh, and be vulnerable. And one of His truest blessings is the people he puts in our lives that we can be real with. I’m so happy to hear abour your friendships- it is encouraging to see God working in that way.

Speak Your Mind

*