At my most recent women’s bible study we played Pictionary as a way to share something about us that no one else in the room knows. This wasn’t intended to be a spill your guts activity, it was an icebreaker, but the prospect of sharing something even superficial about myself elevated my heart rate.
Panic. Panic. Panic.
What should I share? I suddenly couldn’t think of ANYTHING remotely interesting about myself and I DESPERATELY wanted to share the one detail about my life that would show the other ladies how fabulous and mysterious and intelligent and sophisticated and brilliant and perfect I am.
I have two kids? No, that wouldn’t work they all saw me walk in with them.
I’m from Illinois? Who Cares!
I like to read? So does everyone else.
I have a cat?
Hmmm, I thought to myself, maybe I should share something real and deep.
Panic Panic Panic
Nevermind! Ahhh, it’s almost my turn!
I broke Amanda’s princess wand at my 6th grade Halloween Party??? How would I draw that?
Is there NOTHING interesting I can share with these people??!!
I ended up drawing something totally lame. TOTALLY LAME. Not even gonna mention it here. I’m just gonna move on to the sappy spiritual stuff I usually write.
I desperately want to share myself with those around me yet I panic when the time comes to actually live out that vulnerability and I end up trying to put forth what I think might make me look the best.
That’s exhausting, let me tell you.
But it’s better than the alternative.
Rejection, dislike, disapproval. No thanks.
I fear that the people I am exposing myself to, whether in a silly game or in a deep conversation, will not see me, just the thing that I choose to share.
There is such a deep desire in me to be known and affirmed and accepted. I think we can easily point a finger at social media for making us a bunch of narcissists, there is certainly some truth in that, but really Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr and Twitter (and whatever else is out there that all those young kids these days are using) are at their core a women’s bible study game of Pictionary, just a means to let others know HEY YOU! THIS IS ME!
I’m funny, I’m passionate, I’m smart, I’m silly, I’m kind! KNOW ME!
I’m broken and I break other peoples’ things and I am undeniably boring at times. KNOW ME!
Jesus happens to be REALLY good, the best actually, at knowing not just the persona I put forward, but the real me. The me that longs for validation.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus acknowledges this is in fact a great guy- an Isrealite in whom there is no deceit – and I think he knows that this is EXACTLY how Nathanael wants to be known.
Just like I want to be known in a certain way.
And Nathanael, at seeing how this Rabbi is so impressed with him, is all like, “yep that’s me! How did you know how awesome I was? Word must get around!”
But I know Jesus, and I know his power and precision in choosing words, and I know his ability and desire to cut through flattery when dealing with grown-ups, especially those he wants to disciple, and move right to the true heart residing within.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
What I want to know is WHAT WAS NATHANAEL DOING UNDER THE FIG TREE???!!!
This has always bothered me. What was he thinking? What was he feeling? What was he doing? Was he sinning? Was he mourning? Was he repenting? Was he lamenting? Was he perhaps not acting the part of a man “in whom there is no deceit”?
I don’t think Nathanael is impressed that Jesus knew his geographic location. I think something significant, good or bad, was going on over there.
Whatever it was, it caused Nathanael to move passed being impressed that this Jesus of Nazareth had heard of his upstanding reputation, to shout out “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel!”
Any old fool can know our name, can know our reputation, can be impressed (or not) with the random things we share in ice breaker activities.
Only the Son of God sees me under the fig tree.
So often I try to tell God what I think he wants to hear. I put forward to Jesus a persona that I think I am, that I want others to believe, that I genuninely want to be.
Supermom and saint is usually how it goes…
And I want a reaction. I want impressed. I want validation. I want acknowledgement.
But Jesus doesn’t give me what I want.
He gives me what I need.
He validates and acknowledges and sees and loves and affirms and SAVES what’s underneath the Pictionary drawing.
I saw you under the fig tree…
I saw you weeping.
I saw you sinning.
I saw you lonely.
I saw you hiding.
I saw you loving.
I saw you praying.
I saw you ashamed.
I saw YOU.
And if you want to be supermom and saint to everyone else that’s fine. But I see you.
I don’t love supermom, but I do love you.
And daughter through my grace, and my grace only, I will make you a saint.