I waited and waited but nobody ever came. Finally, I left my secret place to meet my friends, feeling lonely and abandoned.
Having grown up a quiet, shy child I often struggled with making myself known to others. Building relationships was a challenge. I lacked confidence in conversing and my compliant behavior helped me blend into crowds rather than stand out. I often felt invisible.
My main means of expression came through sports and academics, both at the high school and university level. As I excelled in each area I received attention that gave me a sense of worth. I inwardly craved verbal compliments after a solid athletic performance or an excellent score on a test. In those moments I was no longer hidden, but seen as a person with talents and abilities of noticeable value.
Throughout this time, God was in my life. I made a decision to be a Christ-follower at the age of five with the guidance of my mother. While I knew that Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins I did not fully understand at that young age how He could change my life. The personal, relational nature of God remained a mystery to me.
After graduating from university I again felt hidden as I began a job in a new location where I hardly knew anyone. I was lonely and relationally vulnerable during this time. So, when I quickly met a person with whom conversation came easy, I naturally wanted to develop a friendship. This person believed in me and saw value in me, even when I did not see it within myself. I was praised for strengths I never knew I had. However, as time went on I realized that I was becoming emotionally dependent on this individual to meet my needs. Even though I was following Christ I had replaced His love with the instant gratification I received through the encouragement and affirmation of my friend.
The Lord took me through a process of healing and embracing the depth of His love for me. I grew in understanding the personal nature of God on a deeper level. When I read the book of 1 John in the Bible I realized that not only is God crazy about me, but He initiated His love towards me. “We love because [God] first loved us”. He pursued me first. I am not forgotten or hidden in His eyes. Nor did He abandon me. I realized that if the God of the universe unconditionally loves and accepts me I must be pretty special. These truths brought such freedom in my life. I had chosen to use sports, grades, and relationships to fulfill my desire to be known, but God never stopped noticing me all along.
Traci A.