Psalm 139 1-6 says this, “O LORD, you have searched 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.”
I remember being younger and avoiding this passage like the plague. With younger eyes, and sometimes still even through my current lenses, the encouraging words of the Psalmist felt threatening. To be seen and known and deeply understood meant to be shamed and abandoned and hurt. The unconditional love of God was actually not so. In fact, it was very conditional—contingent upon not only my behavior, but what sat behind my behavior, my heart, my mind, my dreams, me.
I’m not shy about my mental health. I’ve written and spoken about it often. I struggle pretty heavily with anxiety. It is not the ruler of my life, but it’s a monster that lurks in corners at night and attempts to have tea with me in the afternoon sun. It’s a royal pain in the ass and the practical means by which I cope with this monster are ones that I owe deep gratitude (lookin’ at your therapy and medicine!)
Over the past several months, the attacks of anxiety that have harassed my mind and heart have been some of the worst of my life. And simultaneously, I have never been more sure of the Lord’s love for me. Still, I have previously remembered that truth better. You see, the thing about growing up and being in your twenties is that it’s hard. No one knows what they’re doing. Everyone is faking it until the make it (and even then, faking it often seems like the best option). Sexy vulnerability is running rampant. CVS and Walgreens have a steady flow of Millennials picking up prescriptions. Bars are always busy. Offices have tear soaked bathroom floors. And we all realize that this is a part of life and that we need not take ourselves so seriously, that we need to breathe, that working hard is a good thing, that community is essential, that we’re not alone…
And yet…I sit and wonder, “Am I worth it?” “Am I lovable?” “Am I too much?” “Will anxiety get the last word?”
The answers to those questions are yes, yes, no, and no, respectively. I know this. I believe this. I repeat this. I forget this.
So in comes Psalm 139. My God, he has searched me. Not only that, he knows me. He knows the thoughts of excitement and joy I feel are too silly to share with anyone. The irrational worries I believe are safer kept inside. He sees and he sets up camp. Preparing a meal and setting the table, my God makes me feel at home in my messy, sinful heart.
As I lay my head down and ask, “Daddy, will you stay until I fall asleep?” He says, Of course,” watching over me and calming the thoughts that would otherwise keep me up at night. While I toss and turn, he is there. When I awake, before I speak, the Lord has met and answered every need I could bring up. Before me, behind me, beside me—my God, my defender, my protector, my friend—He is there and he isn’t running away.
Indeed, like the Psalmist, “such knowledge is too wonderful for me…” To be so seen and simultaneously so loved. I was made for my God. I was made to love and be loved by Him. I was made to be utterly dependent.
And while I can rest in this assurance, I must also be active. Yes, I must be an active participant in my sanctification. Right now, that looks like letting myself fall apart. Right now that looks like, again, taking down the mask that I have re-structured around my face. It looks like practicing humility in asking for help. It looks like being wrong. It looks like letting people in. It looks like allowing myself to disappoint people. It looks like prayer and praise.
I am seen.
I am known.
I am safe.
I am okay.
I am okay.
I am okay.
“As I grow
And as I change
May I love You more deeply
I will lean upon Your grace
I will weep because Your goodness is unendingYou are my vision
My reason for living
Your kindness leads me to repentance
I can’t explain it
This sweet assurance
But I’ve never known this kind of friend”Hidden || United Pursuit
I love you. Hold me. See me. Know you.
May I be more like you.]