I shared this the other day on Instagram, “I saw Luke through my bedroom window the other day. His horse was hurt and had stepped out to call the vet.
This…this caught my breath. He’s suddenly taller, broader, his voice is deeper–so are his thoughts.
Seeing him like this, coming off a week of pondering beauty and how we see ourselves vs how others see you… Maybe more important than telling people they’re pretty, handsome or beautiful…maybe we can tell them, “I see you.” When someone tells us we’re pretty, handsome or beautiful we might think it’s because of what we’re wearing or how our hair looks.
But to hear, “I see you…” can you even imagine hearing those words?!!? One of my new favorite songs, “Duet” by Penny and Sparrow contains these lines,
Because I’ve seen you and I know you and I’m not going anywhere.
Friends, I pray someone lets you know you’re seen today. MORE IMPORTANTLY, I challenge you to see someone today AND let them know you see them. They may not understand what that means–that you “know” them and you’re not going anywhere; that’s ok, you know what it means.”
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I saw Luke through my bedroom window the other day. His horse was hurt and had stepped out to call the vet. This…this caught my breath. He’s suddenly taller, broader, his voice is deeper–so are his thoughts. Seeing him like this, coming off a week of pondering beauty and how we see ourselves vs how others see you… Maybe more important than telling people they’re pretty, handsome or beautiful…maybe we can tell them, “I see you.” When someone tells us we’re pretty, handsome or beautiful we might think it’s because of what we’re wearing or how our hair looks. But to hear, “I see you…” can you even imagine hearing those words?!!? One of my new favorite songs, “Duet” by Penny and Sparrow contains these lines, Because I’ve seen you and I know you and I’m not going anywhere. Friends, I pray someone let’s you know you’re seen today. MORE IMPORTANTLY, I challenge you to see someone today AND let them know you see them. They may not understand what that means–that you “know” them and you’re not going anywhere; that’s ok, you know what it means💕
The Unseen Work
Friends, do you realize how little we truly see each other? More often than not, life is like looking at a pond of ducks. We see them quietly floating along without realizing the paddling that is going on just beneath the surface.
It’s the same with every single person we meet, know, and even love. We have no idea the crazy paddling that is going on just below the surface, and sometimes, all the way to the depths of a person. So much of the work–the paddling, others are doing is hard, messy, scary, and ugly. And unseen–don’t forget so much of the hard mental, emotional, and spiritual work a person does is unseen and unnoticed–purposefully hidden.
And the glimpse into other’s lives that we do see, well I can guarantee it’s only the surface, the tip of the iceberg, the only parts they are comfortable enough to share and show–or the ones that are too hard to keep hidden and they peek out, or bust out beyond restraint.
I know from experience how hard some of that work can be and feel and how life-sucking and maybe even life-threatening it can seem. Guess what, people don’t just share that kind of soul work with too many people; it’s not really school pick-up line conversation. It’s not really coffee and donuts after church conversation. It’s not even block the aisle at the grocery store with two carts when you run into a friend, conversation.
That hard, messy work, that crazy paddling under the surface of everyday life may not even be a conversation you share with those closest to you.
There are a couple of reasons why this hard work remains hidden.
One, we’re afraid of what others may think of us. Duh. Nobody wants others to think they are crazy, dramatic, self-absorbed, mentally ill or need an exorcism. Trust me when I tell you, someone in the throes of some messy, ugly, deep mental and emotional work already feels all of those things about themselves. They don’t need to watch you try to cover your surprise with an emphatic tone. They surely don’t want to see the shock–maybe even horror in your eyes either.
Two, it hurts. It hurts like no other pain you can experience. People frantically paddling below the surface so they appear serene(ish) on top don’t want others to feel the type of pain and the amount of pain they’re feeling. They don’t want to scare others because they’re too scared of themselves, too scared themselves, and can not mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually attend to anyone else to help ease someone else’s fears; they’re fighting a mighty battle just to try to get a handle on their own.
So this is what happens, they battle seemingly alone in the quiet shadows of life. You know the familiar daily places of every day life–it’s where the laundry has been washed, dried, folded, and put away. Where the groceries have been bought, the meals cooked and the kitchen cleaned. Where the kids have been driven here and there and back again too many times to count. Where they’ve loved their spouse late in the night when the house settled down and they’ve responded “I’m fine” for the last time.
Then they are “free” to feel like they’re going to lose their mind or their you know what or their soul–maybe all three. But there’s literally no time for that because they have to get up the next morning and repeat all the things for all the people the next day…and all the days that follow.
I See You
But every once in a while…every once in a while, you come across a person that sees you. And I don’t mean with their eyes only. The Bible mentions a phrase, “eyes of the heart.” And you recall that phrase and know, that’s how they are seeing you.
And every once in a while you come across someone who you see…you really see. You see them with the eyes of your heart and when you get brave enough to let them know…when you get brave enough to speak the words, “I see you,” you both just might cry or at least almost cry.
Those three words, “I see you,” are some of the most powerful words that can ever be spoken. Maybe even more so than “I love you.”
You see, so many people have a distorted idea or experience of love, so when someone says, “I love you,” it runs through a broken filter so to speak and doesn’t necessarily settle well, or down deep as the speaker may have intended; that’s assuming the speaker had clear and pure intentions.
“I love you” can be a loaded phrase filled with expectant intentions, emotional baggage, or anticipatory ideas of return affection. But not “I see you.”
I See Who You Are
Every human person has the innate desire to be seen. To be recognized as among the living–such a funny way to put it–as someone worthy of the time and space they live and move in. And when they aren’t seen, I mean really seen, they question their existence.
It takes a tremendous amount of fortitude and courage to continue moving forward when someone feels unseen and even unheard. They feel like if no one sees them among the living, no one will miss seeing them if they’re among the dead.
And as I mentioned in the Instagram post, one of the greatest gifts we can give someone is to let them know we see them. Not their haircut or new shoes. Not their weightloss or new glasses. Them. PERIOD.
As I’m contemplating this topic of really seeing people, I think of the different places in the Scriptures where it refers to the “eyes of the heart.” When I think about that phrase in light of this post, I think to see someone with the eyes of your heart means you see them beyond the externals, the temporal and the temporary; you see who they really are.
Seeing someone with the eyes of your heart allows you to see the Divine imprint they carry within; made in the image and likeness of their Creator.
But What if No One Sees You?
You, my friend, are always held in the sight of God. I know, we want to hear it from someone we love, admire, respect, a friend or even a random stranger. But sometimes other people aren’t brave enough to step forward and tell you they see you. Run to God. Open His love letter to you, His Word, and find verses that tell of His unrelenting watchfulness. Here are a few to get you started.
The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.
The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.
For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Friends, I challenge you…I double-dog dare you to tell someone you see them today. Look, it doesn’t have to be a serious, grip on the shoulder, stare deeply into the eyes, “I see you” conversation. It can be a simple, “Hey Girl! I see you!” If they haven’t read this post, they may not know exactly what you’re saying to them. (By the way! If you’re reading this blog, shouldn’t your friends be too?)
They may not know what you’re saying-saying, but they will know that your words have touched a deeper place in their heart, mind, and soul, than a simple, “Nice shoes” ever will.