Sunday, August 20, 2017

When You Feel Invisible and Like You Don't Matter


            I woke up this morning feeling pretty good.  I noticed that I didn’t feel any of the anxiety that hits me in the morning.  I felt a sense of peace and calmness.

            And then before I even had my coffee … a little bird crashed into the window and died.  I have a special spot for birds in my heart - because in times of extreme loneliness and “depression” over the past few years, I found comfort in the birds in my backyard, in the life and joy they added.  I would stand at the backdoor and watch them flitting to and fro among the sunflowers and roses and cosmos, and I would smile. 

            So it made me sad to see this little bird lying there with a broken neck, blood coming out of its mouth.  It was so tiny.  So fragile.  So helpless.  So much like me. 

            Even something as little as that can set me off sometimes.  Suddenly, I began to feel a little tickle of panic in my brain, the feeling of “I can’t do it all.  I can’t do anything.  There’s so much I can’t handle or fix or control.  I can’t help people in ways I want to.  I can’t do all I need to do around here.  I can’t keep up with it all.  And even the things I can do, no one notices anyway.  No one cares what I do.  No one is there for me the way I need them to be.  No one sees how much I hurt.  I can’t … I can’t … I can’t … No … No … No.”

            And in the midst of this self-berating, I heard two words in my heart.  Two, tiny quiet words, in the way that God often seems to speak to me - quiet, barely a whisper, easily missed if I don’t pay attention:

            “I see.”

            Just “I see.”

            I see. 

            And within this “I see” was a deeper message:  “I see you there … trying so hard, faithfully doing your best to shoulder your crosses daily, faithfully doing the small, everyday, unglamorous jobs that come with being a wife and mother.  I see the ways you care for others, reach out to others, love others, even if no one else notices.  I see the struggles and the ache and the loneliness and the lostness and the dashed dreams and how you try to grow through it all instead of just becoming bitter.  I see you.  Even if no one else does.  Even when you feel invisible and like what you do doesn’t matter, I see you.  And you matter to Me.”

 

      I am not invisible.

      You are not invisible.

      He sees!

 

            As I sat at the table drinking my coffee, contemplating this “I see,” I thought of a verse:

            “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4) 

            The One who is in you … the One who is in you.

            “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you?”  (1 Cor. 3:16)

            The Holy Spirit Himself – God in the spirit – came to live in us the moment we became believers.  He lives in broken, hurting, messy, don’t-have-it-all-together people.  He is in us, closer than anyone else could ever be.  He is so close that whatever happens to us, happens to Him, too. 

            I never really thought about it that way before.  That whatever happens to me also happens to Him.  He is a part of all we do – He is in the broken, hurting mess with us - because He is in us (not just with us), going through it all, too. 

            When we are wronged, He is wronged.  When we hurt, He hurts with us.  When we struggle and are in need and can’t do it all, He is there helping us through it all.  When we don’t know what to do, He gently guides and whispers directions.  When we feel like collapsing under the weight of it all, He helps us carry the burdens, the crosses, because He is in us … and He is greater than anything (than the enemies we face) in this world.  When we feel like no one notices our efforts and our contributions and our faithfulness in the small, daily, unglamorous jobs, He notices … because He is a part of it all, guiding us into faithful obedience which results in eternal rewards, no matter what rewards it brings us (or doesn’t bring us) in this lifetime.  When we feel like we don’t matter and like we are invisible, He sees us.  Because He lives in us.  Closer than anyone else could ever be.

 

            I often feel like I am stumbling through my day, stumbling through obedience, through life.  Wondering if what I do really matters or if my efforts will succeed in any real way. 

            “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”  (Psalm 37:24)

             “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)    

            “ . . . whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

            I might not be able to trust myself most days, but I can trust Him.  If He is pleased with my efforts and the path I am walking, then no matter how insignificant I think I am or how little I feel I can do or how pathetic my efforts are or how much I feel I am going to fail, He will work it out.  He will keep me from falling, from failing.  He will uphold me and work it all into something good, if I am working for Him with all my heart. 

            Because He notices.  Because He is always with us.  Because He lives in us,

 

            Something I noticed about this “I see” (and with another thing I recently “heard” from God: “Trust Me”) is that He didn’t give me any specific details.  He doesn’t tell me what my efforts will accomplish.  No promises or rewards right now.  No “let Me show you the big picture right now and how all your efforts will pay off.” 

            Just “I see.”    

            “I see you and all you do and all your pain … it matters to Me … you matter to Me … and that’s all you really need to know right now.”

            “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38-39)

           

          We are never alone.

          We are never invisible.

          We always matter to Someone, to the only One whose opinion really matters – our Heavenly Father.

 

            “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  (Matthew 10:29-31)

            That bird that died under my window this morning might not have had any value to the world.  No one knew its name or where it lived.  No one saw it or cared about it. 

            But God did. 

            It was here for the glory of God.  It was here because God wanted it.  It mattered enough to Him that He created it and provided for it and was there when it died.

            That little bird was seen by God.  It mattered to God.

            How much more do we matter to Him?  How much more does He see the “insignificant” things we do, our tiny, pathetic, unnoticed efforts, the ways we try to glorify Him, our hurts and scars and longings, the things that no one else sees or cares about?

            It matters to Him.  We matter to Him.  So much so that He knows every time a hair falls from our head.

 

            “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  (Gal. 6:9)

            “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Jesus you are serving.”  (Col. 3:23-24)

            Remember that we work for an audience of One – for the One who truly sees us and cares about us and who will reward our faithfulness in the end.

            If I am working for Him with all my heart, if I am pouring my heart into the work I do for Him, then even the tiny things – washing dishes, making dinner, doing laundry, sharing vegetables from the garden with the neighbors, writing things no one reads, praying for a friend in need … even the tiny things are seen by Him and they matter and they will accomplish what He wants them to accomplish and they will be rewarded in the end.

            “Therefore, dear brothers [and sisters], stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  (1 Cor. 15:58)

 

            Someday, we’ll hear it … someday we’ll rest from our labors and our fears of failure, of not being good enough, from our loneliness and anxieties and struggles and doubts, and we’ll finally see the results of our efforts and hear the words that will make all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it:

            “… ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’”  (Matthew 25:21)

 

            Can you even imagine what that day will be like!

 

       He sees me.  He sees you.  I matter.  You matter.  And that’s all that really matters right now.

 

            “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)

 

            Therefore, “. . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  (Hebrews 12:1) 

 

            Because “… when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”  (1 Peter 5:4)

 

            “… ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”  (Hebrews 13:5)

 

                                      - Heather K (Joshua 24:15, Psalm 46:10)  

 

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