How much of who I think you are is actually just a projection of my interpretation of who I hope you are? How can I ever know?

Have you ever had someone attribute a characteristic to you and suddenly you realize they do not know you at all, they have projected a set of traits on you that are not just inaccurate but completely wrong?

Is there any more basic need than the need to be known? Known fully and loved both because of and in spite of the knowing.

I’ve only really ‘heard’ God speak to me two times and the first was about this knowing. I was driving from Ohio to Missouri and I had just learned my precious Aunt was battling stomach cancer. I was so so worried for her and I decided to use my 8 hour drive to just pray. So I did, I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and after awhile I realized that I was no longer praying about my Aunt. Somehow my mind had drifted and I had begun to pray about someone else that needed a lot of help at that point in my life – me. When I realized that I had abandoned my original intent to pray for my Aunt I was so angry with myself. I started telling God what a horrible and selfish person I was in great detail. I only stopped the indictment when in the midst of my tirade I was interrupted and I was alone.

“I know you.” In the midst of me telling Him who I was He lovingly said, “I know you.” And I felt it, completely and totally. A resonating…knowing. Deep in my soul – He showed me who I was. He showed me what He saw and He showed me who I really am. The real, redeemed me. He sees me beyond my limitations. He sees past my shortcomings. He sees the potential – both met and strived for. He knows me more fully than I know myself.

Just knowing God sees the me He created, even though I see the me bound up here in my foibles and muck is enough. There really is a woman who is beyond even the woman I aspire to be and someday I will be restored to her.

God knows us fully but we only see a part, the part that is bound up in this challenging life. Learning this, I have decided to try and accept the good I see in other people as accurate but to discount the things I don’t understand. I think that leaves room for someone to be more than what I see on any given day.

Isn’t that what we all need – room to be more than we are when we fall short?

I try to be cognizant of what I know vs what I think I know. It’s difficult to check your projections at the door but great fun to try. When I meet new people I try to identify what it is I’ve truly learned vs what I’ve added in. It’s amazing how we fill out the picture of people we meet. We take very few facts and viola – we can tell you all about someone.

Because I know how many kids you have, your marital status, where you go to church or don’t go to church, and where you work does not mean I know you. To know you I would have to know what makes you cry, what makes you laugh – and why? What do you regret and what are you proud of? When you are all alone – what do you think about, how do you spend your time? What do you not want anyone to know and why does it cause you such shame and why can’t you set it down? What do you need from me to truly consider me a friend? What dreams have you given up and what dreams will you still pursue?

And even then….we all have lived our own reality with our own paradigms. Even two siblings can have vastly different versions of their shared childhood. We have no choice but to project our framework onto one another. I may never really know you, but an earnest endeavor to try is my pledge.

Here’s to knowing you…

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