Being Seen

Many fear it, but Friday the 13th is special to me. It’s a day I set aside to thank God for rescuing me from certain death on a Friday the 13th many years ago. I thank Him for preparing me and my surroundings for that day and every day. As I think about how I’ll mark this particular Friday the 13th, it seems God is reminding me that He saw me then, a vulnerable little girl, and He sees me now.

 It’s a basic human need to feel seen—really seen. We may wear masks because we think we want to be seen in a certain way with only minor cutesy faults or without blemishes, but we really want to know that someone knows and loves the real us. God made us to have connections with Him and each other. Feeling seen — really seen — is necessary for connection.

We can be in a large crowd, seeing and being seen by many, but feeling unseen. In traffic, everyone is busily rushing to their own obligations. We’re grieving but feel the need to smile and keep moving, still we need someone to notice, to see, to listen. It can seem like everyone is wrapped up in themselves without a thought for the people around them. We can indeed, at times, all be guilty of self-absorption, but our loving Father God always sees us. He listens and sends others to us. He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He wants us to see each other, but He knows we’re not perfect. He is patient and forgives us when we miss those opportunities.

Distress can be subtle—difficult to see behind our masks. We want and need to be seen, but we fear it. We fear others will see those things with which we shame ourselves. We fear they may see them and judge us, then worse, leave us. We fear being seen and we fear being unseen. We let most people see only a little. Allowing people to really see us leaves us vulnerable. Certainly, not everyone can be trusted to know everything about us, but God sees us. We can trust Him. He sees and loves us. He wants good for us and knows more about what we need than we’re capable of knowing.

Back to that Friday the 13th so long ago when smoke and fire temporarily took my sight. If I couldn’t see, how could anyone see me? It’s a question with which I still struggle sometimes. Being seen is necessary for survival, or at least that’s how it feels. At my most difficult times and every day, God reminds me that He sees me. Only He could rescue me, and I can always depend on Him to see me in any place, in any condition; in want, in need, in gratitude, He knows me.

He sees me. He sees you. He loves you.