Fully known. Fully loved.
We all want to be attractive to others. And though that certainly includes physical attraction, I’m talking about something even deeper than that. We want to be the kind of people that others are attracted to. We want to be thought of as funny, talented, intelligent, cool, beautiful, etc.
Attraction is exciting, and it feels good to know others are impressed with you and want to be around you.
To some degree, this desire is often at play in our social media posts. We want people to think of us a certain way so we portray that in our photos and posts. The approval and admiration of others is intoxicating.
The problem is that we are not fulfilled by others being attracted to us or impressed by us alone. That’s cool at first but at some point, you want to be known. Known and loved. That only comes from living authentically.
Authenticity is about being true to who you really are; who you were created to be. It’s tempting to pretend so that we don’t risk anything, but only risky vulnerability will get you intimacy. We don’t need more people who are impressed with us or fooled by an act. We don’t need anymore surface level, fake relationships. Don’t we all have enough of those? We need love.
Being open and honest with others leads to deeper relationships. When you let your friend come over even though your hair is a mess or there’s laundry everywhere, you are being real. When you share with those you trust what is really going on in your life and heart, you deepen and strengthen those bonds.
Not only that, but you become known and pave the way for them to be open as well. When you share all of you- the good, the bad, and the ugly, you are risking something. You are making rejection possible. Maybe they won’t like you anymore. That’s scary. But then, do you need people in your life who don’t like who you really are or do you need people in your life who will love you anyway and help you to become more like who you want to be?
I’ll take the latter any day. But that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve had friends crush me with their rejection. “Friends” who dipped when real problems arose in my life and things got hard. Going through rejection made me scared to try intimacy again and so I went through a period of keeping everything shallow. I ran from deep relationships. This was safe. There was no chance of rejection in living like this. No one could hurt me. However, no one could love me either. I was alone.
Opening myself up again required so much stretching and pain. But the rewards have been great. Being in real community with people who really care about me and want the best for me is beautiful. It’s our job, our privilege, to embody unconditional love to others. It’s our job to strive to really know others and to be fully known by others and then to press in and continue to love.
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” -Timothy Keller