Ok, friends, we have to talk about this. It has been almost two weeks since I published I See You, and the response has been overwhelming. I witnessed the emotional response when I offered the words at church, but the conversations – both in person and online – that I have had since then have just blown me away. Why? Because out of a question to God and the words that came from the answer, it has become abundantly clear that I managed to tap into a wellspring of pain.
While both men and women have talked to me about I See You, a great majority of the women have come with questions and stories that have been buried in pain, and that pain has been buried in fear. Some of these women asked me if they could really dare to hope that God actually saw them.
(And let’s stop right there for a second. I’m no theologian or guru or anything that makes me the person to be answering that question. The fact that people wanted the answer from me tells me how desperate they were to hear it.)
Instead of answering the question, I dug deeper into why it was a question to begin with. These were women of faith; why would they question whether God sees them? The answers that I got from them boiled down to a sense of inadequacy, which in turn led to this belief that they were somehow unworthy to be seen by the very God who created them. Ok, so why did these women feel inadequate to begin with??
Y’all. I didn’t see it coming, but maybe I should have. Many women pointed out how they didn’t measure up to a certain person in the Bible, and it wasn’t Jesus.
It was the Proverbs 31 Woman. Seriously.
If you’re unfamiliar with this woman, here’s a refresher for you:
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
On principle, I don’t have a problem with this woman, but I don’t think she’s real. I think she’s an ideal whose character and integrity we should aspire to, but I don’t think she’s real. When does she sleep? How about self-care? When does she meet her tribe of girls for coffee or wine? How about date nights with the hubby? Yes, I’ve Westernized this like none other, but you get my drift. She’s someone to aspire to, but she’s not the measuring stick against which we should be judging ourselves.
If I See You broke your heart wide open because you feel like there’s no way God could possibly see you and love you in your inadequacy, I want you to think about something. God gave His Son for you. And then He kept pursuing you. (Y’all, I love you, but there’s no way on God’s green earth that I would sacrifice my daughter for you. Not any of you. In fact, my parental instinct is to do whatever it takes to save my child. God did the exact opposite.)
Do something for me for a second. Close your eyes. Imagine that you’re sitting at God’s feet. Now look up, look at His face. (No, I don’t know what God’s face looks like; that’s why you’re imagining this.) What do you see? Are you afraid to even look because you are convinced that there will be nothing but judgment and disgust on His face? Look, please, because there’s grace in those eyes. Grace and love and peace and a deep desire for your heart to be at rest. The judgment you’re convinced will be there is a prison of your own making, and the door is wide open. Walk out, walk in freedom, and bask in the reality that He sees you.
He sees you. He knows you. He loves you.