To Know and Be Known

October 2022

As I was growing up, I remember wanting to know things.

For me it was mostly about the outdoors. I read outdoor adventure stories and magazines and could hardly wait to get outside and put what I was learning ‘to the test’. I joined the Scouts and spent most of my time involved with Scout activities and adventures. My family loved to camp, fish and hunt as well, and so it was no surprise that by the time I graduated from Highschool I had ’clocked’ more than 200 days and nights camping and exploring.

My desire for adventure has never really changed, but now I realize how much more I enjoy it when others are able to experience it with me. This is a curious thing because it’s not just my story, it’s Gods story as well. He lives a life of incredible adventure and beauty and joy, and He wants us to enjoy it with Him. Jesus reminds us of this when He says He wants us to experience the same joy He has with the Father. Joe Rigney of ‘Desiring God’ puts it this way, “. . . God has lavished his joy on Jesus so that Jesus can lavish that same joy on us, so that the love of the Father for the Son can be in us (John 17:26). Jesus gives us his joy (John 17:13), the joy that he received from his Father.”

For me it’s part of a deep desire to know and be known – and for God I think it’s part of His deep desire for us to know Him. He’s given us His creation, His Word, and His Son in order for us to know and experience Him on a deeper level. This of course is enhanced and taken even deeper by the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. (John 14:26)

I love to see people experience the joy I experience in the outdoors, or creating a meal, or completing a project or restoring a piece of furniture or doing something for someone they may not have been able to do. One thing I’ve come to enjoy is watching HGTV and seeing people using their skills to ‘Make beauty out of ashes’ . One of my favorite shows is ‘Help, I Wrecked My House’. Jasmine Roth and her crew come to the rescue of people who have tried to do home improvement projects and really messed it up. There are three things I enjoy about the show . . .

  • First, is the idea that they can step in and make something amazing and have it ‘fit’ the individual so well. It reminds me of how God is able to step in and make things that are in chaos turn out so much better than we can imagine. It changes and enhances the meaning of how Jesus is preparing a place ‘for us’ and it’s going to ‘fit’ us. I’ve noticed that part of the ‘secret’ of making it ‘fit’ is because Jasmine takes the time to get to know the homeowners. Then everything she and her team do is designed to ‘fit’ them.
  • Second, is the incredible joy and gratitude the owners feel and express when they walk into their newly designed home. From shouts, to tears, and everything in between. So often you hear them say, “It’s perfect – I never imagined it could be this good”. I believe that’s just a glimpse of how we’re going to respond to the ‘place’ Jesus is preparing for us. Overwhelmed by joy and appreciation.
  • Third, and I think I’ve come to anticipate this as much or more than the first two, is the joy and delight Jasmine has as she watches them experience what they’ve been given. I believe this is an example of how the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are deeply delighted when we delight in them and what they’ve given us. It’s almost uncontainable.

So, when you think of your own ‘work’, what makes you feel delight and joy? And what is it that makes your employees, clients and others you work with on a regular basis feel joy and delight. To get even more personal, what makes those in your family and relationships feel joy and delight?

It comes down to the importance of knowing and being known.

We’re able to serve others in ways that bring joy and delight to their hearts and minds when we take the time to listen and get to know them. Spending time at events and activities that allow us to see them interact, whether it’s on the job or in a casual environment like a coffee shop. What are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you noticing? It’s those times that we need to ask a couple of non-threatening questions related to them specifically. Engage their story – most people love to tell it.

The more you know them, the more you’re able to ‘speak’ into their lives in meaningful ways, and the more you’re able to bring joy and delight to them. Little things matter, so don’t try and make too big of a deal out of this.

Then there’s the idea of being known. It’s an interesting one. On the one hand there’s a deep almost imperceptible longing for someone to know us. To know us well enough that there’s nothing left to tell, (the ultimate experience of getting it off our chest) and they still want to hang out with us. But that longing to be known is often accompanied by a deep fear of being known. This is where God steps in and loves us and accepts us even though He knows our words before they’re in our mouth. (Ps. 139) His perfect love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18)

Allowing others to know you may seem counterproductive and can’t be done carelessly. There’s risk involved when we’re talking about people. Some folks can’t handle knowing stuff. The idea of being known completely is something that begins with our letting God know that we know that He knows, and we’re ok with that. He’s careful and kind with our stuff. Being ready and willing to engage what needs to be changed as He reveals stuff to us is maturity on our part That depth of relationship with Him frees us to go deeper with others. Both in what we reveal as well as how we handle their stuff.

Revealing things about ourselves can actually draw people to us because they see that we’re transparent and vulnerable with them. It’s a powerful aspect of leadership.

Give it a try.