known yet loved

"Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John  (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),  he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”  (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”  So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people,  “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”  John 4:1-29

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. -Tim Keller-

I was stumbling over my words, grasping for the right thing to say, the magic words to say that would somehow completely change what I needed to say. The thing that would change my answer to something I felt good about instead of the truth which was, and is, I'm ashamed of who I am, I regret what I've done, I wish that when you see me you'd see kindness and goodness and consistency, I wish that I could put this creative writing minor to good use and somehow make all my ugly sound beautiful but here I am, here's what I've done, and God knows I've prayed you wouldn't run away after I finally stop stumbling and get my feet on the ground enough to tell you the truth but I wouldn't blame you if you did. I'd probably help you lace up your sneakers.

It all began in the garden. Adam and Eve stood at one moment naked and unashamed, known and unafraid, and then we find them at the next moment desperately scrambling for any semblance of covering they could find. They saw one other for what the other truly was---they saw themselves for who they truly were---and, in fear that the other would run away, they covered up.

And we are all still covering up. Covering up the imperfections, the darkness. We cover with lies and beating around the bush and isolation and not getting too close to anyone. We try to suppress our own shame with booze and sex and food and success and exercise and Netflix. Thinking if we could just distract others and ourselves with our jokes, wisdom, experiences, maybe they wouldn't see us and bolt. We cover up so others can't see us, and we cover up so that even we aren't sure just how dark our darkness is.

It was in my old house, the one with the wrap around porch and quirky neighbors. I could hear the creek from our open window. My roommate was making pasta in the kitchen. I was sitting on our couch, the one with the broken leg and scratchy cushions, and my friend was next to me telling me about some struggle and her heart and it was all so vague and hard to pin point. I began wondering if I should ask. If I could ask. Because to ask would give her the choice to reveal or to conceal and was she ready? Was I ready to hear it? Was I prepared if she turned around and asked me the same things?

The fear of seeing too much of someone, the fear of someone seeing too much of us, it whispers to us that we must conceal.

And so our conversations become full of pretending we don't really see the monster in each other and pretending we aren't scared out of our minds at the monster in ourselves.

I look to Jesus and find the God-man who had no reason to hide. He had nothing to be ashamed of, no dark secrets, no hidden intentions, no monsters. He was, and is, and will always be, completely pure. He is good and that will not change. He is the same in all places, with all people, at all times. A lack of sleep or food or trying circumstances does not affect his choices. He always chooses what is right. He is the standard of what is right.

He does not manipulate. He does not lie. He does not sit up late at night worrying. He does not turn to food for the answer and then try to hide his overindulgence. He does not lock himself away to watch porn. He does not sleep with his girlfriend one minute and counsel others on sexual immorality the next. He does not exaggerate or try to impress.

And he looks at me and sees all that I've done and do and will do and he still reaches out to me and says “I've paid for all of that, child.” It doesn't surprise him when I confess my shame. He doesn't run away.

Jesus looks at me, looks at you, looks at us, and knows the monsters. He knows our shame. He knows our hidden intentions. He looks at us straight in the face and takes on our shame, takes on our monsters, takes on our intentions and give us his righteousness.

How in the world can God look at me and see purity? Because of Jesus. It makes no sense to me why Jesus in all his beauty and glory would take on my sin but he did. It is enough to keep me up at night and more than enough for me to have no other response but adoration.

I am fully known and yet loved. This frees me to not have to prove anything to anyone. People can see my darkness, I can see my darkness, and though it is scary I can rest that it no longer defines me. The blood of Jesus is on me and I am called holy.

So though I may let someone see my monster, and though they may run away, I know that Jesus didn't and won't. As I praise him for this I pray that I will have grace to be like him when someone reveals themselves to me… that I can look at their darkness and it won't surprise me but it will push me to say “I see you, and know your darkness, yet still I love you.”