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It Feels Good To Feel Seen

Imagine sitting in a team meeting and one of your leaders starts in on a prayer to kick it off. A coworker and friend sitting next to you places their hand on your back in the middle of it, just as the prayer shifted towards your request. With heads bowed and your eyes closed, you were seen.

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A few months ago I was feeling tired and ready for a break, wondering if the work I was doing was all for nothing. A parent called and requested a meeting, no context, just “sooner than later, please”. To my surprise, she wanted to meet and thank me. The mother shared how big of an impact the work we’ve been doing through the ministry was impacting her family. I felt seen.

It feels good to feel seen.

It seems like these experiences are ways that God uses His people to show others who He is. These are the holy moments, the moments that inspire me to keep trusting.

I’ve not always felt seen. Thinking back to middle or high school me, I had little self-confidence and found myself trying to hide behind a mask so no one could actually see me. I’d go to the parties, I’d do the mischievous things, though I always felt like there was something more for me. Going against the “something more” for my life felt like the true me was slowly disappearing.

I started going to youth groups and church, still never feeling that I was worthy.

At that time, my attention was hyper-focused on;

Who is judging me?

Who is making fun of me?

How am I making others feel with whatever I am doing?

To my surprise, these intrusive thoughts followed me out of adolescence and into early adulthood. It felt like standing in a crowd of judgmental people, all staring directly at me.

I lived so far outside of my spirit and my self-confidence dipped low. When I’d look in the mirror I wouldn’t even recognize who it was looking back at me.

Queue the breaking point in my mid 20’s where I finally hit the metaphorical brick wall. The impact was transformative and not something I’d wish on anybody.

This breaking point led me to a small church on the beach. Maybe the nudge for “something more” was a God thing.

Thankfully, this small church accepted me for me. By way of big hugs, kind smiles, and feeling welcomed. It was then where I first acknowledged the feeling of being “seen”.

I wanted to be a part of the community. After a short time attending the church, and savoring His word through our pastors teaching, something started to change in me.

My hardened heart started to soften because God was using all of His ways to get through to me.

I started to feel seen in a different way. It no longer felt like a crowd of eyes looking, judging, or poking fun at me.

I’m going to give it to you straight. Being seen by God is overwhelming. There’s songs about the “overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God”. Once you open up your heart to truly feel seen by God, it has the potential to be heart wrenching.

Oddly enough, it feels good to feel seen when you are experiencing something heart wrenching.

The mask I’d worn for so long actually started to dissolve right off of me. No longer was I concerned with the heavy chains of what for so long burdened me.

My faith childlike and hungry, I savored every ounce of His mercy. I’m glad to know they are new every day (Lam. 3:23) because I’m still needy and hungry.

There’s a verse in (Gen. 6:13) that talks about “the God who sees me”. This kind of seeing is a work of God through His spirit, brought to human life through Christ.

Absolutely intimidating and absolutely amazing.

By the power invested in us through the blood of Jesus, we have a call to share His goodness with others. My hope is that these holy moments take ahold of you, overwhelm you, and make you feel seen.

Thank you to all of the friends, family, strangers, and holy moments in between that have developed my trust in the power of God and all the good He is working. 

Holy Moments Columnist & A Gal Who Sees You, Makenna Curtis