To Be Known
I spoke with an artist friend recently who was sharing her realization that the most revolutionary thing she can do in 2022 is to attempt to be a “nobody.”
“Everyone is trying to be somebody, what if I sought out to be a nobody?”
The conversation got me thinking about identity, what makes someone, a somebody, and why at this moment in history is there such a lure to be known? To be heard? To have a following?
I’ve written about my love/hate relationship with social media many times. We can all agree it’s a terrible, wonderful, possibly beautiful, frustratingly addicting, human concoction. The amazing thing about social media is the worst thing about social media: it gives everyone a voice. But with everyone having a voice, why are so many unheard? Or another question, if you are not heard, do you truly have a voice? This reminds me of the scene in The Shape of Water where Sally’s character, a mute woman, is passionately signing to her friend, but he looks away. At that moment, in his deliberate shifting of attention, he took her voice.
Perhaps the twofold desire to be known, and to be heard isn’t entirely a social media-created longing, maybe it’s simply a human desire. Regardless, at times I will allow the desire far too much space in my brain and heart. Last week as all these thoughts were compounding, I felt God remind me of the solution. To fix the desire of being known is to rest in the fact that I am. It’s funny how little God requires of me: to love, obey, and rest. Loving is hard only when I forget how much I am loved. Obedience is hard only when I take my eyes off all God has done. And rest, maybe the hardest thing, is hard only when I refuse to surrender to the truth that God has everything under control. I have been striving to make myself known when there is no need to. It feels as if the voices all around me are telling me to work harder, set new goals, read more books, consume more art, create more art, fill the schedule, dream new dreams, develop routines, fix global problems, and do my part. Work harder. Do more. Work harder. Do more.
Yet all the while God has always been calling me to rest.
Repeat after me: I am known, I am seen, I am loved. I will rest, I will inhale, I will exhale. I will take my time, there is no rush, I am known.