This post first appeared on Velvet Ashes with the weekly theme Known. We explored what it means to be known. To be known by a culture not our own. To be known by teammates. To be known by friends and family. To be known by ourselves. To be known by God.
A few hours after this is published I’ll be heading to the airport, boarding a plane and flying back to America. It is hard/easy to leave. Hard well, because a part of me will always be here and some of my people will always live here and now I don’t. Easy in the sense my friend is doing well in her recovery and yesterday took a huge turn for the good and doesn’t need me the way she has, so we both know the time is right for me to leave. Thanks for your prayers and interest.
In preparation for this post I’ve been thinking about the relationship between the words “known” and “know” (Geek alert, sorry). How does what we know influence what we become known for? How does what we know influence the ways we are known by others and ourselves?
As I waited to meet with a young woman I mentor, I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down people we are familiar with and what they knew.
- What did Joseph know? He knew he had been falsely accused.
- What did Joshua know? He knew God was bigger than the giants in front of him. He knew it even when others didn’t.
- What did Hannah know? She knew the ache of infertility runs deep.
- What did Mary know was true about herself? She was a virgin, she had been loyal to her fiancé and her word, and she was the servant of God. She knew this even when it was hard for others to know it.
- What did Moses know? He knew fear when he heard the call. He knew he needed help.
- What did Ezekiel know? He knew that cooking over human feces was not something he was comfortable with and talked with God about it.
- What did Esther know? She knew there may be a cost (she might die) and she was wiling to pay it.
- What did Daniel know? He knew that some cultural rules are not to be followed.
- What did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego know? They knew, “Come what may, we will trust the Lord.”
- What did Jesus know? To enjoy time with friends.
- What did Paul know? He knew the truths of the gospel are had to fully grasp at both an individual and community level.
- What did Lydia know? She knew how to be a successful business woman.
- What did Peter know? He knew he needed to be willing to change with the leading of the Lord and what had been unclean was now clean.
- What did Sarah know? She knew the joy of holding the longing she never thought would be fulfilled.
- What did Jeremiah know? He knew to weep for the sis of the people.
- What did Hosea know? He knew to risk relationship even when others may not understand.
- What did Mary know later in life? She knew the pain of watching a loved one suffer.
I know (wink!) this is not an exhaustive list and many of these folks knew and were known for more than this one attribute. What stands out to me as I read over this list and let it soak into me a bit is the relationship between what they knew and what they were known for.
Which leads me to ask myself, what do I know? And what am I known for? Limiting myself to three :
- I know life is messy and large enough to hold complexities. I am known for walking into messes with people (they don’t scare me) and looking for ways God can work.
- I know that appropriate laughter lightens the road. I’m known for being a bit zany and up for a good time.
- The older I get the more I know this one: I know relationships matter and are necessary. I’m known for finding ways to connect people to each other, history, ideas, and God.
If someone were to ask you what do you know and how does that influence what you are known for, how would you answer?
P.S. The depth and variety reflected in the Word is stunning, is it not?