It’s All in Who You Know

It happened twice this month.

The people doing it didn’t know their choice not to include me, hurt.

I was left out as a general oversight or a purposeful decision.

Both cut the same.

It’s not the sort of grief that comes with loss or sorrow, it’s the quiet pain we women know so well. Exclusion.

It’s an old war wound in me that resurfaces when I least expect it. Usually when I think I’m a victor over the battle.

But, then there it is. Again.

It starts in the pit of my stomach and grows to become A Thing in my mind. After I’ve thought of every possible angle and excuse, it settles in my heart, like a big brick. And I lug that heavy burden around and see my life thru it’s lens. The feelings that come with being left out (of a group, event, party, initiative, community, you name it) have way more to do with me than anyone else.

I know this.

As I started digging around in my heart, I discovered something ugly. I saw beneath the layers –pride. I recognized it as a desire for my name to be KNOWN.

to be known

I don’t long to see my name in lights, I’m way too introverted for that, but I want people to read my blog, to buy my book coming out next year, to support Mercy House—all good things.  But it’s a slippery slope when you start out wanting to MAKE HIS NAME KNOWN and discover a longing for yours to be known, too.

When you write a blog, run a non-profit, or say yes to anything big, you often hear these four words: Who do you know?

They seem harmless enough, but when those 4 little words are said to me, this is what I hear: You are not enough.

I don’t have a list of power players or big names. I am small with a quiet voice in this noisy world. I am unknown and I remind myself I wasn’t even on The List or invited to The Event and the wound festers.

I confessed some of this to my husband one night. I told him how I should have been a part and asked why wouldn’t they include me? He said, “You don’t love speaking or crowds or traveling. Would you really have gone?”

I found my answer in my answer, “Well, probably not. But I just wanted to be invited. I wanted to be recognized.”

And there it is uncovered, ugly, staring me in the face: PRIDE.

I found my knees. I asked God to root out this desire to be known that only left me feeling unknown. I prayed, “search me and know me God. Forgive me.”

Because really, I don’t want to be known by the world. I don’t want them to see that I can use my words to hurt others. I don’t want them to know I tend to hold a grudge or lose my cool. I don’t really want my insecurity to define me. My husband and children know the real me. They’ve smelled my morning breath and seen my funky bed head.

And God whispers, “I know you.”

He sees when I sit, when I rise, when I make my bed in Hell, when I serve or give without telling the other hand what I’m doing. He knows me whether I want Him to or not.

He’s beckoning me out of the spotlight and into His light.

So, ask me who I know. The list is short. It’s not very impressive. It won’t land me on a panel of big names or a bestseller list.

But I know Him.

And even better He knows me.


Comments

  1. 1

    Beth in the City says

    I can relate so much, and hope that the next time I am dealing with these feelings I will remember this and contemplate these things.

  2. 2

    says

    Kristen, did you crawl inside my thoughts and my heart today? For you have written exactly what I’ve been feeling, and battling against, for the last several days. Oh, how deep is that desire to be known completely, understood implicitly, and loved unconditionally. And how the enemy perverts that God-given desire into a frantic striving to be known by other people – recognized and, perhaps, a bit famous?

    I am asking God daily to help me be completely satisfied and content to be known by HIM, and to realize how much The Audience of One cheers for me.

    GOD BLESS!

  3. 3

    says

    So beautiful that it brought a tear. And I felt the pain. Because I feel exactly the same. And I have really been feeling like that a lot lately. But I want you to know that I read your blog and I love your relationship with the only person who matters. HIM. You have given me so much to think about tonight. Thank you

  4. 5

    says

    Great post. I feel your pain! As the mother of a 17yo daughter with cerebral palsy, I constantly fell “left out” and “overlooked” by my peers. It was MUCH worse when she was younger and I felt it nearly every day. Now that she is older (and hopefully, I am wiser), I have began to wonder what role I had in that. Did I do some “self-banishment” and not appear welcoming or reach out to others? What sort of cycle started because of my role in that? My mom used to tell me, “To have a good friend, you have to be a good friend.” In recent years, I’ve learned to reach out a little more. It’s not natural for me, but I do it.

  5. 7

    says

    Thank you for this well timed post as well. I also struggle with the left out/pride feelings. I feel we all want this sense of validation. I see it in my 4 girls as well. However, we are enough for God and I feel in my case he sometimes keeps me on the outside for my own good. I love your blog and have grown so much from it.

  6. 9

    says

    I’ll stand small beside you, Kristen Welch. He’s Great Big in your life. I don’t usually speak for God, but I don’t think He’ll mind me saying how MUCH He loves what you’re doing during your stay on planet earth. Your life is evidence of a life lived in companion with our Savior. That’s the very best list of all.

    I thought you might also enjoy this video, by Howard Butt of Laity Lodge. It’s about one minute long.

    http://www.thehighcalling.org/video/faith/charles-schulz#.Ul_sOXCsiSo

    I keep coming back to it. The core message of the video? “Celebrities don’t make the biggest impact on our lives—the people close to us do. The people you live and work with, who care about you, are the more important part of the high calling of our daily work.”

  7. 11

    justme says

    I don’t usually comment on these things but, feel compelled to let you know that your “gentle & quiet spirit is precious to Him” :) and maybe He has allowed you to be set apart from this “group” and/or event in this way for a purpose… Just a thought :)

  8. 12

    amy says

    I just want to say thank you. Your honesty and transparency help me. Your words point me back to the One who matters, who Loves me, created me and KNOWS me!

  9. 13

    says

    Oh gosh, Kristen. Same struggle this month. I have to say, it makes me feel like I’m not such a bad person that you have these feelings, too. ;) The thing is, I wouldn’t have traded the time I spent with my boys to attend the event, but that hurt, ugh, not fun.

  10. 17

    Amy T says

    Kristen, this has been a life long struggle. I see pictures on facebook of “groups” and “cliques” and yearn to feel “a part of”. But the truth is, I am an introvert and just a couple close friends suit me well. But that envy is always there when looking at other groups of friends. Why is that?

    I want you to know, THIS is why I always come back to your blog. You are humble and real and write truth. Something happens to people when they get “big” even in the christian circles. Selfishly, I want to keep you small (which you’re not really), less-exposed, and REAL. You are a wise woman with lots to say. I know that more exposure to your blog and Mercy House would be/could be amazing. But I just hope that it comes in small increments and not in a giant wave. Basically I am saying – please don’t change!

    And maybe, just maybe, it’s these little moments of exclusion that keeps you humble and real. And if thats the case, then I thank God you are not always part of the popular crowd.

    For what its worth, I only read a handful of blogs lately. I have scaled way back as I many of the ones I have followed over the years have changed. But I keep choosing you. I’m a stranger, but you are part of my little world. Part of my refined list of Truth Tellers that I check in with almost daily.

    You’re invited and included by lots of us. We just aren’t hosting conferences or panels or anything. But you’re invited into our living rooms and kitchens and bedrooms via our computers and smart phones.

    We choose you :)

  11. 18

    says

    When I was at university I had TONS of friends. little miss social butterfly – that was me. There was hardly an event I wasn’t at. But when I needed someone at a suddenly very difficult point in my life: no one was available. I wasn’t fun anymore. I still tried to go to things, but pain and sadness followed me, and no one wanted those at the party. And when I finally decided to move – there was no one to help me.
    Now, my circle of friends is much much smaller. but the number of people I can count on, far greater. And they take me as I am: in joy or sadness.
    sometimes, Less Is More.
    So now, I am okay with being less.

    • 18.1

      says

      I would’ve have been there when you moved! I still don’t know you as much as I’d like, but I’m glad we’re on the right track as friends!

  12. 19

    says

    Beautifully said. I have this problem too. Especially when it comes to blogging. I totally understand the “being known” dilemma. I’ve grown up with a lot of friends – even through high school and college. And now as a mom, my social world shrunk a hundred times. So I try to reach out through blogging.

    But it’s not the same. And I’m finding it hard to find friends – or even just people who like my blog (or me, actually). So hard.

    But you’re right. I shouldn’t think that way. It only matters that He knows me.

    Thanks for posting this.

  13. 21

    says

    I love your authenticity on this subject so many women struggle with…and the truth you covered it in. I wrote a similar post recently called ‘when you feel left out’ and couldn’t believe the response I received…clearly as women we need to encourage each other to make our expectations of each other less and our expectations of Him greater. thanks for this reminder!

  14. 22

    says

    This is such a good word. Exclusion can pop up in the big and small things, and it does hurt. It’s a good reminder what’s at the root for me personally and allow that reflection. Thanks, Kristen!

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