As people, we want to be seen. We want to see how many “likes” we can get on Facebook. We want to have more followers on Instagram and the longest streak possible on Snapchat. Our desire is to flourish in our job or community. We want to reach our dreams and leave our print on the world. Yet, do we ever have enough?
What if we turned our back on what our world tells us is important? What if we start finding our worth in who we are as an individual and who we are as a child of God?
How would life look if we were unseen?
Times of Feeling Unseen
I remember feeling unseen in school. As a girl, I wanted to be in a relationship. I wanted to be recognized for the great person I thought I was. I wanted to look pretty and fit in.
Once I started teaching, I wanted recognition. The plaques, the compliments, the gratitude for all the energy and love I put into treating each student as my own child. I wanted to be recognized for those times when I gave all of me at school and had nothing left to give my family once I got home from work.
Becoming a mother was one of the best things that ever happened to me, yet it was also one of the hardest. Loving my child, patiently teaching him the ways of the world, playing with him, and disciplining him to show him how to be the best-version-of-himself has not come with trophies. Instead it has come with tireless effort and sleepless nights.
Going from working full-time to staying at home with my sons has been the most unseen I ever have been. There’s housework that never ends, meals that only a few people will eat without complaining, and the constant need of giving myself to help those in my family. Have I been given huge bouquets of flowers and free vacations for this endless work? No. Instead I have been given owies to kiss, boys to snuggle, a house that is clean enough, and family meals with giggles.
We are Seen By God
When I first stayed home, it was not easy for me. Instead I was questioning why I was home. Yes, I was taking care of my children, but it felt like something was missing. It felt like I should be doing more.
As a teacher, you barely have time to go to the bathroom, let alone take time throughout the day to contemplate if you’re doing enough.
Being at home is similar, but I found myself with sparse moments to have these feelings of wanting something more.
I have been home for four years now and recently I was having these thoughts again about whether or not I was doing enough.
Content in My Work
While praying and trying to discern what I’m currently called to do, I randomly came across a book called Unseen by Sara Hagerty. It looked interesting, so I ordered it from the library. I soon forgot about it until it came. Little did I know this book was going to put my heart at peace once again.
Once I started reading, I felt as though it was written specifically for me. All my feelings of unworthiness in the world’s eyes rested in the fact that, “We mattered before anyone else knew us, before we even had breath.”
This hit me because here I was trying to make sense of if I was doing enough, when I was actually trying to fit in the world’s standard of “doing enough.”
I felt unseen. It felt like the world kept going after I left the workforce and I got left behind. I felt the only person who acknowledge me in some way was my husband, and every once-in-a-while another family member or friend.
In truth, God acknowledges me and wants me to continue my work as a stay-at-home-mom. Sara Hagerty says on page 41 of Unseen, “And God doesn’t stop thinking about us. He never stops looking at and into us. There is never a time when we are unseen by Him: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7).”
How to Live Unseen
God sees us and wants us to live as though we are unseen. Does this mean we need to give away all our possessions and go live in a hut somewhere? Does it mean we need to get rid of cable TV and become a hermit?
No. It means that there is gift that comes from being unseen in our world. Our world continues to give us the message that if we are not doing something big and grand then it doesn’t matter.
That is the complete opposite of what we are called to do.
Many times it’s the simple things in life that we are called to do in a grand way like:
- Giving your undivided attention to a family member.
- Washing the endless pile of dishes or doing the mountains of laundry without complaining.
- Cooking a meal that fills a hungry belly even though it’s not your favorite to eat.
- Writing a letter to someone you care about.
- Sharing a smile and being polite to the cashier at the grocery store.
- Not getting angry with someone who cut you off while driving.
- Lending a listening ear to that person who never lets you get a word in.
- Playing with that child that is often left to play on their own.
- Putting away the iPhone to enjoy the world and beauty around you.
- Saying, “Thank you,” to someone who has helped you in your life.
- Asking for forgiveness or praying for those that have offended you.
- Call or text someone that’s been on your mind, but you just haven’t made the time to contact.
Being Unseen with Love
Sara says, “Hidden servanthood is drudgery when we’re intent on the praise of others. And it’s also drudgery when we tell ourselves our desires for recognition and praise don’t matter. When we know we are seen by the one who created praise itself and He is the one who gives us a word of affirmation—when He notices us pouring ourselves out in secret—we realize that this is what we craved all along. The pits—whatever they may be for us in any given moment—are no longer awful. Being elbow-deep in soap suds and breakfast-sausage grease looks and feels different when we know God sees us there” (Page 51).
If we do our everyday tasks that are unseen by the world, with great love, so many things will be possible. We can live a life that doesn’t make us question if we need to be more. We can live a life knowing that what we do is important and will lead us down the path where we are suppose to go.
Being unseen may not feel normal. It may feel uncomfortable or even mundane. At times, it may feel as though we are all alone. But rest assured, it is in the unseen that we are brought to a better place. We are given the opportunity to rest in the Lord. It allows us to step outside the box and refocus on what truly matters in this life.
We are all called to something bigger and better! For it is when we are unseen by the world, that we truly can see ourself and who we are. What we stand for and what we treasure.
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Ann Marschel works as a Billings Ovulation Method Instructor and for Learning MN when not caring for her boys at home. She loves being with her family, going for walks, and learning all she can about Jesus and women’s health. You can find out more about her here.