It’s that year. That year when you’ve just given all, pushed through much, persevered faithfully, and then you pause for rest.
To drink in those deep breaths of life giving air. To lie flat on your back, melting into the mattress and blankets and pillows and taking a sweet reprieve.
And then life keeps going.
The world doesn’t stop along with you.
Hardly misses a beat.
And resting gets hard when you wonder if all that hard work, all that grinding on, trudging through, all of that intentional smiling and loving and giving made a difference.
It’s like no one noticed.
Never on the list of accolades. Never in the seat of honor. Not even the name on the lucky draw.
And if they haven’t noticed you, maybe He hasn’t either. Maybe, when He skims over the earth, looking for a place to rest His pleasure and favor, His eyes pass right over you like the million other creatures, all blending in to a blur of deep hues.
And if HE doesn’t notice, what’s the point? Where has all this striving led you but to confusion, doubt, and despair?
That maybe, even with all of those good intentions, you’re still nobody. Nothing. Worthless. Useless.
The irony, I imagine, is that most of us walk through life on this tightrope with the pendulum of the clicking clock swinging over our heads. Many of us genuinely do our best and every now and then realize that no one has noticed.
But has He?
We can’t always tell. So we try harder. Do more. Don’t lose their attention once you get it. Applause? Is that applause? It feels good.
And it fades.
Now it’s more difficult to get and keep their attention.
Or you get it. You get your spotlight.
And you wonder, “Is this flattery? They can’t possibly really think I’m wonderful.”
There’s a hole in our hearts. We crave to be the apple of someone’s eye. To be adored. Recognized. To have it proven that we are a person worth knowing. Worth loving. Worthy dying for.
But what if we’re not?
Actually, we’re pretty sure we’re not.
I’m sure I’m not. I know myself. My weaknesses. My failures that are stuck on “repeat.” My flaws. My inner thoughts and judgments and hypocrisy. And when I forget and start to think I’m something… that maybe my good is finally starting to tip the scale, well, the world reminds me that I’m less. Less than this actor, less than this princess, less than that athlete, less than this politician, less than that wife or mother or friend.
I’m less and I need to be more.
Ads, commercials, magazines, newspapers, blog, tweets, articles, comments, “likes” – Oh, they notice alright. They notice every little flaw about you that makes them feel bigger and better and–
Don’t we feel note-worthy when we see someone “less than”?
We get noticed, but not for the good we hope for. Our mistakes get magnified and go viral, reducing our possible “goodness” to insignificance and obscurity.
The pendulum keeps ticking… in the spotlight? No, stay away from the spotlight! But cheer for my good deeds! But don’t notice my poor deeds.
All the while, the hole in our heart stays empty. Unfulfilled.
Because the reality is, no matter how much you’re noticed, it’s not enough. No matter how many golden globes and Emmys and trophies and plaques and Caldecott and Newbery honors and music awards or scholarships… it’s never enough. It never fulfills. We always wonder if tomorrow they’ll still notice. (Or hope that finally, maybe, tomorrow they’ll stop noticing).
But He does notice.
He noticed a tax collector up in the tree.
He noticed the youngest of twelve shepherding in the field.
He noticed a future king in the smallest clan of the smallest tribe.
He noticed a jewish girl within the walls of exile.
He noticed a foreign widow gleaning in the fields of Boaz.
He noticed some fishermen, dirty with the grime of their trade
He noticed two ordinary but faithful hearts in Nazareth.
He noticed one man and his family in a world of corruption.
And he notices you.
And not just for our flaws and mistakes.
But for who He’s made us to be. For the very fact that we are His.
His design. His creation. His child. His deepest love. I could never un-notice my children.
But do we notice Him?
Do we notice how lavish His love? How relentless His pursuit? How passionate His intentions in our lives?
Our God is not patiently standing by and waiting for us to offer love; He is actively and vigorously pursuing us…… He is the father running down the trail to embrace the prodigal son even before the boy can speak his act of contrition. He is the mad farmer showering a full day’s wage on men who hadn’t even worked. He is Jesus forgiving the sinful woman even before she spoke her sorrow. He is the king lavishing a banquet on beggars. These are all symbols of a God whose love for us is so active, so strong, that by human standards He would be, at least, said to be mad. –ANDREW GREELEY
Do we notice? When we do, all of our striving becomes a gift that we give back, not for our own honor, but for His. Not for our glory, but for His.
That He would dare notice such as us.
Such as me.