It is 6:00 AM on a Monday morning. I have been awake since 4:45 AM…laid in bed wanting to go back to sleep but due to a medication I’m on I was awake for the day. As I lay there about a ton of different topics raced through my head. After a while I scrolled through Facebook to take up some of the 2 hours before I had to be up for work and came across a YouTube video of a woman doing the “Nay Nay” dance. It was Ok…wasn’t terrible, wasn’t great but was funny. From there my mind filled with the faces of people I had seen on YouTube videos and my heart was filled with a deep sadness. The face of a super tall and super skinny guy awkwardly dancing to pop songs while he wears nothing but a thong in many videos on his channel, the faces of many young girls posting videos of them singing off pitch and off key, faces of people who have uploaded videos of themselves doing really, really stupid things, the faces of people who have taken to YouTube to post rants on all kinds of subjects without facts to back them up, just opinions and rants. What do all of these video have in common? Terrible, demeaning, and hateful comments from people to which the poster responds “I don’t care what any of you think”. But, obviously they do.
Why do they post these videos? To be seen…to be known…even if it is negative attention. They are screaming for someone to see value in them, to have meaning and purpose.
We all have inside of us a deep desire to be seen and to be known-whether it be by our closest friends, our spouse, or on social media. We all want someone to hear us, to know us, to find value in us. Often times people who aren’t getting these things from their family and friends take to Social Media to find it. That one comment of encouragement in the pool of thousands of hateful comments.
I have been thinking a lot about this lately and the Lord has really placed a passion inside of me to make every person I come in contact with feel seen, heard, and valued. Some days, I want to “take my love off” and tell people off but thank God for the Holy Spirit who keeps my mouth in check-usually. God has really challenged me to find ways to make the people in my life, at work, at church, and people I come in contact with (at WalMart, the salon, etc) to feel seen.
The other day my friend and I were leaving a conference we had been helping minister at and a guy I had said hello to while walking out the door had walked over to my car as we were about to head home for a 4 hour drive. I was exhausted and just wanted to get on the road so we wouldn’t be home too late, I didn’t really want to engage in a conversation with this kid and his friend but I rolled down my window anyways. He proceeded to give us a 15 minute run down of his life and the murder of his sister and we just listened. At the end we talked briefly with him and God gave me an encouraging word for his friend. We didn’t really do anything but listen but we knew he felt better and he felt heard and acknowledged.
My challenge: What can you do to make the people you come in contact with feel seen? The cashier at the store, your circle of friends, the people in your church?
I think a big problem in the church, any why a lot of millennials are leaving the church, is a lack of feeling seen and valued. Many people I have talked to have felt like no one cared they were there and that they had gone week after week after week and had maybe 1 or 2 people say hello to them so they stopped going. I have spoken with people who felt that they had no voice and that no one really wanted to listen to them when they tried to get to know people. This is a problem, a huge one. It is impossible to be friends with everybody…but, when you are at church find people outside of your regular circle to talk with-you get to see your friends all week. Find someone by themselves and strike a conversation with them, ask about their life, how you can pray with them, what they need, how you can help. (After typing this I realize this subject is a while other blog post…so, be looking for that in the coming weeks.)
So, this isn’t a super amazing post but I hope it got you thinking…how can you make someone feel seen, heard, and valued this week?