This mama needs to be known. For the past couple months, I have been more consistently going to a particular workout class at the yoga studio I go to. Just to set the stage, this is one of those classes that always seems to be full. The teacher is popular and has been teaching classes for ten plus years. He has built a strong community within his different classes. His classes are challenging, but also fun. It reminds me of weight training days in college; it reminds me of being on a team. There is a definite sense of togetherness, which I have really enjoyed and look forward to. There is a very personal element to these classes. A lot of these women have been attending his classes for years. There is history within the walls of studio 2. He knows mostly everyone by name. He calls out, jokes, encourages. For a while, he did not know my name. The extent to name calling occurred when he called me LMU because I was wearing a LMU cross-country shirt one day in December. This all changed when last Wednesday, he called me Kelli. And with just a simple tap on my shoulder and the sound of my name, I felt known and recognized. It was not until I heard him say “Kelli” that I fully understood my deep, internal desire to be known. In my normal, self-reflective nature, I thought about how silly and surface-level this was. Great! A yoga instructor knows my name! I am recognized in a fitness class. Why do I care so much about relatively insignificant things? Why does so much of my head space go towards worrying about human perception? I guess the answer to that question is because I am human. I think it all goes back to a deep human desire to be known. Not just to be known but to be fully known. The feeling I had in class when I heard my name called does not even scratch the surface to how we should feel when we recognize that we are fully known by the creator of the universe. If I am in awe of being recognized by a yoga teacher, my reaction to being fully known by God should be infinite times greater. It amazes me how I get so excited about earthly recognition. I internally jump for joy when I get another like on Instragram. I stand a little taller when someone tells me I am fast, pretty, a good writer. I constantly am asking “did you like that dinner I made?” to Lance in hopes that my ego could be fed even more. I could list out example after example of the way in which I seek approval. This is such a struggle of mine! Becoming a mother has only revealed this sin in greater fullness. It has always been there. Now, I am just actively aware of it. Anywhere we got out, I am constantly battling the internal dialogue that is telling me all sorts of lies about what other people are thinking of me. This is so real and crazy in my head. As I write it out, I can rationalize it and call it for what it is- lies; but in real time, I am a complete slave to those voices that are so concerned with outward appearance. Lance knows me so well and can instantly tell when I am beginning to get in my head. Especially recently, he has had to give me constant reminders that no one cares as much as I think they do. Almost every time we are out he tells me, “No one is looking at you. No one cares.” It brings me sadness to think about how much effort, time, energy, worry, anxiety, and head space is given to the concerns of others. The creator of everything knows not only my name; He knows every part of me. He knows my greatest fears and dreams, the ones that I am too scared to even voice aloud. He knows the worse parts of me and he knows the very best. Not only does He see me for who I am, but He knows who I will become. When I really sit in all of this, the moment of hearing my name in yoga class, feels so insignificant.
I think this desire runs deep within all of us. We want to be known. That is why we chase after degrees, titles, promotions. This is why we desire to have all those letters after our name whether that be PhD, J.D., ThD. It sometimes just feels like a really expensive alphabet. But, we chase after it. Each letter we tack on to our real name with pride. Chasing after ambition is not a bad thing, but I do think we need to remind ourselves of our roots. We must remind ourselves of the parts of us that won’t change, that are not based on degree or fame or marriage status. The Lord does not see us for the Mrs. or Miss in front of our names. He does not see us for all those fancy titles that follow our names. He does not see us for how many times our last name may or may not have changed. He sees you as His daughter or son. You are more than your name or your titles. You are loved by the King. This knowledge alone is enough. I say all this, but I struggle in truly believing this at times. I live my life knowing I am a daughter of His, but there is still such a huge part of both my head and heart space that cares about those other titles and recognitions. Are you there with me? Are you also internally jumping up and down when someone calls you by name and sees your worth? Are you also hoping for more likes on that post? I sure am. But I am working on it. It is a constant battle and a constant place of reminder. I don’t need to perform or raise my hand or shout out. I am already fully known by God. This is enough. This allows me to let go of every desire and part of myself that cares to be recognized. I am His regardless if I am just LMU in a yoga class.