I’m not sure there’s an answer – certainly not a simple one anyway.
I wonder if it’s to do with our fear and longing to be known.
Psalm 139 says this:
You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Here’s what happens inside me when I read these words. Half of me says yes. YESYESYES. I want this intimacy and acceptance more than I’ve ever wanted anything else, ever. Can it be true? Please. Give me this, whatever it takes.
But the other half of me says Never. I’d rather die. I am terrified of being known, exposed. I will do anything to stop God and other people getting close.
There’s something about being known, that excites and scares us more than anything else. It’s the heartbeat of every pop song, every film, every story. The parent who loves us unconditionally. The lover who holds us through good and bad. The One who sees right into your heart, bad stuff and good and doesn’t walk away. Here’s how Robbie Williams puts it;
‘Since you went away my
heart breaks everyday
And you dont know
’cause you’re not there
You simply found
the words to make
all modern feelings fade away
Only you know me
Only you know me’
(‘You Know Me’).
We might think we know ourselves. But we don’t. It’s not like our body’s fallen, but not our intellect or emotions. If you think you’re shameful, you’ll act that way. And if you act ashamed, you’ll feel it too. So how do we get out?
The truth comes, not from inside, but from outside of us. It’s bigger than depression or sickness or shame. It’s a Person who can see us fully and truthfully. Who covers our nakedness and leads us into the light. Who knows us and yet loves us too.