Are you unknown? Like me, you probably have close family, maybe a spouse or partner, kids, siblings, parents, friends, co-workers, people you spend time with at church or in your social life. Do they know you? Really know you?
You may have parts of your life that you won’t allow anyone to know. I did. I had experiences that I thought were unknowable. I was exposed to pornography and sexual trauma at an early age. I was ashamed, thinking that I had somehow caused this to happen because I was “bad” and “wrong.” I hid these incidents away, believing the lie that I couldn’t tell anyone else or I would be abandoned and shunned.
I came to know Christ at an early age. And by know Christ, that was about it. I knew who He was and I knew His word. Only, I didn’t actually know Him. Or allow Him to know me.
Growing up in Mississippi, church was the center of my small town life. I am thankful for where and how I grew up. I am also aware of the impact of this environment: reinforcing secrecy, hiding flaws, and not talking about real problems. I thought my problems and issues were unknowable and unforgivable.
I married an amazing woman who wanted to know me and to be known by me. Only, I didn’t live up to my side of our marriage commitment. I continued to hide my flaws, bury my shame, and add to the secrets I hid from everyone. And in the process was discovered in my betrayal, almost lost my wife and family, and was no longer unknown.
I was in Bible study a few weeks ago. The lesson was on Peter. Peter, I get. Peter was up. Peter was down. Peter was humiliated by his own failures multiple times and still made mistakes over and over. Yep, I really get Peter. This study was talking about how Peter was transformed to be able to transform others.
Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter. He specifically stated in front of everyone following Him that Simon’s name was now Peter, the rock on which He would build His church. This was the proclamation of who Peter was to be. Only he wasn’t that guy yet. He had to be ready. And he wasn’t. See, Peter didn’t know who he was yet. He didn’t know that he was broken and flawed and that Jesus wanted that part of him, too. He had to know that. And he didn’t yet. Yeah, that sounds very familiar.
See, Jesus proclaimed that he was Peter but he kept calling him Simon after this proclamation. Because…he wasn’t Peter yet. He wasn’t ready and he wasn’t known. Jesus called him Peter again…He proclaimed he was the rock…when He finally revealed to Peter that he would deny Him three times. That’s when he was the rock. The foundation of the church. After his betrayal. When he was broken. When he finally knew that he was broken. When he finally hit the very bottom, that’s when Peter was ready. That’s when he knew who he was.
That’s what it took for me to know. To know who I am. To start resembling the description of broken people instead of proud people. Surrendered to God instead of self sufficient. Grateful for what I have instead of thinking on what I deserve. Giving and self denying instead of selfish and demanding. Thankful to be used by God instead of focused on what I have done for God and wanting recognition for it. Easy to correct instead of defensive when criticized. I had to find out who I was. I had to know.
Now that I know, I can be known. I am Not Unknown anymore. I can be known by God and by others. I will not forget the past or wish to shut the door on it. That means knowing my own brokenness and allowing others to know it. So God can use me and build something. Something that is for His glory. Not mine.
This is site is about the journey. The journey from isolation to becoming Not Unknown. Join me. Share the parts that you want. Reach out to me and let’s plug in to community in Christ.