I was invited to participate in a group that received an advanced copy of a book written by Sara Hagerty that will be released August 29th called Unseen. I’d never heard of her (because I seemingly forgot how to read when I became a mom) but I’ve met her through one single facebook live event and have already fallen in love with her magnetic spirit, her heart for Jesus and passion for empowering women. The premise of her book can be summed up in saying that regardless of if you stay at home taking care of children or work in ministry equipping believers or in a cubicle running numbers, that the majority of your life takes place where no one is looking; the “unseen.” So as followers of Jesus how can we begin to feel beloved by Him and near to Him in these moments too, rather than limiting our encounters and need for Jesus to Sundays, the occasional forced “quiet time” or worse, when we’re on our knees in desperation.
Last night I introduced myself to the group of women I’ll be pre-reading this book alongside. I felt God telling me that if the primary aim of the group was to encourage one another toward Christ as they said it was, while marinating on the ideas presented in the book as merely an added bonus, then I had to be honest with them. So I briefly explained that because I recently began to embrace and share my testimony of redeemed sexual abuse and alcoholism, that for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m just now beginning to BE seen. I don’t necessarily feel trapped in the unseen monotony of the day to day, the laundry and dishes, cooking and cleaning. I admitted the timing of this felt strange considering the message of the book and that I wasn’t quite sure why I was even there. Yet, I knew I was supposed to be and was excited to see the reason unfold.
I got into bed, picked up the book, read the first chapter, closed the book and returned immediately to the online group and wrote these words. “I just read chapter one. I now know why I am supposed to be here.” Followed by the prayer hands emoji, the crying emoji, and the heart emoji. . . naturally.
The gradual unraveling that took place for me as I read the first chapter was nothing other than the Holy Spirit. What began as a subtle tug turned into my audible “Hmm”s and resulting sideways glances from my husband. It finished with me shutting the book and holding it to my chest, as if doing so would will the message to sink in a little deeper. What was revealed to me was so simple and obvious but has blown open a reserve of time I could be spending with the Lord that I haven’t been utilizing. So sure, I meant what I’d said- I don’t feel like I’m trudging through my days unshowered and frustrated. Don’t get me wrong, I’m unshowered. . . but I’m content. I hold these truths in my heart every day: Jesus loves me- I am worthy- I am here to show Jesus to my sons and whoever’s put in my path. What I didn’t realize is that while folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher, I’ve been silently striving for my next opportunity to be Jesus to my sons, the next chance I’ll have to share my testimony with someone, or waiting for a text message from a friend asking for advice so I can try and love them the way Jesus wants me to. Inadvertently, my perception of Jesus’ love for me has become performance-based. I have been placing His love in a box that only opens when I’m engaging in activities I perceive as “furthering the kingdom.”
The first chapter revealed all of this and in a way, it hurt. I recognized that while I stood in my basement earlier in the day contentedly doing laundry, I had been focusing so hard on what working the MOPS booth will look like this Sunday- playing through the questions that might be asked and the ways I can more clearly show Jesus’ love- that I didn’t see Him standing with me in the laundry room. Just patiently smiling, waiting for me to stop striving and to start a conversation with Him instead. My need to play through these scenarios in order to “perform” for Him goes against the very way He loves me and calls me to trust Him. I have no need to perseverate on what it might look like to work the MOPS booth at church, I can pray over it, but he never asked me to prepare or perform. My trust in Him should stand so unwaveringly that when the first woman approaches the booth on Sunday, I can smile confidently knowing that the one who gave me my voice is the one who’ll give me the words she needs to hear.
But instead, amidst what I thought was a noble use of my thinking, I missed out on time I could’ve spent with my Father, or going over what’s been revealed to me in the Word recently… or best of all, doing nothing apart from seeing Him there with me and basking in His love. The kind of love that is constant whether I’m standing on a stage or matching socks in the unseen.
I want to challenge you to ask yourself these questions: What is the climate of your heart as you complete your daily to-dos? What does your thought life look like for what is certainly the majority of your day, in what we perceive to be unseen? In what ways can we re-approach that time and turn it over to the One standing right there, just asking to be invited into it.