Our digital world has created a weird blend of intimacy and loneliness. When I share something on Facebook or write a blog it is different to actually meeting with someone in person. In conversation there is so much more going. There is body language, tone of voice, eye contact and having to listen, think and speak all in real time. Digitally, I’m my own curator of how I want people to know me and like me. I think this is one key reason why social media is so popular, it provides an avenue to control people’s perception of us. It removes those awkward silences, the brain fades, speaking before thinking, being embarrassed in person if someone disagrees or criticizes us.
We are afraid of being really known and then to be rejected. So we hide who we really are and present what we think is acceptable. The result is that people relate to us based on how we are pretending to be which explains why we feel isolated. When we receive love without really being known it is superficial. Marriage is meant to be the place in which you can be both known and loved. The media tries to define beauty by using attractive models in ideal lighting, wearing ideal clothes using the latest health and beauty products. But I love waking up in the morning beside my wife the way we both are, without my wife having to put her face on nor me shaving mine off. I love that we have promised to both know and love each other.
Marriage is meant to depict God’s unconditional love to both know and love. I am learning to be more honest with God about who I am and how I struggle. He knows me inside out. In response he sent Jesus to rescue me from the wearying burden of trying to measure up to all sorts of expectations. I really appreciate God’s ability to really know and love me. I’d like to be more like God in getting to know the people in my life and loving them for who they are.
This article was inspired by a quote from Tim Keller; Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church Manhattan.
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything”.