The Risk of Being Known

Though I will forever be a “California Girl” at heart, I now embrace my new “Oregonian” identity. Moving to a new state has graciously assigned me a few other new labels as well:

  • Visitor
  • Stranger
  • New Neighbor
  • White lady with an Asian baby
  • Lost and confused
  • Owner of many coats

These are unfamiliar labels. I have not been the “new girl” for a long time. At least not on this level. I have a smart phone but I still manage to get lost at least once a day. Here, there are two options of yellow traffic lights (blinking and nonblinking) and I hate them both. I’ve run through at least 6 red lights as a result of my uncertainty and stress over those stupid yellow traffic lights.

Back to the labels.

I haven’t had too many emotional breakdowns yet. More are coming, for sure, but our rental is super small and my time is spent keeping my kids from killing each other. The tears seem to flow best when I’m driving. In the rain. Probably lost. It’s a perfect storm, really.

When I have a few minutes to really self-examine, I find that a lot of my anxiety and feelings come from the exhaustion of being unknown and recalling the work it takes to be known. It is hard work to let people in. Plus, the last six years of my life have been full of highs and lows and tons of stories that explain why our family looks and functions the way we do. Those who know me don’t think twice about those things. They know. But I am now living a world of people who don’t know. Anything. Not one thing. Not even my name. No one within 500 miles of me knows how long my husband and I have known each other or that I’m allergic to Ibuprofen or that my daughter is named after her grandmas.

These next months will be filled with me sharing details of myself with strangers because I want to be known.  Every time I reveal something, it’s risky. What if I say it wrong? What if the current stranger/potential friend is totally weirded out but that last shared fact about my life? What if I come across as “needy” because I feel so uncomfortable in this season of being “unknown?”

Then there is the “spiritual” side of my psychosis. My brain starts saying junk like, “Who do you think you are? It’s prideful and arrogant to want to be known. Get over yourself.” Come to think of it, that voice sounds a lot like the one that kept telling me blogging about my thoughts and experiences was arrogant as well…

Here is where I am at today: I think it is absolutely fine to want to be known. I think it is a basic human need and a part of what makes life beautiful. I don’t think it’s prideful or arrogant, in fact, I think the voices that say so are liars. Satan would love to keep us isolated. He’d love to see us silence our gifts and keep our thoughts to ourselves so we can’t influence or challenge or call out the giftings in others.

Maybe you are in a season of being unknown as well. I dare you to keep risking and keep sharing and keep walking confidently in your new labels. Don’t let the enemy isolate you and tell you lies about yourself in an attempt to keep you hidden and buried in false humility.

You are worth knowing.



3 thoughts on “The Risk of Being Known

  1. Love it 🙂 thanks for the encouragement…we are new to Washington and I feel ya. Also I realized that it’s been a while…like high school maybe? Since we last had contact…my maiden name was wilkinson. We are about 5-6 hours from y’all if you ever want to escape to the cascade Mountains!


  2. I know exactly what you are talking about. At church in The Living Room we share our “God sightings” and/or passages of Scripture that have touched us throughout the last week. I find myself with stuff to share. God has been working in my life in a huge way and had shown me so much. I want to share. But I find myself hesitant. Hesitant because what if I sound stupid. What if I get choked up because the emotions run deep. What if someone else has something profound to say…….leave the floor open for the more important stories. I think these things and then I miss out speaking my heart. More times than not this happens. And this is only a tiny glimpse into what my life is like on a daily basis.


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