In college, there is so much emphasis on becoming "known" on campus. "The more people you know the better!" Right? However, so many people on campus are depressed and lonely. Why?
What I have found really matters is the depth of the community that we make--not the width. And the one thing that I believe that everyone wants in life is to be fully known by those around him or her. But we have to be mindful about the depth of community and truly hone in on its significance; we must not get caught up in making the width of community larger and larger, just for the desire to be recognized or known more by those around us.
In life, we place so much emphasis on relationships, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I have to admit, sometimes I go crazy socializing as I just want to be friends with everyone; this is especially hard to given that this is the nature of my school environment.
However, the thing for which I believe we are all actually searching is to be known by those around us—and, in particular, our hearts desire to be known in its entirety. And only one person can satisfy this desire and know us fully in the flesh: the Lord.
When we are fully known, we can then be fully loved. Love is the sole thing for which we are all searching, even though we may convince ourselves otherwise. I cannot even fathom what a world without love would look like. Can you? I would not want to be a part of that world; love is the only thing that will ever sustain us. And it is from love that we have hope.
Being vulnerable with others is one of the hardest things that we as humans ever have to do in life. We so desperately want to be found—to be fully known by people, and in particular, we want to be fully known in a romantic relationship. Yet, there is something so terrifyingly unnerving about this. We do not want to be hurt—as plain as day. So often we place our trust in others only to be disappointed and hurt. We then build barriers and walls around our ourselves, trying to suppress our pain and feelings.
Trust me, it is so hard for me to be vulnerable, as I have experienced so much hurt and pain from doing just this: putting myself out there in the world. And, in all honesty, there are days when I just want to rip out my feelings, toss them aside, and never use them again. But, then I remind myself that I was given emotions for a reason—I was created by God to feel and to feel very deeply, and so were you. And so with these emotions, we were made to love and to love so excruciatingly deeply.
Chances are, you’ve been hurt in the past by someone or something. Chances are, you will be hurt in the future as well. Do not let this discourage you—I know, embracing this mentality is easier said than done. Disappointments are a part of life; however, do not let them define you. I encourage you to keep fighting for that in which you believe. Do not suppress your emotions because of what has happened to you in the past. Use your experiences to motivate you—to keep going—to keep propelling you into the person you were created to be! You can be completely known and loved if you only reach out your hands towards the Lord.
However, do not be afraid to push into a community and befriend others and be intentional about your relationships. Do not just acquire “friends” for the sake of gaining more Facebook profile likes or Instagram followers. In doing this, you will not be known by those around you. Sure, you may be popular—but these social media likes are just numbers; you will be left with no authentic, genuine relationships. This is not why you were created—you were created for a deeper, God-fearing community.
I came across this Tumblr quote the other day that I think is so applicable to all the trials that life will offer: “Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen.” In moments when you do not feel known or loved by those around you, just know that you are both known by the Lord and so very loved. I know that you have been told this a million times, but I am going to tell you for the millionth and first time! You may feel lonely at times, but you are not alone (trust me, I have often felt this way!).
Keep on going. Keep radiating your joy and kindness, keep being vulnerable and feeling deeply, keep embracing disappointments and hurt. By doing this, I know you will find so much joy in being fully known by your Creator, as you will find a greater love in Him than you ever could have fathomed.