It's Nice To Be Known
It’s nice to be known.
What I mean is, there is something fulfilling about being known by someone else. There’s a type of companionship that develops when you don’t have to explain yourself anymore. It usually appears when you know the person in front of you or on the phone with you or on other other end of that text message understands your character and your heart and your intentions.
It produces a trust that is hard to explain. It’s nothing extraordinary. They just know you, so there’s nothing to prove anymore. You’re just known.
But, inevitably, there are times when we aren’t known well or are forgotten or are misunderstood. We feel betrayed, maybe, or hurt, and we wonder, do they even know me? We feel it deep inside to our core, and we are left stranded and perplexed, speculating if anyone can truly know us, accept us, or love us for who we really are.
The first time I remember feeling this way was in the fourth grade. That year was rough for me. I got put into a class without any of my friends from third grade, and I was bored in class pretty much every day. (Honestly, all I remember is filling out worksheet after worksheet and then reading a book to pass the time.)
Well, one day at recess in a classic mean girl power move, I was ostracized by the only two friends I had made. And because it was the fourth grade, my life was obviously over. I remember standing on the playground at recess feeling completely rejected and abandoned.
And although I was only nine years old, I remember that deep desire of needing someone who wanted to know me for me. It was a call of the heart to be understood and accepted.
I think we can agree, that we all, to some extent, want to be known. It’s a powerful feeling, and it can creep into our day to day as we deal with the circumstances of life.
So when reality hits, and we aren’t known well, it has the power to derail even the holiest of believers. I know for me, whenever I feel unknown, it makes me question who I am, what I’ve done, and what I’m supposed to do next. It makes me waiver with uncertainty, not knowing how to walk forward.
I feel completely lost...just like a sheep wandering around a pasture looking for it’s shepherd.
Luckily for us, one of the most celebrated analogies Jesus uses in the Gospels is that of the shepherd and sheep relationship. Here are a few of my favorite verses from John 10 where Jesus is speaking about this very topic:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” verses 1-5
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me…” verse 14
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” verse 27
I don’t know much about shepherds and sheep, but I have picked up a few things about their relationship while studying the Gospels. The main thing I’ve learned is that sheep necessitate a shepherd. They need a leader, a caregiver, to tend to their needs and to show them where to go, so that they can thrive.
Therefore, the shepherd has to be learned in all things sheep, especially the sheep of their flock. In order to properly protect, direct, lead, and care for their sheep, they’ve gotta be sheep experts. And because each flock is different, a shepherd would have to be well versed in his personal sheep, knowing them well.
You’ll see this communicated when you look at Jesus’ original language for know. It evokes a knowledge that can only come from personal experience. It’s a deep discerning understanding that is individual. The kind of knowing that takes time and effort and sacrifice.
This is how He knows us.
So when I think about this analogy that Jesus used, I believe he was incredibly pointed in his choice when he labeled us sheep and called Himself our Shepherd. He could describe His relationship with us in many different ways at this point -- king to subjects, parents to children, boss to workers, friend to friend.
But he says instead: I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own.
He knows us.
It’s a beautiful thing to be known in that way by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s intimate, and it’s complete. So there is no worry that we won’t be known fully or will be forgotten or misunderstood by Him. He’s our Good Shepherd. It’s not in His nature.
What should develop out of that is an iron-clad trust. When I grasp at the concept that I am fully known by Jesus, that being known by God is part of my identity, then I am better able to tackle my day to day.
Because regardless of what comes -- the successes, the failures, the things hoped for, the things dreaded, all things really -- at the end of the day, I can rest in being known by God.
He knows my heart is for Him and what He wants for my life even if my emotions or thoughts may tell a different story. He knows even when I mess up, I want to do whatever it takes to get back on track. He knows that ultimately I want what He wants.
I think that type of perspective comes from being known by God. When I feel like I am seen and heard by my Father, then it is easier for me to choose Him each and every day. I hear His voice direct me in all things, and I follow along because I know it is best for me.
Because He knows me best, I want to give Him my best.
It’s nice to be known, but it’s beautiful to be fully known. That can’t come through any relationship here on earth. It doesn’t matter who -- boyfriend or best friend or spouse or mom or dog or whoever -- they can’t ever fully know us the way that God can and does.
It’s a Truth to work deep into our hearts and minds. It gives us so much freedom to be able to put the opinions of others and how they treat us in their proper place - well below our identity in Christ.
I may be just a sheep. But, my Shepherd knows me well.
“I know my own, and my own know me.”
Amy Bufkin has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember. Even though she basically lived at her local church growing up, her faith and relationship with The Lord was incredibly shallow until her early twenties. It was then Amy learned how to study her Bible, began to truly commune with God, and her shallow faith began to deepen as she got to know her Lord and Savior. Now her passion is to communicate the same truths that changed her life to young women in as many ways as possible. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook