‘Look at me, mum!’
This was the phrase repeated endlessly by my two children as they discovered a new adventure park the other day. The boys eagerly pressed me to observe them as they whooshed through long shiny slides, traveled high upon magnificent climbing frames and splashed through spurting water fountains. They loved to be watched, admired and appreciated.
Most kids know how to ask for attention in some form. They are certainly more obvious about it than adults.
In seeking romance and companionship, we seek to be observed, known and understood. We want to be the object of another’s affection. We desire to have our partner’s eyes on us, appreciating all that we are. Delighting in us.
One of the most romantic scenes I’ve witnessed in a movie is the closing one of Before Sunset, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The character of Celine dances, sings and sways to a Nina Simone CD as her friend Jesse watches her, joy and longing etched on his face.
As women, we ache to be seen, to be longed for. The much-loved book Captivating captures this beautifully. Co-author Stasi Eldredge writes:
“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.”
Men too desire to be seen and acknowledged – to be believed in, appreciated, and respected as the passionate ‘warriors’ that they are (or seek to be). They want to know their partner thinks they ‘have what it takes’.
We have such deep needs, don’t we? These desires are truly core to who we are.
Some of us believe these longings can only be met when we enter a romantic relationship. But when we realise for the first time that we are truly seen and known by God, we start to walk in freedom. We realise that no matter what attention we receive from our families, friends or partners, we have a loving Saviour who delights to walk with us in a relationship of intimacy, deep knowledge, companionship and love.
I was reading Genesis the other day, and began to imagine what it was like for Adam and Eve before sin entered the world. God delighted in all of creation, and Adam and Eve represented what our relationship with Him was meant to be like. They worked hard and enjoyed the fruit of their labours. They dialogued with their loving God, and lived in complete joy and freedom, under His watchful eyes. But they chose their own way. To ‘play God’. And so have we. We all lost the perfection he intended for us.
Thankfully Jesus bought our ticket back to freedom. And while we still live in a broken world, one day we’ll see Him again. We’ll be able to walk free, with no sin or shame cloaking our bodies. We’ll know Him fully and completely and realise He knew us better than anyone ever could.
May you and I rest in the knowledge that we are seen and known, eternally. By the God of the universe. We are beautiful to Him. He made us just as we are, for a unique purpose. We can rest knowing this knowledge and intimacy is all we need. All the rest is just icing on the cake.
When it happens, love – romance – is wonderful – intoxicating. And so worth fighting for. But there is nothing second-best about an intimate relationship with God. In fact, it supersedes anything else we’ll find on this earth. It has to – otherwise we’d be short-changing ourselves.
Lauren DeMoss from The Full Time Girl wrote this recently:
“God is the end. He is our happy ending. Christ is our goal. A husband is great and a blessing from God, and there is nothing wrong with getting married. I certainly still want to… but, if God has chosen to keep me for Himself, and to be completely and solely His for a while longer…. or even forever, I can be content with that. It even makes me feel special. Because I am made whole, filled up, and complete… and in love with Him. Because, even after marriage, no one will complete me and fulfill me like Jesus does.”
May we truly believe this.
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”