A deep, inherent desire exists inside of each of us. It crawls under our skin, wells up at moments where its undesired, and subconsciously dictates our behavior. This is the desire to be acknowledged. Not only in our existence, but also to be appreciated and needed.
“Acknowledgment” has been on my mind for quite a few days and has stirred up some unwanted feelings from the past. Those feelings of rejection that I had experienced in my teenage years have been seeping up through the cracks in my heart. It has dictated some of my behavior and converted my thoughts into to a distracted and self-conscious nature. “Acknowledgment” actually has been in my head for no reason relating to bible study, it is actually through a more nerdy means.
The first nerdy means was when I went to a concert for my Music History class. It was a medieval vocal ensemble that was help at a Compline service at an Episcopal church in downtown Seattle. I had heard that people get extremely comfortable and even lay all over the altar with their blankets and simply take in the music. People even come “high” to the Compline to have their spiritual experience. In the moments leading up to the music starting, I sensed a very heavy atmosphere. It was not just the presence of God, it was as if I sensed the battle going on as spoken in spiritual realms. One one side, there was the feeling of lostness, seeped in darkness. One the other side, there is light and the hand of God reaching out to combat the darkness and to answer the question of spiritual hunger. Sadness mixed with compassion welled up in my body that I could not ignore. The people at the service had a deep desire to be acknowledged by something greater than themselves, something as beautiful as the music that gently coaxed their hearts into a state of peace as the ensemble sang in melismatic motion, “Into thy hands, I commit my spirit.”
The other nerdy avenue was through the Japanese anime Naruto. There is this kid named Naruto Uzamaki who is training to be a ninja; and, he is an orphan. He also embodies a curse and is socially excluded and his existence unacknowledged. His desire is to become the greatest ninja, and actually surpass the Hokage, the leader and most accomplished and skilled ninja, for the sole reason of finally being acknowledged by the rest of the village. I know that in Japanese culture, this idea of acknowledgment has shown up strongly in a lot of the movies I have seen. It is this idea of one “looking at you.” And that phrase is even in a lot of love songs. Again, human being have the deep inherent desire to be looked at, our existence and worth affirmed.
This idea has been churning in my head and it was not until yesterday at my University’s chapel that I found myself on my knees crying out to God to “see me” and to “use me” and to “speak to me.” I was brokenhearted, weary and had let feelings of rejection swallow me whole. I had also neglected spending time with God in prayer and reading and solitude which led to my distancing myself from God on my own accord. In that moment, I began to hear the truth resound loud and clear and shake my entire body. A truth that had already been planted in my head with the attraction to the word “acknowledgment.” This truth was that I was seeking acknowledgment, that which my whole being desired, first from others and not first from my God.
I had begun to resort to old habits of being overly concerned with what people were thinking of me (resulting in an impression management), I had also began to become overly focused on receiving attention from my attractive male friends, because I felt this deep desire to actually be acknowledged by one of them and be ascribed some worth. It was in that moment of crying out to God that he reminded me that I was alive, and that life and worth defined me. He saw me in my need, he saw me for who I was, and he affirmed my identity. He spoke to me even through my silence toward him and finally awoke my heart to his truth and acknowledging presence.
Who are you relying on to give you life and meaning? Are you seeking approval from someone other than the God who created you and is waiting for you to see Him and in that, you will find that he “sees” you.
Psalm 139:1-4 says it well:
And now here is Ivoryline with a song that popped in my head as I was writing this blog post and spoke the words of my heart like a Psalm: