Whenever I get the opportunity to speak to a group I ask each woman to fill out a survey card which ask six questions about their personal sense of invisibility, such as how appreciated, seen, acknowledged, known, valued, recognized (you get the picture) she feels. I’ve received back almost 2000 surveys to use for my book, called Invisible, which is moving along at a snail’s pace aka God’s timing.
While I haven’t tallied all the scores, I usually see a variety of responses. Young moms might score a 6-7 on visibility by their children, while moms of older kids usually report much lower numbers. As a mom to teenagers I’m right there. Some women feel sort of seen by their spouses while others feel really appreciated and loved. And single women, especially if widowed or divorced, tend to experience greater invisibility than others. Sad, but true. I’m in that space as well.
When I ask women How visible do you feel to God? I see a lot of high scores, but since I speak to Christian groups, that’s not much of surprise. And I’m happy to see that.
What I have never seen before was a survey in which someone gave themselves all 10s-feeling fully visible, valued, and venerated by their children, their husband, and God. Most women, even if they score themselves high on visibility with God, still find themselves caught in human blind spots.
That is until this week. A woman in the audience of one of my talks this past week scored herself as feeling perfectly seen as a mom, a wife, and a child of God. And all at the same time. Amazing! Her children are rising up and calling her blessed for all her care and effort on their behalf. Wow! Her husband is appreciating her and filling her love tank in deeply satisfying ways. Where do I get some of that? And to top it all off, she is so secure in her faith that she knows that God sees her always.
Really? REALLY? I think not. (Well, that last part about God is true.)
We live in a world where people, our families even, are busy with their own lives and may not take notice of us. We live in homes where people need to focus on important tasks like changing diapers, making dinner, and paying bills and cannot always stop to glance our way. We work with people who don’t share our values and therefore don’t see our strengths or talents. And then some people just ignore us. We cannot be on everyone’s radar.
We cannot always be seen. Sometimes it’s no big deal and sometimes it really hurts. Like a recent survey card: Q: Who do you wish to be seen by?
A: My father. And that response was from a sweet adult woman. Invisibility happens to a lot of us.
If we can admit that we feel invisible then we have taken our first step on the road toward visibility, because there is a God who sees us all the time.
One of the names given to God back in the days of Sarah and Abraham is El Roi. It means “the God Who Sees Me.
It was given to him by an invisible woman, Hagar, who was disrespected, undervalued, and even despised. God met her in the desert and showed her that she was on His radar. He knew her, loved her and valued her greatly even though she had no idea. Being seen by God created an immunity for Hagar to the blindness of others. She willingly went back to her invisible life a changed woman because she knew that she was seen by God.
How about you?
When your husband asks, What do you do all day? do you know that God knows the answer to that question because He sees you every single minute of the day?
When your children are oblivious to the meals, laundry, and activities you provide, do you know that God sees your service to your family?
When your boss fails to recognize a job well done, do you know that God sees your work and says Well done, good and faithful servant?
No matter where we are in this journey called life, we will all be hit with waves of invisibility because we were made to be seen. The trick to handling that unnoticeable feeling is found in realization that God always notices us. So the next time one of those waves comes crashing down on you, remember the name, El Roi, the God Who Sees You, because His loving eyes are always upon you.
If you would like Dale to share the message of El Roi at your next women’s event/retreat, contact her at email@example.com.