Known and loved

There is a great new song out by Christian artist Tauren Wells entitled “Known.” If you like the sound of Ed Sheeran, then this is an artist you will probably like. The chorus of his song is: 

“I’m fully known and loved by You,
You won’t let go no matter what I do,
And it’s not one or the other,
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace,
To be known fully known and loved by You,
I’m fully known and loved by You.”                                
                

Besides the melody of the song, I really love the reminder the song is bringing to us. Often in our lives we have people who know us but do not necessarily love us. Likewise, we often have people who love us but do not necessarily know who we really are. To be fully known by someone and still be loved by them takes full trust and vulnerability.

I think of the people in my life who love me. At even the basic sense of the word, it is completely within the realm of possibility to love someone we do not really know. It’s actually what God is calling us to do when He tells us to love our neighbor. He does not ask us to go out and get to know every person around us and then decide if they are worthy of our love, He simply tells us to love one another. I think sometimes it is more difficult to have someone love us and not really know us. We have that fear begin to creep in that their love for us might change if they really knew us. What if we show all of who we really are and then they choose to walk away? We know though, that we have a God Who knows us better than we know ourselves and yet chooses to love us despite our shortcomings. He reminds us through the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Long before we were even capable of knowing ourselves, before our parents were able to love us, God knew us and created us through His love. 

In his first verse, Tauren Wells perfectly captures this fear. He sings:

“It’s so unusual it’s frightening,
You see right through the mess inside me,
And you call me out to pull me in,
You tell me I can start again,
And I don’t need to keep on hiding.”

It is unusual in this world for someone to truly know who we are and yet still love us that when it happens it can terrify us. When we let someone in and they see the flaws or they see us mess up, we want to put a wall up that we can hide behind. God calls us to start over again and gives us the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be able to do that. He also gives us people who demonstrate this kind of love to us that reminds us what it like to be loved by a Creator Who knows and loves us. 

I am truly blessed to have the same two best friends for more than 20 years. They were my best friends in high school and my maids of honor in my wedding. There are no secrets between us. We have seen each other at our bests and we have seen each other when we would never let anyone else see us. We are fully known to each other and without a doubt, we are fully loved. In the beginning of our friendships, it was of course nerve-racking to let someone know us so well. However, the more we let each other in, the more we became comfortable we became being known and loved. The same is true of our relationship with God. The more time we spend with Him, the more time we let Him in, the easier it is to be still and know that we are loved. 

In the bridge before the final chorus, we are reminded, “How real, how wide, how rich, how high is Your heart. I cannot find the reasons why You give me so much.” We may never comprehend the reason why an all-powerful, all knowing God chooses to give us so much. We can, though, through prayer and the way we treat one another, respond to this love in kind. Allowing ourselves to be loved by God, we tear down the walls of fear and bask in the grace of His unending mercy. 

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.org.


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