What makes a person invisible in this world?
I have a couple of friends that when engaged in “conversation”, they never reciprocate listening. If I wait for a pause (which is rare in their cases), I begin speaking and before I can get even half-way through my sentence, they continue on as if I my thoughts were not relevant.
It’s the most insulting and condescending way to have a conversation.
So I have decided that since they cannot hear me, I must be invisible to them on an emotional, intellectual or spiritual level. Therefore, they are not adding value to my life. I have determined to spend as little time with them as possible.
I am an almost crippling introvert, so I must practice being social. I purpose to make eye contact with strangers and greet them politely. This world can be so cold that I hope to help people through this casual, random connection, even though for me it is a great sacrifice of my comfort zone. Lately, it has become more and more difficult to even illicit a curt nod from folks. If I measure the state of my community, our country, and the world by a simple greeting, I find that we are making each other more and more invisible. Instead of our world opening up, it is closing in around us. Eventually, we will suffocate in our own isolation.
Even if I wish it at times, I cannot shut out the world. I am a woman of faith.
But my faith sometimes makes me invisible. What I mean by that is if I am in a conversation (an actual conversation) with someone who wants to speak about national problems, world problems, personal problems, etc. and I mention faith-based solutions, I get the glass-eyed no response look. I have just become invisible in the conversation.
Faith-based solutions typically require personal involvement, a level of mercy and emotional risk. Most people are so self-involved that they cannot imagine making themselves vulnerable to help someone, or to consider an opinion that differs from theirs so a conversation involving mutual learning can take place.
We are all connected. And many of us are starving-emotionally, spiritually, or physically.
If you feel invisible, create vision. Surround yourself with people who will create vision with you. One candle gives a little light and a small amount of heat. But many candles will brighten the world and warm the coldest night. Or the coldest heart.
And when we shine, no matter who we are, and no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can no longer be invisible.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
6 thoughts on “Invisible Light”
I started writing a couple of weeks ago about WORSHIP and was devoting multiple posts to the topic. I really see that as the underlying issue here. Your post makes me want to get back to that task. I felt convicted to focus there again as soon as I can. I have been really too busy for the blog recently. But I think if God is truly worshiped, then the image of Him in you will play a part in our worship and in how we order our world for His glory.
I hear you. I care.
I would imagine that in your ministry, if it weren’t for you, many would feel invisible.
Probably so. And yet I too am blind to the very real people around me all the time. But, like the blind man healed in two stages (Mark 8), God is working on me.
I actually started to respond to you with a bit of my own story. Way before I got into ministry, back when I was a nominal Christian on my best day, I started thinking about going back to college and secured an old, used Sociology text book. I began reading about the invisible people of India. The OUT CASTS. And how there was a sub-caste even below the untouchables! These were known as the INVISIBLES. Shortly after reading of them in the text, I found a book by Philip Yancey (I forget which one now) that also described these people saying something like: After centuries of British presence, these people had not even been known to them. Wow! If even their shadow fell on a cooking pot of food, the food would be thrown out, the pot washed and started all over again. These people only came out at night and washed the clothes of the Untouchables!
I was so moved by it that I started looking for such in my own culture. Who were the equivalents? And I found them! And the experience so deeply enhanced my view of God that the whole experience shaped me and led me to the ministry I am in today.
I have joined them. I am a trained minister for God who writes no books, leads no lecture series, is not employed by the church or any parachurch ministries. I fly below the radar AS A MINISTRY!
I really wanted to say a whole lot of stuff like that to you, but I did not want you to be unheard. I backed off and just acknowledged your post instead, because it is not about me. Its not about what I do. I am subsequent to your experience, even though I have never met you personally. I was one of the seen who moved into the neighborhood of the invisibles. And I found God there! And really, I want to be WITH Him. He suffers indignity every day, and I have decided that is where the real action is. The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 largely goes unseen, but he exhibits God to the world.
I hope these words empower your post and the experience you write about. I hope you don’t FEEL alone in that place. I hope you sense the incredible company you are keeping there! And really, it is contempt that blinds us. When we don’t see you, it is not because our eyesight is damaged; it is because we cant see through our own contempt. But God is shining through in His mysterious way even when you go ignored for mentioning His movement and work in the world! Keep it up!
Yes. I care.
I truly appreciate your words in this space. All stories are valid. It is about you, you see. It’s about all of us who seek to know Him. The wonderful part is that I know that He sees me and hears me-regardless of those that overlook me. And in this world that I’m placed in I see people who have no idea that He sees them, too. The people that look over us, our purpose in life and more importantly those we serve-they have made the mistake of believing that they are their own source. Our words and our work mean nothing to them. Yes, it gets lonely for a little while, but I always find Him in the desolate places.
I read about the Invisibles a while back as well. A people so despised that even their shadows are reprehensible. A scathing realization that in this world we live in, most cultures seek to find those who are “less-than”, simply so they can feel “more-than”. With Christ, the less we become, the greater He works in us. If that would ever mean that even my shadow makes some shudder, so be it.
And I hope that as your way to worship deepens you will continue to be strengthened for the work you have left to do. It took me awhile to realize that the way of worship is different for each of us. And it also differs at different times in our lives depending on the need we have and what waits for us at the next turn in our journeys. Many times, I worship the Lord through my writing in psalms of praise to Him, but there was a season when I did not write anything for a year. I grew more I could ever have imagined.
Thank you for your encouragement, X. Your words are welcome here.