Do you think God notices you?

Sometimes I fear that Jesus overlooks me. Like I imagine that if he were to walk down the road as he often did in the Gospel accounts, and if I were to stand on the curb with an inner ache to be noticed, then I wouldn’t be surprised if he strolled right on by without glancing in my direction.

When this unconscious fear recently became conscious, I realized how it sometimes drives me to try, try, try so very hard. To wear myself out in an anxious attempt to gain recognition – to make sure I’m really seen – both by Jesus, and by others.

If I exceed that expectation, you’ll take note.
If I receive that award, you’ll take note.
If I obtain that position, you’ll take note.
If I beat that record, you’ll take note.
If I surpass that standard, you’ll take note.

Problem is, there are always more demanding expectations, more significant awards, more powerful positions, more impressive records, more scrupulous standards. And I only have so much energy.

When talking directly to Jesus about this issue – about my drive to stand taller than the rest in an attempt to secure attention – the story of Zacchaeus arose in my spirit. As the cheerful children’s song illustrates,

Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
And a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see;
And as the Savior passed that way,
He looked up in the tree,
(Spoken) And he said, Zacchaeus you come down
For I’m going to your house today.
For I’m going to your house today.

The short guy – the one Jesus had no reason to notice – was seen. Not only seen, but also sought out. Spoken to directly, and selected to spend time with. What did Zacchaeus do to earn such a privilege? Not a thing. He was simply curious enough to climb into a tree.

A part of my heart soaked in the promise of this story, but another part pushed back a bit. You may have noticed Zacchaeus, Jesus, but what about all the folks near him that you didn’t acknowledge? Who’s to say I wouldn’t be one of them, a faceless member of the crowd?

At the risk of sounding crazy, I share with you what I sensed him speak back:

While I may have had only two physical eyes during my time on earth, and thus could focus them on only one thing at a time, you do not understand my spiritual eyes. Remember that I and the Spirit are one. The mysterious Holy Spirit lives within you and all around you – he knows you intimately and he pays attention to you every moment of every day. He’s attuned to you, even when you aren’t attuned to him. He cares for you, he bathes you in love. Rest secure in that unconditional attention, which is with you regardless of what you do. It is not leaving. No human can provide such a thing, but the Spirit can and he does. You need not try to earn it, nor fear its loss. Be still and know that I am a God who sees, who pays attention, who notices. Be still and let my perfect, pervasive, passionate love drive out your fear. Be still, and rest, and know. 

In that moment my heart was still, and deep down I came to know.

Do you think God notices you?