“My name was not in there. …see I am INVISIBLE!”
This is a modern day El Roi moment told by my old friend Julie. Go get your tissues. Here’s Julie…
The magazine I started was growing faster than I expected, and shortly before moving to Nebraska, I had our second child and I was attempting to hold it all together: stay at home mom and business owner. What I didn’t realize is that the business I owned gave me an identity that I loved and perhaps started to idolize.
I was beginning to get overwhelmed and I felt as if God was telling me, “Let the business go. Sell it.” I argued with this idea and worried I would loose my identity and passion. But I continued to feel this nudge as if He was saying to me, “Oh, I’ve got big plans for you, you have to trust me.”
Fast forward through a messy year of selling my business. As the dust began to settle I didn’t expect what would happened next. A major identity crisis, loneliness, and depression. I regretted giving up the business I was so very proud of. But I knew God was working something out in me, I just didn’t know what.
It was later that year that felt the nudge to pursue my love of writing and teaching. Maybe this was the “next thing” that God was hinting towards.
So what does a woman do when she wants to speak and write? Well, she attends a conference for speakers and writers right?
So I took the plunge and signed up for one of the biggest speaking and writing conferences in the country. Being in a room with 50 women makes me really nervous let alone 800 women and famous people.
Talk about feeling invisible.
“Oh holy crap! All these women want to be speakers and writers?”
“Seriously! God, what the heck? Why am I here?”
The anxiety started to set in as I had no clue how the world would hear my message when there are like millions of women who also have a message.
And oh the self-talk: “You are not supposed to be here…Nobody knows who you are… Why would they listen to you… You can’t stand out here. YOU ARE INVISIBLE!”
I wanted to go home.
But I stuck around. I wanted to learn some things. And I had gotten two appointments with some prominent publishers. And I actually had a book idea.
The nerves were killing me as I walked up to my first appointment. A stern woman scolded me for showing up early and told me I’d have to come back in 15 minutes.
There was only one place I could go while I waited in misery. This prayer room that I heard the speakers talking about… “Now go check out our prayer room. We’ve placed all your names in there on the different names of God and it will be fun to see where your’s ended up.” (said with a deep southern accent)
So I went to the prayer room. There was incense burning and a prayer monitor woman sitting in the corner and the lighting was dim. I just went straight over to the names. This would keep me busy, searching for my name among hundreds of names.
So I searched… and I searched. I saw names I recognized of the people speaking and teaching and even the publisher’s names.
“Wow, they thought of everyone.”
One problem. My name wasn’t in there. I looked again across the three long tables with hundreds of names and the many names of God. I moved confetti and candles and incense around.
My name was not in there.
“You see I am INVISIBLE!” I shouted and quickly got out of the Prayer Room Prison and proceeded to my publishers meeting… which I bombed. She kindly thanked me for my book idea and told me that she liked it, however it needed some more thought. “Come back to me in a year when you’ve started a blog on the subject and have your ideas a little more planned out.” I thanked her and left.
I just bombed a publishers meeting. This was one of my biggest fears. I just needed her to see me as an author, as someone capable of writing a book, and I sabotaged it with my nerves. I couldn’t get out what I really wanted to.
And then it hit me. “I just bombed a publishers meeting!!!”
Hold the phone, I just lived through one of my biggest fears. I braved some ultimate failure! Something started to shift in me.
I had one more publishers meeting coming up and I was not going to let myself feel like a victim. So what if I was invisible? So what if nobody here knows me or knows what I am capable of! I don’t really want to care about their opinions. I’m not doing this for them. I’m doing this for God.
But because I’m still a ball of nerves at this point I had to go somewhere and hide. So I went back to the Prayer Prison where all those names are locked up (except mine which is a free spirit that cannot be contained on a table with other names)… this time with a different perspective. Since my name wasn’t in here, I would instead pray for all these other names listed here. I would end this pity party and start caring about others more. I put my hands over all these names and prayed the name of God for them that they were listed under. When I got half way through the names, a wave of relief came over me and I felt like God was saying “Why did you take your eyes off of me? I never thought you were invisible! I told you I have a plan for you, and it’s good, trust me!”
It was in that moment, I suddenly didn’t care if a publisher liked my book idea or if they liked me. It didn’t matter because I was on God’s plan and His timing. If it’s time for a publisher to notice me, He’ll make it happen. And He can make that happen with or without this conference.
I continued to pray for all those names until I got to the last sheet of paper.
And there it was –my name! After all of this, there it was. And do you know what name of God it was under?
Which is the God who SEES you!
Are you kidding me!? The chills went through me and I started to weep. It was all I needed. I just needed to know that I was not invisible. I just needed to know that God sees me among hundreds of talented and loud women and He says “I see you child! Stop doubting”
It was a remarkable feeling. It was a greater feeling, than a publisher noticing me.
I try to remember that feeling on days like today when I’m sitting at home feeling invisible.
I feel invisible a lot. But I know I shouldn’t. I know my husband loves me. And my kids think I’m pretty cool. I know I have some friends. I think the dog really appreciates me. But I can’t help this feeling of invisible from seeping into this ordinary mundane life I seem to live.
We were created with a desire to be noticed. In fact if we look into many of our deepest desires we would find that it points to the way we were created. The world tries to fulfill this desire in our hearts but will always ultimately fail. It’s a deep pit that only God can manage to fill.
I hope I can have a chance to me you, the reader of this post, someday and encourage you and tell you all the ways God has made you special and how un-invisible you are! Take care, friend!
Julie and her husband Josh have been on many adventures in ministry. They have three kids. Julie is a gifted bible teacher, writer, speaker and entrepreneur.
Connect with Julie on her website Eyes Wide. Heart Deep at julieluse.com