As far as I can remember in my life, I’ve never been one to stand out. I am the younger sister to a firstborn son in a traditional Korean family, so my brother almost always got all the attention. I didn’t stand out for my looks, for my outgoing personality or for any exceptional talent. For a shy kid, I guess it didn’t make much of a difference, it was actually a relief. My nature was further reinforced by the fact that I was raised in the traditions of the Korean culture, where it was considered a virtue for women to be reticent and submissive, and to remain in the background.
I wanted to be heard, be seen and be noticed.
I wanted to matter and make a difference.
As I grew up and started to think for myself and to form my own opinions, I grew a desire to have a voice. I wanted to be heard, be seen and be noticed. I wanted to matter and make a difference. Being shy by nature and having been nurtured within the constraints of my culture, speaking up and expressing my voice did not come naturally, and it’s always been a struggle. In many situations, as a student in my teens and well into my young adulthood as a working professional, I never felt fully entitled to have an opinion that was worth expressing. I never truly believed that what I had to say mattered or could make a difference. In my struggle, writing became my refuge as well as my desperately needed outlet to express everything that was in my heart and mind without any inhibitions.
The other day I found myself revisiting a post I wrote about Hagar as part of the Women in the Word series from She Reads Truth. As I was reading Genesis 16, verse 13 struck me in a way that it never did before. It says, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.” Our God is a God who sees Hagar, a slave girl who’s been forced into a situation, not of her own choosing, and mistreated for an outcome that was out of her control. Talk about not having a voice. And yet God sees her and also hears her and the cries of her son later on in Genesis 21. Both times, when Hagar runs away and then later is sent away to the desert, God seeks after her because she matters to Him. When Hagar says “I have now seen the One who sees me,” she recognizes her source of strength and protection and trusting in God’s promise, she finds the confidence to face her difficult circumstances and keep going.
I can make a difference in people’s lives
by my quiet and steadfast love and care for them,
speaking up only when necessary
for the sake of those who need to be heard.
Now that I’m older, and hopefully wiser, I feel more confident in what I have to say and when I have to say it. Being grounded in God’s truth helps me know that I was created in His image and have an inherent value that is undeniable and cannot be taken away by this world. However, I’ve also learned that to make a difference in this world, I don’t necessarily need to be the loudest, the most outspoken, or even draw attention to myself. I can make an impact in this world by using my God given gifts to serve others. I can make a difference in people’s lives by my quiet and steadfast love and care for them, speaking up only when necessary for the sake of those who need to be heard. The words in 1 Peter 4:10-11 echo my sentiments, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
Have a blessed rest of the week!
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