I think one of the worst, if not the worst, feeling a human can feel is when one is misunderstood.
Some might argue that the worst feeling is to feel unloved or dispresected, but I believe if someone understands us they will know what we need to feel loved or respected. I’ve been thinking about this for two years now and it still seems to ring true in my life. Nothing seems to hurt my heart more or leave a gut-wrenching feeling than when I realize I have been misunderstood, especially when I’ve tried to explain myself to no avail. The closer the person is to you, the worse it seems to pain you too.
When I get to feeling like this it puts me in a funk that is sometimes hard to pull myself out of. But I’ve got to remind myself what is true. One thing I remind myself of is:
Jesus was misunderstood.
He was perfect and righteous, yet He was still understood by people. If He was misunderstood, I totally will be too. Yet He seemed to seek love above all, not understanding.
I’m a 2 on the enneagram and part of my personality is loving to help people. I also really like pleasing people. It’s important to me to be in good-standing with everyone. Within this I get really upset if I think I’ve done something that has gone misunderstood by someone else. I can totally overcompensate trying to fix it and get sort of fixated on it, or I can go over-the-top in trying to prove my point to show I was right. Something that hit me this year though is that I cannot make “being understood” a god in my life. I think having an “invisible illness” has made this a big thing for me personally. I feel misunderstood in my illness often, and with that means lots of feelings of being alone and isolated. My health is such a roller-coaster where one week I’m totally out and the next I am able to do more. I feel like people don’t believe me or people think I am in a bad mood, when honestly I just feel so bad but am trying hard to be happy through it. I so badly want to be understood and seen in it and known in it and still loved in it. But I just cannot make “being understood” my goal. It will drive me crazy because it is impossible to do!
There is one situation though where it is possible:
God understands me.
He created me and knows me more than I know myself. He knows my wants and my needs. He knows the passions inside me. He knows every piece or me and everything about me. I don’t have to try to explain myself. He knows me and sees me and loves me do deeply through it all. He knows my heart and my motives and sees me for who I am becoming. (Psalm 139)
I’ve been reading in Proverbs a lot lately (highly suggest it, will write on that soon), but I read the other days in Proverbs 3:3-4 in the Passion Translation.
“Hold on to loyal love and don’t let go, and be faithful to all that you’ve been taught. Let your life be shaped by integrity, with truth written upon your heart. That’s how you will find favor and understanding with both God and men- you will gain the reputation of living life well.”
Guys, we are to read the Word, take in the Word, know the Word- know the thoughts of God, and then love others. ESV says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck.” Know God, love God, love others, be faithful. This is the goal. And when this is the goal I believe all other things will fall into place. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given unto you (Matthew 6:33).” Seek Him…seek to know His thoughts (p.s. His thoughts are in the Bible…are the Bible) and everything else will be given unto you. I don’t think that means we will necessarily always be understood, but perhaps that we won’t need that understanding from people. I think when we are so deep in God’s thoughts, we are so immersed into His love, that it drives out the need for other things- “perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).” His love is perfect, He is love, and I think when we are aware of that, it drives out the fear of being misunderstood or the fear of loneliness and isolation. There is comfort to be found in being fully-known and fully-loved by our Maker.
With that, I believe when we are living in this place, the place of understanding God’s thoughts and knowing we are loved by Him, we gain a sense of better understanding others. We see them in a different light. When we have God’s thoughts deeply ingrained in us, we can better see people the way God sees them. Maybe we can try to be a people of better understanding. We go into so many conversations and interactions with a preconceived notation of how people are…and I think typically we already think we know whats going on, or assume the worst in people (at least I naturally do this often). But I am seeking to start entering situations with a heart that wants to understand. A heart that doesn’t always have to be right or explain where I am coming from, but a heart that seeks to genuinely know someone else and care for them. Proverbs says a great deal about understanding. When we seek to understand others I think we show them a lot about love, and when we show them love, we give them a glimpse of God.
Go out into this day knowing you are known by God!! What a sweet, sweet truth that is! We can tell Him whats going on. We can confide in Him and be real with Him! What a comfort that is that you’ve always got someone not only willing to listen but wanting to listen!
Dress: (its on sale for only $33!) Roolee
Wow, Mary Kate! Your posts get better and better:) I love that you were able to turn your feelings of being misunderstood around to striving to better understand others through God’s eyes. I have such a high level of respect for you, and it’s such a joy to see you in your element and sharing what God is doing in your life. Keep it up, sweet sister!
This resonated with me so much! I’m in a transitional season in my life, getting ready to move out next year & transfer to a 4-year college. I have friends who understand what I’m feeling about all of it, but even they can’t get me completely. My parents are the best, but I also feel misunderstood by them. I know the Lord will always be there for me & He knows exactly what I’m going through. Thank you for this!!
Oh my gosh MaryKate you have no idea how much I needed this! My whole life I have felt like people don’t understand my dreams, worries or thoughts, but I never thought of it as being misunderstood I just thought that I was strange and couldn’t connect with others. Recently God has been showing me that I am actually really good at connecting and I need to stop believing those lies. This post has just been the biggest confirmation to me that God KNOWS me and I never have to worry about whether or not he understands what I’m trying to say or what my heart is because he already knows!
Thanks again MK you’re amazing
Wow! This is just what I needed this morning! Im a 2 on ennigram as well and I totally relate to wanting to be in the right with everyone. And I know what it feels like to be in your head if you feel like you did something wrong, and then over fixate on it. And I love helping peoole. I have a huge servants heart and it’s one of my gifts from the Lord, but if I even think night messed up, then I over think the situation and fear starts bto set it. But truth is that we have Jesus, what else could we need! Thank you!
I love how you talked about seeking God and his thoughts, I think sometimes I get so fixated on my desires and how they will fit into God’s plans that I forget what thoughts God wants to give me. In a bible study recently my mentor was talking about the sometimes over simplified verse “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4. We often think this means that if we love the Lord, he will give us whatever might ask for. However, she told me that the way this verse was intended to be read was as, Love the Lord and he will place his desires in your heart. This gave me a new perspective on how the Lord wants to guide our thoughts on holiness and being fixated on Him. Also, loved that you mentioned the enneagram, Ive been loving learning about it for months and listening to Sleeping At Lasts songs for each number.
Such a beautiful, honest post!
Very well said. Psalm 139 is so comforting. Love your outfit, Roolee and Clad & Cloth are amazing brands! ^-^