My younger brother is successful in almost everything he does. His lawn mowing business as a pre-teen. His filmmaking career as a teenager. Finding an amazing wife, he married when he was 19. His track college scholarship. The guy faces challenges and excels. He’s intelligent, athletic, and charismatic. It’s incredible. I’m proud.
But also, sometimes I’m jealous. Everyone wants to hear what he has to say. Everyone wants his attention. Everyone respects and admires him. And sometimes, as his older sister, I feel invisible. Maybe you relate.
Or maybe you feel invisible for other reasons. Maybe you’re the successful one, but you still feel invisible because no one knows the real you, they only see your accomplishments. Maybe you have a long-term illness, and your days are spent in bed, out of sight, out of mind.
Maybe your family is just so busy all the time that everyone is too tired to really engage with each other. Maybe your skill set lies outside of the traditional path — you can fix any engine, but you can’t pass your biology class. Maybe your loved one needs some extra care. You love them, but they need a larger share of the attention than you, so you are overlooked.
Today, teenager, I want to let you know that you are not invisible.
1. You are seen by God.
Hagar was unseen too. Caught in the middle of Sarah and Abraham, her life kept getting thrown for a loop at Sarah’s whims. Sarah wanted her to bear her and Abraham a son, but when Hagar did, she got driven out.
Sarah was seen. And Hagar found herself in the desert, stranded with her son, about to die. No one cared. No one saw.
That is except for One Person –God.
God sent an angel to Hagar with promises and Hagar’s response resonates in my heart:
“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.’” – Genesis 16:13, ESVWe serve a “God of seeing.” He sees our tears, our joy, our wandering. He sees, and more than that, He comes close. Click To Tweet
We serve a “God of seeing.” How wonderful! He sees our tears, our joy, our wandering. He sees, and more than that, He comes close.
2. You are seen by others.
People watch. Even those who are quiet — especially those who are quiet.
As a chronically ill teenager, bedridden and housebound, I felt very isolated. No one saw how I went through each day.
You don’t post the same view of the ceiling day after day on social media. You don’t tell your friends all about how you laid in bed and did nothing. And no one tends to just sit there and do nothing with you.
I was facing suffering and choosing to be faithful, but I didn’t think it really made any kind of impact on anyone around me. I don’t think the neighbors even knew my parents had another kid.
Except, not as invisible as I thought. The emails and cards came. People saw me. People saw what I was going through, and it impacted their lives and hearts. People were watching. Watching to see if I’d endure, watching to see if I’d turn away from God.
Maybe you aren’t chronically ill, but other people see you. They see your suffering. They see your triumphs. The barista at your favorite coffee shop sees you when you smile at her. The classmate that sits next to you but never talks to you sees you. Your super successful brother sees you even if he never says so (I’m thankful for mine who did).
1 Timothy 5:24-25 says, “The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.”
3. Your faithfulness is seen for eternity.
Being a teenager is weird.
Sometimes we can see how our actions have eternal impact. We read books like Start Here or Love Riot and hear of teenagers doing amazing things for God. I know many of you here on TheReb are the very ones doing those amazing things.
On the other hand, as teenagers much of our lives are focused on things that don’t really seem to matter. Homework. Chores. Repeat. We go through the motions, and it doesn’t seem like it’s something that will really matter forever.
Except it does.Everything we do is an opportunity to glorify God. And that has eternal value. Click To Tweet
Everything we do is an opportunity to glorify God. And that has eternal value. Everything we do is also a chance to build character. Building character prepares us for things that will make an additional eternal impact.
Ever seen Karate Kid? Mr. Miyagi was teaching Daniel to fight a very real battle by having him paint fences. As Daniel painted fences — spoiler — he didn’t even realize he was building the exact muscles he would need to defeat his nemesis later in the movie.
Teenager, you are not invisible. You are seen by God. So today, let’s be intentional to see the unseen. To see our invisible God. To see the unseen eye of those around us, watching. To see the eternal value of the mundane tasks we do today.
You are seen, so see the unseen.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to hear more on this topic, please click the link to learn all about Sara Willoughby’s Diamonds 2023 Winter Event: Seeing the Invisible happening January 27th-29th. Diamonds 2023 is a FREE online conference for chronically ill Christians and Christians with health challenges.
Thank you so much for this article, Sara! This was a great reminder that I needed to hear.
I’m glad to hear that!
Wow, that was incredible, Sara!
Thanks so much Sara!
What a wonderfully encouraging post. Thank you.
Aw I’m glad to hear that, Kyra 🙂
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Sara! It’s so good to be reminded that God sees us and has a plan for us in all our human brokenness. Your point about character building is one which I have to constantly remind myself of as I cope with chronic illness too. (: Thanks!!