For the Days You Don’t Feel Seen // Ep. 029

This is episode 29, and it’s a soul-care focused episode. We’re finding hope for the days we don’t feel seen, we don’t feel appreciated. It’s officially summertime now, and the days can feel slow, with the same routine and each day turning too quickly into the next day. You are keeping at it though, day after day, doing what’s best for your family—folding laundry, cooking meals, changing diapers, listening to detailed descriptions about video game plots, making phone calls, organizing paperwork … But because my family members are so comfortable in the routine I work hard to maintain, they can take it for granted. That can make me feel taken for granted. I can spiral into feeling unseen and unappreciated. And what grows from that seed is frustration, resentment, or even me pouting a little until someone does notice me and all my hard work.

That isn’t a cycle I want to keep repeating this summer. I want a breakthrough! And I know what will bring that breakthrough—the truth of God’s Word and His love for me. Even more than that, His delight in me! So today we’re going to talk about El Roi, the God who sees, because friends, He sees you even when it feels like no one else does.

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June 22, episode 29 For the Days You Don’t Feel Seen

Hi, friends! This is self-care and soul care for the caregiver, and I’m your host, Sandra Peoples. To us, self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. We’re abiding caregivers who want to take better care of ourselves so we’re able to care for our loved ones who rely on us.

This is episode 29, and it’s a soul-care focused episode. We’re finding hope for the days we don’t feel seen, we don’t feel appreciated. It’s officially summertime now, and the days can feel slow, with the same routine and each day turning too quickly into the next day. Due to continuing covid restrictions, many of the plans you had for this summer may be canceled or at least adjusted. You are keeping at it though, day after day, doing what’s best for your family. Folding laundry, cooking meals, changing diapers, listening to detailed descriptions about video game plots, making phone calls, organizing paperwork—it’s all super important even when it doesn’t feel important. Even when you don’t feel like anyone notices. If that’s you, I hope you’ll listen for the next 10 minutes or so and feel encouraged!

Before we jump into today’s topic, I want to mention the sponsor for this week’s episode! It’s By the Brook, a virtual conference for female caregivers hosted by my friends at Rising Above Ministries! It’s happening this weekend, June 26 & 27, so be sure to listen all the way to the end of the episode to find out how to register for free!

I really love Christmas. Actually, I love anytime I can pick gifts for people that I think they will really love. I mentioned back in episode 022: Writing New Stories for Ourselves that I like being known as a good gift giver. A couple Christmases ago was special for me in another way though. It stands out because Lee got me a few gifts that were extra meaningful because they made me feel seen and known. These weren’t gifts off a list I had given him. They weren’t things I had not-so-subtlety hinted at in the weeks leading up to Christmas. He came up with these gifts all by himself. And as I opened them in front of my parents and sister who had come over to celebrate Christmas Eve with us, they all said the same thing, “That’s perfect for Sandra.”

It feels good to be seen, to be known. Whether that’s from a friend, a spouse, a parent, or someone unexpected like a coworker or even the checkout lady at the grocery store who encourages you with a smile and a genuine question about how your day is going.

But there are times when we don’t feel seen. When the monotony gets us down. I notice that in my own life especially in the summertime. I’m working on my own projects less, I’m interacting with fewer people, and honestly, most of my time is taken up by things that are part of life as a mom and wife, but not necessarily my favorite parts. Laundry isn’t my favorite part, and there’s a lot of it right now. I enjoy cooking, but even those of us who love it are hitting our limit right now fixing so many meals each day. And all that cooking messes up extra dishes and requires more trips to the grocery store. Even working in my garden, which brings me lots of joy, isn’t as fun when the weeds try to take over or the plants burn up and stop producing.

And because my people are so comfortable in the routine I work hard to maintain, they can take it for granted. That can make me feel taken for granted. I can spiral into feeling unseen and unappreciated. And what grows from that seed is frustration, resentment, or even me pouting a little until someone does notice me and all my hard work.

That isn’t a cycle I want to keep repeating this summer. I want a breakthrough! And I know what will bring that breakthrough—the truth of God’s Word and His love for me. Even more than that, His delight in me!

So let’s start with the verse I always turn to when I feel like my feelings, as strong as they may be, aren’t telling me the truth. They are a guide for sure, but a guide that should lead us to the truth. I find that in Philippians 4:9:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Is it actually true that my family doesn’t value me enough to pay attention to what I do? No. Is it just or fair of me to pout when I feel ignored? Not really. So what truth can I focus on instead? How can I replace the negative pattern I fall into with a renewed feeling of peace and purpose? I remember God is the God who sees me.

 

The God who Sees is a name given to God by a woman who certainly didn’t feel seen. Let’s look at her story in Genesis.Most of us have heard about Abraham and Sarah. They are the patriarch and matriarch of the Hebrew people and therefore the Christian faith. In the chapter 15 of Genesis, told Abraham he would be the father of a great people. Verse 5 says, And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Later in chapter 22 God said “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

And those promises came true! All the earth was blessed through the legacy of faith that started with Abraham and led to Jesus. But in chapter 16, not everyone in Abraham’s household felt blessed to be there. One woman in particular was put in a terrible position because Abraham didn’t trust and obey God the way he should have. Her name was Hagar.

Hagar was Sarah’s maidservant, and as was the custom for some at that time, Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham because at that point Sarah hadn’t been able to conceive a child. Hagar became pregnant by Abraham, but that angered Sarah. When she spoke to Abraham about it, his apathy and callousness are clear: verse 6 says, But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

Hagar was pregnant and alone. She must have felt unseen and unappreciated. But an angel of the Lord met her in her time of need. Met her right there in the middle of a mess she didn’t create, but she was certainly feeling the consequences of. The angel comforted her and gave her a plan to return to Sarah and Abraham. Then in verse 13 it says, 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.”

The God of seeing is El Roi. And just like He saw Hagar alone in the desert, He sees you on this summer day. As He provided for her and cared for her, He provides and cares for you. Did He take her out of her challenging circumstance? No. In fact, her calling was to go back. But she went back knowing that He saw her. That He cared for her. And that gave her the strength she needed to keep going.

God will do the same for you today if you are feeling unseen. Remember the verses we read that said Abraham’s decedents would be like the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore? As a believer, you are one of those stars, you are one of those grains of sand. Abraham wasn’t able to number those who would become his spiritual decedents, but God could. Eph. 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” So not only were you created by God, you are called by God to fulfill a specific purpose. And you know what? Part of that purpose is the daily grind we experience—the laundry, the dishes, the bill paying, the toilet paper shopping, the conversations, the work of caring for others.

It may feel like drudgery, but it can be worship. It can be acts of praise and thankfulness. It is seen by God even when it doesn’t feel like it’s seen by anyone else, and it blesses Him even as it blesses those you care for. That’s where we can put our focus today and each day we feel forgotten and unseen.

Join with me in prayer as we wrap up our time together,

You are El Roi, the God who sees me. Like Hagar, we can say we have seen the one who looks after us. Look after me today, God. Make Your presence known in the daily tasks I complete, in the weekly routine we’ve fallen into. I can find my strength in You as I walk in the good works you have prepared ahead of time for me. Help me to find joy in those good works, to ultimately find joy in You. In Jesus’s name, amen.      

Friends, decide with me today that you will live as a woman seen and known by her creator. And let that truth be the boss today instead of what you may be tempted to feel.

Thanks as always for spending time with me today. If this episode was encouraging to you, please take a minute to give a 5 star rating or leave a review. Each week more and more people are finding us and deciding if this is the right podcast for them. Your rating and review help them know that spending 15 minutes each week with us will help them become an abiding caregiver.

Now let me tell you more about this week’s sponsor, Rising Above’s online conference, By the Brook! It’s happening this weekend, June 26th and 27th! Becky and her team have truly thought through every detail to make you feel appreciated and encouraged. I’ll be speaking Friday night and I’ll be leading an online small group, so I’d love for you to join me. Just register for free by visiting www.risingaboveministries.org/bythebrook Make sure you click over to do it right away since it’s happening this weekend, June 26th and 27th!

I’m praying for you this week, friend. That together we can rest in God’s love for us and draw strength from that love. If you haven’t connected with me yet on Instagram, this is a great week to do that! I’ll share pics of the gifts Lee got me that made me feel known and seen a few Christmas ago. But only if you promise not to laugh at one of my secret obsessions. My Instagram username is SandraPeoples. As always, you can find the link to that and a link to my AbidingCaregiver Facebook group in the show notes at sandrapeoples.com/thepodcast Have a great week friends, and I’ll meet you back here next Monday!

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