The thought landed softly, “You are invisible, and standing under a mistletoe couldn’t change that. No one will kiss you, because no one sees you.” It was a simple thought, an easily dismissible lie. Typical AdeOla would have snapped her head, raised her eyebrows and talked right back like, “Devil, not today!” My self-awareness and self-talk antennas were usually wired on strong, but a lot had happened and I had lost the desire to fight.
So the thought landed rather softly, I cowered and I let it sit.
This was the thought on my mind as I ushered in 2015 dancing on 14th street with my girlfriends. Though my thoughts were shame-filled, I had good reason to celebrate. Simply put, 2014 was a better and easier year than the seven years prior, and I had begun to see the light. My life was still murky, my vision was still blurry, and the trauma of the previous years had sure twisted my once vibrant personality and damaged my incredibly high self-esteem, but things had begun to look up. I was started to feel like myself again, like a lion and that I could take on the world. That, for me, was a reason to celebrate. However, there was one glitch, I had spent the last quarter of the year dealing with a new phenomenon: invisibility.
All through the fall of 2014, I felt unseen and unknown. It seemed like the world was looking through me, and most days, I felt like I wasn’t in the picture. Even though pieces of my shattered life had been picked off of the ground and was being crafted back together, a sense of invisibility haunted me. I felt inconsequential and transparent — like glass —I felt see-through. I can’t remember the moment I stopped feeling badass! It was such a slow fade. I knew the feelings were a lie, but sometimes feelings win the battle even when we know the victory is already ours in the war. It was an eerie feeling, and as my damaged self-esteem rose in 2014, invisibility kept kicking and weighing it back down.
Then one day, I prayed a simple prayer, and in true God’s fashion, one Sunday morning in the spring of 2015, he answered.
I visited my old church, and arrived a few minutes into worship. The worship song I walked in on was celebrating the Church, the bride of Christ, a concept I’m quite familiar with. As I sang the lyrics of the song, the tatty edges of familiarity fell off and a whole new world opened up. Out of my soul began flowing streams of overpowering truths interspaced briefly with a short Q&A.
“You are my bride, and you, my dear, are not invisible. I am your groom, and I have eyes only for you. I see you. You are a bride. The wedding guests await your entrance, and everyone caters to you. Your wish is their command. It is impossible for you to be invisible, my dear! You are seen, you are adored and you are loved. Believe, walk in it, and enjoy the freedom and joy that comes with it.”
These words hit me like streams of water in a desert place, but he wasn’t done.
“You are an event planner, right? He asked.
“Yes!” I replied.
“You have planned and coordinated quite a few weddings, right? He asked again.
“Yes!” I said.
“You have been a bridesmaid a couple of times, right?”
Yet again, I replied, “Yes.”
“As a planner and bridesmaid, what kind of brides do you dislike working with?”
“I can’t stand bride-zillas or obnoxious brides with diva-tude.” I promptly responded.
“Great, because your visibility and platform are not about you; it is always about me. I want you to turn it all around and give me, Christ, to others. Send gratitude and love back to your guests, your bridesmaids, family members, your planner and all your vendors. Your visibility is not a tool of manipulation or selfishness, but a powerful tool of influence and authority. The world is watching you and above all, I have my eyes on you. Remember, not everyone is invited to your party, and not everyone who is invited shows up or is able to show up. Those who matter and care show up - they see you, hold you up, and love on you. Ultimately, I am your audience and I am here to stay - stop looking to be seen in places I haven’t ordained you to be seen“
Then silence! Followed by a verse, “I am your glory, your shield and the lifter of your head.” (Psalm 3:3)
The entire encounter happened in the silent places of my heart, lasted for a few minutes and ended with a knowing deep within my spirit. That morning, bricks fell off the walls I had built around me, and scabs lifted off my heart revealing scars in some parts and unhealed wounds in others. I walked out of church in the afternoon with a sense of freedom and elation I haven’t felt in a while, because God’s truth does sets free and lies can’t stand a chance!