Here I Am, Out on This Limb

Overlooked. Unnoticed. Unappreciated. Passed over. Invisible. That kind of overlooked.

Is there a more uncomfortable position?

I’ve experienced this recently, being the mother of a beautiful young woman. I’m no slouch but my daughter is gorgeous so she draws attention. So much so, I believe I could commit crimes in her presence and no witnesses would be able to describe me.

My daughter has never experienced a dry water glass in any restaurant. The moment her glass is half-empty, an eager waiter is there to top it off. I, sitting across from her, have sometimes had to resort to switching glasses with her to obtain a refill. (This is true!)

See, this is her.

See, this is her . . . just sayin’

We passed through a drive-thru once to get her an iced coffee. The boy in the window noticed my daughter in the passenger seat

just as he was placing the lid on her cup. He was so flummoxed at her appearance; he crushed the cup, drenching me with her coffee. Keeping his eyes on her, he apologized profusely – to her – as I brushed ice chips and coffee off my arm and neck. He was too busy making her a new coffee to hand me napkins.

Being overlooked is not usually that funny. It can be a source of unimaginable pain to feel invisible, unnoticed, or passed over.

You work hard, faithfully, for years only to watch others receive the promotions or the awards.

You serve a congregation faithfully only to have them tell you it’s time for a change.

You care for your home, your children, and your spouse with all your heart but his heart wanders to an old classmate he met on Facebook.

You long for a spouse, a child, a home, a miracle but you watch as others receive what you desire – never you.

You try so hard. You work, study, pray, serve, and wait but it feels as if it’s never your turn. Your time never comes. You’re always the one waiting and maybe, just maybe you won’t find a spouse, earn a book contract, get a job, be appreciated by your parents, win the election, or be the hero.

It can make you wonder if even God notices.

Maybe you’ll just have to take matters into your own hands. Maybe you’re just supposed to manipulate things on your own. You’re invisible, after all. No one notices you, so they won’t notice if you do what it takes to get a little piece of that something you deserve.

You’re tired of waiting. Maybe, you’re supposed to do more than what you’ve been doing. Maybe those things that others have done to get ahead – a little gossiping, a little lying, a little stealing, a few dates with a non-Christian, some well-timed self-promotion, a little backstabbing or compromising or indulging in bitterness, self-pity, and the occasional fit of rage. Other people throw fits and they get their way, right? Other people withhold affection and people do what they want. Other people cheat a bit on their taxes and their bills are paid.

Feeling overlooked can lead to terrible temptation. Ask Zacchaeus.

Hard to be a man of small stature. Warriors are tall. Leaders loom large over others. Strength is measured by the inch. But, there are other ways to tower over ones’ neighbors. Other ways to rise to the top.

Like setting aside your loyalty to work for the oppressors. Like charging exorbitant fees to process their taxes. Like threatening to whisper about neighbors to Rome if they don’t pay up. No one’s looking down on you now, right? Power doesn’t go unnoticed. No one overlooks a guy holding all the cards.

Deep down, though, you know you’ve lost a piece of yourself, a vital part that made it easier to sleep at night. Now, you’re the one who’s overlooked something – your integrity, your sense of honor, your wholeness with God.

Then, you hear He’s in town – God that is. And you think you just want a glimpse of Him. Maybe seeing Him will answer that nagging question of what’s missing inside of you. But there’s a crowd. It’s a tight crowd and no one cares that you want to see.

So even though you’re powerful now, you remember that as a child, you could get a better view from the trees. Before you can think, you’ve climbed the sycamore and even before you lay eyes on Him, you hear your name – Zacchaeus.

Wait. He knows your name.

You haven’t been overlooked. You haven’t gone unnoticed. Everything. He knows everything. And in that moment, you regret every second you didn’t wait for Him.

He saw you all along.

He sees you, too, loved ones. Let that be our comfort and our guide. Let that be our strength and our guardrail. Our light on the path and our watchword.

Of course our love, our faithfulness, our talents, our service, our hearts will be overlooked by others. The world overlooked the Son of God. Every day He goes unnoticed. Some of us will share in that suffering. We will know Jesus through the pain of being overlooked, unappreciated, underrated, trampled on, or hidden.

We will not go unnoticed forever. This is a phenomenon of this world alone.

The moment Zacchaeus knew He was known, He let go of everything else he’d been clutching. He regretted everything he’d snatched for himself. He remembered there was only one thing he truly needed.

Feeling overlooked? Go out on a limb with me today and catch a glimpse of the truth. The only One we need to notice us is the One who always sees.

Amazon is running a sale on the Kindle edition of Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus). Only 99 cents right now! Great time to send it to a friend who’s struggling. If you plan to use it for a small group, you can get the free Hints and Helps for Small Group Leaders HERE.

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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Kathy says:

    Lori, I just finished reading Here I Am, Out on This Limb. I printed it out and handed it to my pastor husband. We have been punched in the gut today by one of our lambs. Your blog on feeling unnoticed hit home for both of us. We’re trying hard to remember that the Lord is the One who matters and that He knows the sacrifices, the sleeplessness, the work it takes to shepherd a flock of sheep who sometimes bite. Thanks for sharing again, being relevant again, giving insight to real life again. I am so very grateful for you and the way you write and your willingness to disturb hobbits and slay dragons. Thanks most of all for being an outspoken sister in Christ who gets it!