The Deep Well with Erin Davis Podcast

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You Are Truly Known

Season:  Connected   Buy

Laura Booz: Erin, I recently saw this video. My mom sent it along, because it was the twenty-fifth year anniversary of the church I grew up in. I was there the very first Sunday. I think I was maybe late junior high or something. I’m not that old! (laughter)

Erin Davis: Of course not! Me neither!

Laura: But I sat there and tears just streamed down my face, because it was this montage of beautiful memories that happened over the years—everything from baptisms and prayer vigils to volleyball games and cookouts. I realized that what we were doing day after day, week after week, year after year was building a family! 

At the time, it seemed like we were just adding another thing to the calendar. You know, Friday night we’re all going to get together for a hot dog festival. 

Erin: Yeah, at the bonfire. My church did those! I don’t think we called them hot dog festivals. 

Laura: But that was hard work! It was the same people setting those things up and tearing them down and doing the prayers and the baptisms. It was the same people going through the highs and lows and ups and downs with each other. But twenty-five years later, to look back on what was built was so stunning. I could see God’s glory all over it!

This is The Deep Well with Erin Davis, a podcast from Revive Our Hearts. I’m Laura Booz. This season of The Deep Well is based on Erin’s book Connected: Curing the Pandemic of Everyone Feeling Alone Together. 

I think it’s amazing that the book was published in 2014, because since that time we all have a new appreciation for the heaviness of the word “pandemic.” And while the world felt the effect of COVID-19, the pandemic of loneliness became even worse! 

Erin recorded this episode of The Deep Well with a small socially distanced audience because COVID-19 was still affecting us. But even when we get relief from the pandemic, loneliness will always be a problem. Let’s get biblical perspective as Erin continues. 

Erin: I was just about to start cooking supper when my parents called out of the blue. They said these words I love to hear: “Can we come pick up the boys and take them to the movies?” I’m not sure that I had hung up the phone before I yelled, “Boys! Get your shoes on! Gigi and Grandad are on their way!”. . . because my night had just gotten a lot more interesting!

My husband, Jason, and I waved goodby-y-y-e to our little boys, and we hopped in the car. We had no plan! We had no map loaded on our phones. We just drove the backroads of our little country town. 

As much as we love our sons, I believe the last time we had an uninterrupted conversation might have been the few moments before our first son was born! So Jason and I settled into a rhythm that’s really familiar. We started asking each other questions.

Jason asked my favorite car, even though he knows the answer is a yellow T-top Corvette. I asked his favorite hymn, even though I know that we share the same favorite hymn: “Come Thou Fount.”Back and forth we went, driving the backroads and getting to know each other again.

Like I said, we already knew the answers to the questions. We have been asking and answering the same questions for more than twenty years. But the fact that we are still asking them, the fact that we are still listening to the answers . . . it’s like Post-it notes to each other. They say this: “I know you!”

Few people have known me longer than Jason Davis has, and no one knows me better. No one has had a closer look at my heart and my life than my husband. But I need the reminder that I am known. He does, too. We all do.

In this episode we are going to talk about the difference between known and being loved. I’ll give away the punchline—too often we hang all of our hopes on the wrong hook. We are obsessed with being loved. 

We think admiration, adulation, applause—and that little “like” button on our phones—is the be-all and end-all. Now, you’re not going to hear me say that love doesn’t matter or that we don’t need love. Of course we do. But we’re missing something when we value being loved over being known.

One of the pictures that Scripture gives for our relationships is found in the book of 1 Samuel. It is a description of the friendship between David (he was not yet King David in this story) and Jonathan, who is the son of King Saul. 

David was a celebrity in his day! He was the giant-slayer by this point. He was admired for his bravery. Throngs of women cheered his name in the streets (we find that in 1 Samuel 18:7). But what did all that love gain him? Let’s take a quick look at David and the people who loved him.

First, there’s King Saul. In 1 Samuel 17, David impresses King Saul by killing the giant Goliath. So you know the story, maybe. David hits the giant in the head with a rock and then David cuts off the giant’s head, and he brings the head of the giant to the king.

Apparently, this is Saul’s love language, because he becomes enamored with David. He invites David to come to the palace. But Saul’s love for David burned really hot for a very short time. He became jealous of David. 

Saul plotted to kill David several times, and eventually Saul’s rage became so all-consuming that David was forced to flee. If this “love story” was a movie, now would be the time to cue the song “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.”

Let’s talk about Michal. Michal was Saul’s daughter and she loved David, too. 1 Samuel 18:20 says this, “Now Saul's daughter Michal loved David.” There it is in black and white! “And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.” So David and Michal get married, but the love a couple feels on their wedding day isn’t always enough to carry them through to “happily ever after.”

Let me fast-forward us a little bit in the story to 2 Samuel chapter 6, verse 16: “As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.” Maybe the right song for this story is Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.”

Michal looked at her husband—the man that Scripture said she loved—and she despised him in her heart. Both Saul and Michal loved David. Sometimes their love was so strong it looks like obsession. 

They really, really loved David, but that love didn’t last. And in the case of both Saul and Michal, feelings of love for David were replaced with jealousy and resentment. There are plenty of songs that tell that story, of love on the rocks. But there is a more excellent way.

Let’s look at David’s relationship with Jonathan. Jonathan was Saul’s son, and Jonathan was David’s very best friend. The Bible tells us that Jonathan gave David his robe, his armor, his sword, his belt. These were friendship offerings given from one warrior to another. 

When Saul intended to kill David, Jonathan worked as a mediator between his dad and David, and when that didn’t work, Jonathan helped David escape. There’s a single verse in the Bible that describes their friendship, and it has changed the way I see all of my relationships.

It’s in 1 Samuel 18:1; it says this, “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Knit-together souls: this is the picture we find in Scripture of knowing each other. Knowing is different from loving. Knowing says, “I see who you are, and I choose to weave my life into your life.”

Some of you are probably knitters, and you have my respect! I’m always trying to find a hobby, and I had a very short run trying to learn to become a knitter from my neighbor Lisa, who is a master knitter. In fact, today I’m wearing socks that Lisa knit for me ten years ago, and they’re as good as new. She’s that good.

And I said, “Lisa, teach me to knit!” And, bless her heart, she tried. But what Lisa didn’t tell me is that knitting feels a lot like math. You have to pay attention, and it was way too much counting and concentration for me. I wanted something mindless, and for me that wasn’t it, so I never became a knitter. 

But I’m so thankful for those very few knitting lessons I had with Lisa, because when I read that Jonathan’s soul was knit to the soul of David, I understand the analogy. “Knit-together souls” means that our relationships require intentionality. It means that our relationships require sustained and concentrated effort. 

It means that relationships where we prioritize knowing each other over liking and loving each other are fruitful, are lasting. It means we see each other for who we really are. 

Now, Jonathan had as much access to the flaws of David as the rest of his family, so I don’t think he just had some pie-in-the-sky ideas of who David was. He saw David as flawed, and I’m sure David saw Jonathan as flawed, but they saw each other as they really were and they willfully super-glued their lives together. Sometimes I think we’re lonely because we’re so wrapped up in loving and being loved that we miss the opportunities to know and be known.

God beautifully models this for us. He shows us how to know and how to be known. He knows us so very well! I’m going to rapid-fire off a few verses about God knowing us. I could rapid-fire off many, many, many verses about God knowing us, but I’m going to give you a few.

Psalm 31:7 says He knows the distress of your soul.

Psalm 139:4 says before a word is on your tongue, God knows it completely. That’s a terrifying thought for me, that God knows the words I’m going to speak before I even speak them. 

Psalm 139:16 says He knows the exact number of days you will live. 

And don’t you just love Luke 12:7? He knows the very number of hairs on our heads.

Here’s what the Bible tells us: God knows you better than you know you. And this is huge! He knows us better than we know us, but it gets even better. He invites us to know Him . . . God! God, the God of the universe, the God who created all things invites us . . . we’re just dust. He invites the dust to know Him!

Again, this is written all over Scripture. Again, I could give you many, many, many verses that illustrate this. I’m just going to hit some highlights.

Psalm 9:16: “The Lord has made himself known” 

Psalm 16:11: God makes the path of life known.” 

Psalm 67:2: God’s ways can be “known on earth.” 

Who wrote all these verses? King David. 

The King David we were just talking about, who knew what it was like to have souls knit together with other people, also knew what it was like to know and be known by God. Psalm 98:2, God makes His salvation known. John 1:18, Jesus came to make God known. 

These are important verses! They are showing us that God knows us and that we can know Him. There have been a couple of times that I can think of that I have been done kind of undone by these next two passages.

The first one is in Isaiah 48:6: “You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known.”

Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you, and [I] will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” 

I remember being at a conference and parking in these verses and just weeping that God has revealed the mysteries of life and salvation and creation to me, because I could have never found them without Him! So the universe that God created is in some way a massive treasure hunt! 

I always love it when scientists will say, “We discovered this species that no one knew existed!” I laugh, because God knew it existed, always; He just chose to let us find it. So God has hidden these mysteries in Creation that we could not have known without Him, including the mystery of salvation.

And then, in His mercy, He makes those hidden things—things we could not have known without Him—He makes them known to us. God knows us better than we know us and He invites us to know Him. Isn’t that the Christian life? Isn’t that essentially what we’re doing? We’re knowing and being known by God all day, every day. We’re knowing and being known by God!

That is so much more appealing to me than the Christian life being a list of do’s and don’ts. That is so much more appealing to me than the Christian life just me being a failure, tell God I failed again; fail, tell God I failed, try again. No, the Christian life is knowing and being known by God.

If you’ve been to many Christian weddings, or maybe in your own wedding, you’ve heard 1 Corinthians 13. It’s often called “the love chapter.” I don’t know if Paul would like it that we call it the love chapter, but that’s what we call it.

And in it, the apostle Paul tells us what love should look like. Love is patient, love is kind, it’s that list of what should look like and what love should not look like. But that love chapter in our Bibles, it’s wrapped in a really strange bow.

Let me read us 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” After a very vivid and a very practical description of what love is and what love isn’t, Paul seems to take a hard left here into the subject of being known.

It’s really hard for us to grasp what love is, and I think it’s even harder for us to grasp what it means to know and be known. But here’s what we can know: a day is coming when we will know Jesus fully in the same way He has known us fully since He poured the foundations of the earth!

Love is like the appetizer to the feast of knowing God face-to-face!

In some ways, we will return to Eden, being with God without the veil of sin. And so, yes, God loves us. And yes, the fact that God loves us is a gift. But His love is not detached from who we are. He doesn’t just love us because He’s God . . . God loves everybody . . . right? He loves us because He knows us!

I love all children. I’m sure your children or your grandchildren are adorable. I’m sure I would beat them all at Candyland, given the opportunity! BUT my children—my four sons: Eli, Noble, Judah, Ezra—the intensity of my love for those four children is altogether different from the way I feel about all other children. I know them better than they know them.

Isn’t that the mysterious thing about motherhood? You go from knowing nothing to becoming the foremost expert on that child! I have studied those boys every day of their lives. I know what every whimper means; I know every curve of their faces; I know every freckle on their bodies. 

Some of those boys are entering the teenage and the pre-teen years. Their full personalities are starting to shine out. Every day I think, I cannot love these boys more! But the more I know them, the more I love them. This is the picture I want you to grasp of God’s love for you. He loves you because He knows you!

It’s also a picture of the way Scripture calls us to love each other . . . to know each other. Now “transparency” has become quite the buzzword. We use it a lot, and transparency is part of knowing and being known. It means we show up, warts and all, in our relationships, but only God’s children can do this fully.

If you are not a child of God, you cannot bring full transparency to your relationships. Why? Because only the children of God recognize and acknowledge, “We are sinners. We are broken. We need a Savior.” 

So we get to show up to our relationships without any pretense: “I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to need to ask your forgiveness a lot.” That’s the gospel day in and day out in our lives. I’m going to fail, and you’re going to fail. That means we can free each other of any expectation of being a perfect spouse . . . we won’t. Being a perfect daughter . . . we can’t. A perfect mom . . . no way. A perfect friend . . . not possible. 

We say to each other a lot in my house: “This is why we need Jesus so much!” It sure isn’t because we’re all-together. It sure isn’t because everything’s so smooth. It sure isn’t because we never hurt each other, because we do. 

So we can show up to relationships uniquely as Christians and realize that Jesus is at work to make you more like Him and Jesus is at work to make me more like Him. We can know each other in the tension of being sanctified.

So, true transparency comes into our relationships as Christ-followers, with a couple of flaws in our hearts. We’re all cracked pots. We’re all a mess. And we’re all trophies of God’s grace. So, souls-knit-together, though, doesn’t just stop at just transparency. We don’t just say, “I’m a mess, you’re a mess, amen.” We enter the messy parts of each others’ lives.

Many of us, most of us, maybe all of us have experienced deep heartache. For some of us that started in childhood. Maybe some of our earliest memories involve pain in our relationships. As a result, being known can feel very, very scary. It doesn’t always work out like a Lifetime original movie.

Sometimes we step on a landmine, and the whole thing gets blown to bits! Sometimes we keep stepping on those relational landmines. But what’s the alternative? We refuse to know, we refuse to be known. That doesn’t insulate us from pain, it just transfers the hurt to a different corner of our hearts.

A woman wrote to me once to describe how this had played out in her own life. She had experienced betrayal and that led to deep hurt. So she decided (she probably never said it out loud, I’m not sure she was even conscious that she made this vow) but she vowed to protect herself.

And so, brick by brick she built walls around her heart. She wasn’t going to let anybody in, and she didn’t truly know anyone and she sure didn’t let anyone truly know her. One day she woke up and she realized that while she may have been safe on the other side of that wall she built, she was terribly lonely.

So what do we do if we’re behind the wall, if we realize that, “I have put too much stock in loving and being loved and liking and being liked, and I don’t know that I really know people! I don’t know that they really know me!” 

Well, this shift has to happen first in our vertical relationship with God, as all shifts do. I wonder, do you pray like King David did? He prayed, “O, Lord, you search me and you know me when I sit and I rise.” (see Psalm 139:1–2) Or do you instead try to come to Him polished and cleaned-up with some false idea that He doesn’t see right through you? Do you seek to know Him?

Do you seek to know God? Is your relationship with Jesus like knit-together-souls, stitched together with careful daily intention? I’m afraid we’ve been singing the song all wrong since preschool: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” But the Bible also tells us this: “Jesus knows me, this I love!” Only Jesus can show us how to know and be known by others.

Laura: Erin Davis has reminded us of something so important and I hope you remember this today, that God sees you and knows you. All of Erin’s teaching in this season is based on her book Connected: Curing the Pandemic of Everyone Feeling Alone Together. 

When my husband saw me reading this during 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, “I can’t believe she wrote that subtitle in 2014, because it’s so relevant for today—not just because of the idea of the pandemic, but because I think more than ever we’re feeling that sense of loneliness.”

If you feel lonely and if you’re longing to feel connected with others, you can get a copy of Erin’s book Connected at ReviveOurHearts.com/TheDeepWell.

Erin Unscripted

Laura: On each episode of The Deep Well, we like to dig in a little deeper through a section called Erin Unscripted.

Erin, here’s something I noticed in your teaching. You said that we are knit together as the body of Christ, and it made me think of Psalm 139, where God tells us that we are knit together, our bodies are knit together in our mother’s womb.

I went back this morning and read back through Psalm 139, but with the church in mind. It was so sweet! I’m just wondering if you see parallels between how God knit our bodies together individually, and then how He knits us together as the body of Christ.

Erin: Well, Laura, I know you have six kids; I have four. I don’t know if you remember this, but between child one and child two, I had this kind of low-grade—sometimes high-grade—fear that I wasn’t going to be able to love baby number two as much as I loved baby number one, because my love for baby number one—Eli—was this all-consuming, never-experienced-it-before kind of love.

And then I had Noble. The best days of my life have been the days that my babies came home to meet the other babies! I mean, the day that two-year-old Eli met newborn Noble, I will never forget it! I think that psalm you mentioned is so sweet to us because it speaks to the attentiveness with which God knits each of us together in our mom’s womb.

It makes God feel very personal to us, and of course He is. But it’s the same, the attentiveness He gives to each one of us He also gives to the whole of us. The love He has for me, Erin, He also has for you and for all of our sisters and all of our brothers. It doesn’t diminish in any way. He can just keep giving it away and giving away and giving it away. 

So, I don’t know that I had ever thought of it before like that. (I so appreciate how you help me think of things in new ways.) But that psalm could be about the “we” as much as it’s about the “me,” because He’s knit us together, and He’s knit us—as in “all y’all” as we say in Missouri. We’ve all had that careful love and attention from Him.

Laura: Yes, and we can count on Him to carefully continue weaving and knitting us together. Just the other day I texted you some verses from Colossians 2:2 where Paul says he was struggling on behalf of the believers that their hearts might be encouraged, being knit together in love, so that they might know Christ more fully. 

I feel like you are struggling with that same passion, when you wrote this book and as you are teaching these sessions. I just want to thank you for struggling to help us see and to help do the work of knitting our hearts together so that we may know Christ more fully.

Erin: That is what Paul is doing in most of the epistles. He’s saying, “Know! We’re a ‘we.’ Know! We’re a family! Know! We’re a tribe. Know we’re a body.” I can feel that angst that he felt of struggling for the saints, like, “Know! Fight for each other! Know! Fight together.”

One thing that you and I said in that text exchange (that didn’t make it into this teachings for this podcast) is I feel so strongly that the church cannot stand against what is to come. And that’s not me being prophetic, necessarily. It’s me believing God’s Word, which is that things are going to get worse until Jesus comes for us. 

The power of the prince of the air, Satan, he will continue to prowl around like a roaring lion, that darkness will continue to press in against the children of the Light. The world will continue to hate us because it hated Jesus first. Jesus has promised those things for us, and we can’t stand against them if we aren’t united. Our unity is our weapon to fight back against the powers of darkness!

So it does burn hot in my belly, and you can read in Paul’s words that it burned hot in his, too. It’s not just about everybody getting along, and it’s not just about not having hurt feelings in the church. It’s bigger than that! It’s more important than that, and it’s about standing for Jesus in a world that doesn’t recognize Him.

Laura: That’s so good and powerful! It gives me great hope that He’s given us exactly what we need to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. And the word of our testimony will be that He created this body of Christ, this beautiful Bride, and He has seen to it that we would be blameless and pure on the day of His arrival. “His works are marvelous; I know it full well.” (Psalm 139:14) It blows my mind!

Erin: Yes, and when Jesus said, “I go now to prepare a place for you, and if it were not so I would have told you. . .” that’s good, that’s personal, that’s for me, that gives me hope for me. But again, it was for “you, for all of you.”

We get a description of what that place is like in the book of Revelation. There are people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. We are there together, unified!

Laura: That’s so good! So, getting real practical here, how does God knit us together with one another? Like, how do we get to know someone at that deeper level? How do we keep getting to know someone? What are some of the building blocks there?

Erin: Well, I think a lot of what we’re doing in this season is acknowledging—or re-acknowledging or re-learning—that actually relationships among Jesus-followers are set apart. We don’t love as the world loves, we don’t connect as the world connects, and we have something special.

I think we have to fan “koinonia.” We have to fan these relationships with each other into flame often. But a lot of it is what we do (and people might do it differently), but I think the core is a heart posture that we are a family. We belong to each other, and no one is going to pull us apart.

When we’re together with God’s people, we’re doing what we will be doing in a million years! When we’re together with God’s people, we’re doing what we will be doing in a-hundred-million years! And I am so awkward, you know that about me. I’m the most awkward person I know! I make relationships awkward!

Laura: This is awkward!

Erin: It’s awkward! But I am fiercely committed to my brothers and sisters, because they’re mine forever. So we do it in a lot of a million different ways, but we keep doing it.

Laura: Speaking of awkward, I think about that. So many times, even in a worship service, it’s awkward. If you really were alone in your living room worshipping the Lord, it would probably look a lot different than when you’re with other people.

For me, I just naturally imagine, “Some day, Lord, when I am in heaven, I’m going to be Your biggest cheerleader!” I just love to jump up and down, yell, and raise my hands, but I go to a more subdued, thoughtful church. So I could do that, but it would be awkward.

And so, I guess what I’m saying is, when we feel the awkwardness—whether it is in a worship service when we feel the push and pull of, “How I really would worship, but I’m worshipping toned down a little,” or “I’m clapping with everybody else, even though I don’t feel comfortable clapping” . . .

How we give and take in those moments when we feel the awkwardness, or how we feel the awkwardness of other denominations who believe the same core of the gospel but worship differently in different ways, I think that reminds us that someday we’ll be Home and it won’t be awkward anymore. 

Erin: Right. 

Laura: We’ll feel the comfortableness of our relationships and all will be made right. We will sing in unison and harmony the same songs. Our hearts will beat the same. We’ll still have our diversity—absolutely!—but the awkwardness will have been stripped away. That’s what I’m looking forward to!

Erin: Me, too!

Laura: I let that awkwardness help me look forward to heaven instead of making me resentful. Because you can feel bitter, “Why can’t we get this right? We should be able to . . .”

Erin: You can feel like you’re doing it wrong, like, “Oh, this feels uncomfortable! I must be doing it wrong!” I remember having a conversation with a woman in my church recently, and another woman in the church was going through something hard, really hard.

So my friend called me and said, “What do I do?” 

I said, “Well, you get in her life. You spend time with her. You have conversations with her. If it’s uncomfortable, you’re doing it right. If it’s not uncomfortable, you’re holding back.” And so, I don’t think the awkwardness of it is a checkpoint to stop.

You’re right, it speaks to the fact that we are people of flesh built for a different place, that we are sinners—redeemed sinners, yes—but that we still have those sinful tendencies. We are going to shed all of that someday. Man, is that something to look forward to! But we can embrace it here as why we need Jesus and why we need each other. It’s not because it’s easy-—it’s not. It’s hard, and it’s clunky, and it’s a process. But He who began a good work in us is going to finish it, carry it out to completion (see Phil. 1:6). I look forward to that day

Laura: Yes, I totally agree! As you were talking, I actually was thinking about how if it’s true that we are currently being knit together as one, well then we’re kind of like the baby in the womb. Right now, everything that the Lord is doing, adding stitches on as each new believer comes, we’re caused to stretch and grow. We’re like, “Oh, who are you? Okay, welcome in!”

Seeing this tapestry, this body with DNA that He is currently weaving and knitting together, then one day, as you said, we’ll kind of emerge into the glories of heaven and see it all for the completed wonderful picture that He has in mind.

Alright, well Erin, in order to enjoy deep relationships sometimes we have to be vulnerable.

Erin: We do.

Laura: Are you going to go there with us?

Erin: We’ve got to go there if we’re going to get connected.

Laura: Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss an episode of The Deep Well. God’s Word is a deep well. You can drop down your bucket and pull up truth every time! 

The Deep Well is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Guest

Laura Booz

Laura Booz

Laura Booz is a writer, teacher, and podcaster who encourages women to love God, think biblically, and live vibrantly. She'll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. She’s delighted to host the Expect Something Beautiful podcast with Revive Our Hearts and to be writing her first book. She and her husband, Ryan, and their six children make their home in Pennsylvania. Meet her at LauraBooz.com.

About the Speaker

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many …

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