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Do you ever feel like people just seem to look right through you, whether in person or online? In this age of social media which is supposed to be, well…social, we can feel more invisible than ever before. We are not immune to feeling this sense of loneliness just because we are believers. We all want love and acceptance. Sometimes the words just want to escape my mouth or get pounded out on my keyboard, ”do you even see me?? I am here! Do you see me???” It could be in a room full of people, it could be on social media, in groups on Facebook. But God sees you.
At the end of the day, God sees you! He sees you when you feel alone. He sees your pain. When every outward appearance seems to indicate no one notices, He does!
He sees your accomplishments when no one seems to acknowledge them.
God sees you! El Roi is the God who sees!
Read on to learn how the meaning of the name El Roi and how you can start living and believing this truth.
Why Do I Feel Invisible? Do You See Me, God?
I spend my whole life online. I am on social media all the time as part of my ministry and I am connected with many other faith bloggers.
And yet, there are days I feel like packing it in and shutting my blog down. I feel like no one is out there reading and no one is out there that I am impacting for the Lord.
There are so many times I feel invisible as if I just blend in with the crowd. It makes me feel lacking, uninteresting, dull, and ordinary.
It makes me feel as though there is nothing outstanding about me and that maybe God DIDN’T call me to this.
I just blend.
It makes me feel unwanted, unloved, and unaccepted.
Why do I feel invisible when I am surrounded by people?
These sound like worldly concerns, right? But the reality is that we all feel this way at times. We all want to know we are doing what God called us to do.
For me, it’s not about being popular. It’s not a worldly concern for attention, although no one wants to feel lonely or ignored of course.
It’s about knowing I am doing what God wants.
But with the pandemic, it has been isolating and we rely on the online environment even more and when we feel that we are invisible even there, it can seem even more isolating.
The Meaning of El Roi
אל ראי is one of the Hebrew names of God and it means ‘the God who sees’ or El Roi.
Hagar in Genesis 16:13 says
וַתִּקְרָ֤א שֵׁם־יְהֹוָה֙ הַדֹּבֵ֣ר אֵלֶ֔יהָ אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל רֳאִ֑י כִּ֣י אָֽמְרָ֗ה הֲגַ֥ם הֲלֹ֛ם רָאִ֖יתִי אַחֲרֵ֥י רֹאִֽי׃
“And she called יהוהThe messenger who spoke to her, “You Are El-Roi,” by which she meant, “Have I not gone on seeing after my being seen!”
God is the God of seeing – He saw Cain’s countenance fall, He saw Sarah laugh, He saw the Hebrew slaves crying out, He saw the Israelites build the golden calf, He saw a world in need of a Messiah.
And He sees you!
I will talk more about Hagar in a moment.
The Comparison Trap
I didn’t compare myself to the much more established bloggers, because I expected them to be way ahead of where I was. However, I did have a tendency (and still do at times) to look at bloggers who are also new and think “What am I missing?
Is there something they are doing that I am not? What is it about them that I am lacking? Why are they getting attention and promotion? Am I really just THAT unlikable?”
I mean, I think I am a nice person???
It left me feeling totally inadequate.
Have you ever been there?
The Enemy Wants Me to Feel the Fear of Inadequacy
Dear friends, the enemy wanted me to fear I am not cut out for what I am doing.
He wants me to compare and wants me to doubt my calling. He wants me to pack it in.
Of course, he wants me to pack it in because he wants fewer people teaching God’s Word the way God wants us to and knowing God’s love for them.
These attacks will make me feel invisible. He will make me base my worth and value on mere popularity.
It’s like being in high school again, wondering why all the cool kids don’t like you as much as others!
It’s a tactic to make you just slowly back down and not try because over time you feel like no one is listening anyway.
But believe me when I tell you that people ARE listening! The good works you are doing ARE being noticed!
It’s a warfare tactic!! It’s a lie!!
He will make me believe numbers determine my worth. He wants me to think that likes and comments on posts are indicative of my value!
That if people don’t respond to me the way they do to someone else it means I am not liked and not worthy!
However, the feeling is very real. Knowing it is an attack doesn’t always make it hurt less when we feel overlooked.He will make me believe numbers determine my worth! That likes and comments on posts are indicative of my value! Click To Tweet
Social Media Loneliness
Much of this feeling is due to the nature of social media. We can feel alone surrounded by people on our social media platforms.
There are so many “acquaintance-type” relationships we have on social media (being “friends” with people we don’t even really know) that we can often feel lost in the shuffle.
We may have 100 friends and family on Facebook and interact with everyone, but someone else may have 2,000 friends on Facebook and we fall victim to the algorithms. They only see about 7% of what people post and we may not fall into that 7%.
But because WE see everyone on our timeline we think they must also and are just ignoring us, when the reality is they are just not even being shown our posts!
It can cause someone who already feels overlooked in life to feel even more so!
I have a general rule I TRY to follow. I don’t always succeed at it but I try.
Always assume the other person has the best of intentions!
As I said, sometimes it is easier said than done. Sometimes I DO fall prey to the enemy and feel invisible.
But I make an effort to try to believe people I have some sort of relationship with, be it work, blogging, friends, etc., generally have good intentions toward us.
Why Do I FEEL Invisible? – Oh Those Feelings!
I think we all sometimes feel as if we are wallflowers. And it could very well be that at times, we are. But those times could be our own doing.
When I start to feel like I’m invisible I can sometimes retreat more and that just adds to that feeling.
And that is what he wants. He wants us to focus on our FEELINGS.
He wants us to FEEL offended, FEEL hurt, FEEL left out.
Feelings are not reality! Let me say that one more time for the people in the back – FEELINGS ARE NOT REALITY!
They are just feelings! And our feelings can and DO lie!
Those feelings can then lead to despondency. They can lead to us believing no one cares. They could lead to depression, even for the child of God.
Feelings may lie but they are very real!
Nowhere in the Word of God are we told to rely on feelings. There is nothing in the armor of God that is an arsenal for your feelings.
Feelings are fickle and change from moment to moment at times.
Ladies I am going to keep it REALLY real for you right now ok? Because I am not here to pat your shoulder and tell you things you WANT to hear (feelings right there!).
Ever have PMS? Yeah?
Ever go through menopause? Mmmhmm
Ever been pregnant? Ok, preach now!
Men? Oh, you didn’t think I was just going to pick on the ladies, did you?
You’ve been through puberty? I know you have!
You’ve started a mid-life crisis? Wanted that fancy car?Nowhere in the Word of God are we told to rely on feelings. There is nothing in the armor of God that is an arsenal for your feelings. Click To Tweet
How many of these things resulted in FEELINGS that changed almost from minute to minute? How many of these things made you sometimes wonder how you didn’t end up on an episode of Wives With Knives?
The enemy operates in your feelings because feelings are something that can be easily manipulated!!
Just look around you today and see how utterly offended everyone is by literally EVERYTHING!!
This is an epic, worldwide attack of the enemy making people cancel and dox each other for the slightest thing.
So I tell you all this to say, my dear sister (or brother), that when you FEEL invisible, it may be the enemy making you question your own identity, your own worth, your own friendships, your own value, and even the love of God.
This inner self-portrait he is making you paint of someone people don’t like or don’t want to be around is a caricature of someone invented by him and is NOT your reality!
He knows if you are busy throwing yourself a pity party then you’re not busy keeping watch over your heart and mind!
He wants you to question God’s character and believe that God would turn His back on you.
Why Do I Feel Invisible? – Know That God Sees You!
I am not invisible, not to the One who matters.
Oh, there are times I feel as if I am, even to God’s eyes.
And there are times I may be to people and it may not be my imagination. But that may be more THEIR problem than mine.
Let’s face it – other people are also dealing with the comparison trap and maybe they avoid you because they feel threatened by you…just saying! We are not the only ones with issues and we need to remember that!
I am sure we have all felt at times like God is not listening or doesn’t want to answer us.
I am sure we have all wondered if we somehow missed God and now He is silent.
But as God’s children, we are never invisible to Him.
She was alone in the desert, sent away from her home with her son Ishmael.
She was in tears as she watched from afar as her son neared death from a lack of water. The poor mother didn’t want to see her son die.
She felt invisible to the whole earth. Hagar’s story may feel familiar to some of us.
You may have been cast off by people. You may have felt disposable. You may have felt like you did everything right just to have the people you trusted turn against you.
Ok, there is a part of me that does sometimes chastise Hagar at the same time I empathize with her since she did sort of act in a haughty, competitive way toward Sarai, and that ultimately ended up being the reason Sarai wanted her gone.
So let that be a lesson to us all that when we should never look down upon someone in the way Hagar did when she was blessed with a child.
We see this same sort of behavior from Peninnah toward Hannah in 1 Samuel 1.
But that being said, I do feel for Hagar because this was a terrifying time for her.
God knew that He would provide for her and for Ishmael, making him a great nation that would one day become the Arab people. But at that moment as she watched her son drink what she believed would be his last sip of water before watching him die, she never felt so alone and disposable.
However, the story of Hagar ends well because, while she felt lost and alone in the world, she was not absent from God’s sight. El Roi had her and Ishmael in the palm of His hand.
And like Hagar, when you feel invisible, God’s eyes are always upon you.
The good news is that your past sin, your traumatic experiences, your times of need, your feelings of inadequacy – nothing changes that!
You May Feel Invisible But God Sees You
These are just a few of the verses that show that God is always there.
Sometimes it may seem that He is silent but that does not mean He does not see us, love us, desire to spend every moment possible with us.
It could be because He is telling us to wait, or it could even be us.
It could be He is silent because we failed to go to Him about it. Maybe He is waiting on us. It could be we keep seeking His hand (what He can do for us) and not His face (just spending time with Him).
Perhaps it could be the same with people. Maybe they feel we aren’t reaching out to THEM. Are we responding to our perception and they feel we don’t like THEM? They may be waiting for you too!
So, when you go through times when you feel invisible, remember that you are always number one to your Father in Heaven.
Seek His face, then we will see He is there just waiting to speak to you! People are flawed. We are all sinners. We all sometimes behave in a way that is unseemly. But God is always faithful. You are never invisible to Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.