Hide and seek. You know it. You played it. But I was fantastic at it.

Dial the clock back, oh, 15 years or so and you will find me crouching under the couch cushions, enclosing myself into their fabric or, my personal favorite, dive-bombing into the nearest laundry basket. Covering myself with piles of the week’s dirty laundry was just the best.

Hindsight being 20/20, it’s no surprise that the concept of hiding became almost immune to my notice as I grew up.

 

Fear of Repentance and Vulnerability

Now though, instead of sneaking behind closed doors or pressing myself up against walls like a chameleon, I became the expert of invisible cloaks and shadows rather than revealing what I was truly going through.  But this time, unlike the innocent actions of my adolescence, my choices began to have much deeper repercussions.

The pressure I put on myself to be perfect was overwhelming. I lived in a barrage of fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness, OCD-like compulsions, and perfectionism, so rich in legalism that I struggled to break free of the chains I created for myself. And because I chose to keep everything under lock and key, I often feared what others would think if they only knew I was just as broken as they were.

 

Surrender It All to Christ

But then, as they often do, unforeseen circumstances hit, and I was “forced” to surrender. I could no longer outrun my facade.

The first I confessed to was my family, who, no surprise, already knew I was struggling. After that I worked up the courage to ask my friends for prayer, finally realizing it was okay to not be okay.

The actual turning point though took place on my bathroom floor.

We all have those moments right? Those pivotal points in time when we find ourselves broken? Mine just happened to take place perfectly positioned between the shower and the commode.

That was my moment. Sobbing, I cried out to God from that little bathroom. I couldn’t stand for everyone to think I was this perfect person anymore; the prison of performance was too much, even though I was the one who placed such strict and unnecessary conformity on myself.

And in that moment of ragged and fragmented brokenness like a cracked and shattered mirror, I heard God say, “You don’t have to hide anymore. You don’t have to live like this.  I didn’t create you to place such bindings and ropes of enslavement on yourself. I didn’t create you to live in fear. I am your hiding place.”

That’s His grace. And that’s the exact balm for your hiding He’s offering you today.

Unlike my man-made creations of legally binding rules and contracts, God doesn’t expect us to live in the imprisonment of our struggles.  He doesn’t ask us to cover our flaws and weaknesses so that those around us can be encouraged in their trials.

Perfection condemns but authenticity inspires.

 

Freedom in Christ

On the contrary, He invites us to be vulnerable with those who are also struggling.  And instead of running to our friends, families, or favorite activities for comfort, He asks us to step into the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91) because He alone knows where freedom lies.

You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. – Psalm 32:7

God doesn’t ask us to live a perfect life, conceal our deepest secrets, or act like our lives are carbon copy images of faultless realities. What. A. Relief.

Instead, He simply asks us to run to Him, knowing we don’t have to hide our true selves any longer.

Come out of hiding; you’re safe here with me.  There’s no need to cover what I already see.  You’ve got your reasons, but I hold your peace.  You’ve been on lock-down, and I hold the key. ‘Cause I loved you before, you knew it was love.  And I saw it all still I chose the cross. And you were the one, that I was thinking of when I rose from the grave.  Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours. I tore the veil for you to come close. There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore; you’re not far from home. – Steffany Gretzinger, “Out of Hiding- Father’s Song”

Unlike that childhood Amber, I no longer play hide and seek with my choices because this life is real; it isn’t a game.  Instead, I get to run to our Heavenly Father who holds my struggles in the palm of His hands.  I’m free to unlock the box of my secrets and release them to Him.  I can live free from legalism in the full presence of His love.  I shake off my heavy chains and dance in the presence of His Spirit.  I allow the world to see every ounce of my flaws, because maybe, just maybe, there are others out there who are just like me.

Come out of Hiding my friend and run to the true Hiding place that’s all about surrender and not about shame—the one that’s all about freedom, and a truly safe place to hide.  Because unlike my laundry basket and couch cushions of camouflage, Jesus offers us shelter in the storm, water in the desert, life in the chaos, peace in the trial, and His constant presence in the fear.

 

Living a Life of Authenticity

In Him exists the real hiding place.  And instead of running from it, we run to it, finding authentic and lasting rest. How? What does it look like to live authentically and truly come out of hiding? Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. We recognize that it is okay to not be okay. We admit to Christ that we can’t do this alone and begin to fully rely on Him for all things.
  2. We stop hiding and start sharing our stories with others. Instead of sneaking around in our insecurities, share them with those you trust.  Talk to friends, family, counselors, Pastors, and confidants that you feel the most secure with.  No, no, you don’t have to wave your dirty laundry all over the place but share what’s on your heart.  Be real, be vulnerable, be you and watch the shame begin to fall away.
  3. We rest and pray in the confidence of Him who created us. Although I too have a difficult time with rest, learning to “let go and let God” is truly what hiding in Him means.  Whether this is through writing your prayers, verbally confessing them, or crying on your floor in confusion, remember that your life is NOT small.  What you are going through matters, and God dearly cares about you.

No matter the circumstance, or piles of secret “laundry” you have hidden from the rest of the world, know that there is no hiding place greater than the presence of the Lord, and it’s my overwhelming prayer that you’ll join Him there.

Keep fighting.  Keep praying. Keep persevering, keep living, keep resting.   

Keep hiding; but only if in Him.

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