“Yet LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we all are the work of Your hands.” Isaiah 64:8
Hiding is safe. I like hiding.
Maybe because no one can criticize you when they can’t see you, right?
I mean, if I hide who I really am and they don’t like it, then it won’t hurt as bad, right? Maybe.
But, lately, it’s been hurting that I hide, because recently God “called me out” about it.
“What’s the big deal if I hide myself?” I asked Him one day. I heard a gentle whisper reply to my soul, “Because, when you hide yourself, you hide Me.”
What? Whoa? Huh? And, might I add, ouch, because that sort of hit me like a slap across the face. I am by no means perfect and I am reminded every. single. day. that God is not nearly done with me and I have a looooonnnnngggg way to go, but I hadn’t thought of my “hiding out” as something that was affecting how I represent God.
As I began to think about it, though, it made sense. God created me, after all, and He designed me with certain characteristics, skills, talents and experiences and He expects me to use what He has given me. (See Matthew 25:14-30)
Since that conversation, I have been sort of “on a journey” to see who I really am. I discovered, strangly, that I am more “myself” when I am around people who do not know me, or I guess, don’t have a history with me. (A.K.A. I’ve not had a chance to mess up too badly in front of them yet.)
So, who am I?
I am a Christian. Not in the “I live in America and I’m a Christian” sort of way, but in the “Jesus loves me and saved me from my sins and has amazingly forgiven those sins and graciously allowed me to personally know Him and He loves you too and you can also know Him and you really should, because it is the best thing ever” kind of way. It colors my whole life. Every thought, every decision, every move I make is filtered through this. It is fused with my very being and cannot be separated.
I am a wife. I have loved the same man–the best man I have ever known and my best friend for almost 20 years now. A guy I knew from the church youth group. Together we have 4 beautiful children and have had 3 great dogs (two who passed away in 2015 and an almost 1 year old puppy). These 4 and 3 made me Mommy and fur-Mommy.
I love children. I studied to be a teacher, but God called me out of that, I believe so I could be available to care for my niece and nephew and then my own kids. Despite not teaching in a school, God has given me the opportunity to work with kids for the last 18 years at our church. The last 15 1/2 years have been on staff as the Minister to Children.
I have a strong, hardworking family who I can count on no matter what. They have shaped me in ways I am still discovering.
Those are the “facts,” and I haven’t really hidden those things. These next few things are the things I’ve hidden:
My feelings. I am a person who feels things deeply. Everything from something I see on T.V. (hello Kleenex commercials) to reading a human interest story, I feel things very strongly, but I absolutely refuse to cry in front of people, even my husband. I hide my heart very often. I guess I really don’t like the attention that goes along with showing feelings, so I try not to show anything that might attract scrutiny.
My talents. Some of them. I have written and erased this sentence 25 times, because I have a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that, maybe, just, maybe, I actually do have some talent for something. Singing, for one thing. I’m not really 100% sure I have a talent for singing, but I was in a few choirs that I had to audition for and I have sung a few solos and not seen any horrible cringing or running for the doors, so maybe I might have a talent for singing (not ready to concede to that yet). I have been struggling with this one, because if I admit I can sing, then maybe God might ask me to do it in front of *gasp* people and that thought keeps me up at night.
My heart. That deep feeling thing I mentioned a little while ago, really makes me compassionate toward people, but I don’t often show it. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve, so to speak, and as time went by and that caused hurt sometimes, I began to retreat from showing my true heart, whether it was showing my love in some way or sharing about some thing negative, like hurt feelings or sharing a personal struggle. I just do not share my heart. Oh, I share it with the Lord, but not with people. No way, no how.
My very self. I don’t venture out among people unless I have to, which means I really only go to my kids’ events and church. I hide in my house, because it’s safe. I can be myself here (I mean, we have dance parties in the kitchen, ya’ll–that’s about as real as you can get, in my opinion). I don’t bother anyone here and here, people love me. Going out of my house and meeting new people? Gasp! Terrifying. I don’t wanna do it.
But, whether I want to or not, these are the things God is asking me to stop hiding. Oh man, does that scare me to bits! I am trying, because I want to honor Him, but it is a process.
It’s almost humorous that God called me to start a public blog, like the one I am writing this on now. Share my feelings? Share my failures? Share my self? But, that is what He asked me to do, so here I am and I believe it part of these process of “unhiding” myself.
I am shaking in my boots (well slippers, because, well, I am not goin’ anywhere this afternoon), but I am going to post this. Wait, but do I have to? Maybe I won’t. O.K., I think I’m going to do it. I will probably keep my eyes closed as I hit the “publish” button, though.
I don’t want to do it, to share myself, my true self, but I will, because I am trying to stop hiding. I need to stop hiding, so people can see Him in me. The creative loving God who created me the way I am and wants me to share His creation with the world.
Oh Lord, thank You for creating me who You created me to be. Help me to be that person without fear and without thought to other people, except they might know You through me. Help me to come out of hiding and shine Your light so that others may find their way to You. Thanks for never giving up on me. Amen!
Here goes nothin’…
*Update, I actually did it and I didn’t die or throw up (though I sort of feel like that may still be a possibility).
*Update on the update: Sorry for the T.M.I., but I’m trying to be real, remember? Too much? O.K., sorry. I am a little socially awkward from all the hiding and all. I will try to dial it back. 😉