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Hiding is Hard Work

by Chuckhide_and_seek

I played hide and seek with my girls the other night.  It was a perfect evening and I couldn’t think of a better way to get the final bit of wiggles out of them before heading to bed.  Now that they are five and are “big girls” I try to make the hiding hard but not too hard.

How we do it is once you are found, you help the finder find the other person.  My girls found each other pretty quickly since they seem to go hide in the exact place they found the other person last time.

So both girls were looking for me and I was hiding in this perfect spot under a rhododendron bush.  From this position I could peek through the flowers and watch them search.  It was perfect because I was pretty well hidden, but the bush was tall enough that you could see my legs under it.  Not too easy, not too hard.

It was at this point that I remembered how painful it can be to hide.  I don’t crouch much and after about 2 minutes under the tree, my legs were killing me.  So I decided to get more comfortable and kneel on the ground.  I was kneeling in the dirt for about 30 seconds when I began to think about spiders.  At this point I decided to look around and noticed that the dirt didn’t fall off my knees like I hoped.  Rhododendrons are sticky and I had dirt and wood chips stuck to my knees.  I didn’t see any spiders, or even see my girls anymore.

I wasn’t having fun not being found.  So I got out from under the bush, a bit disappointed that all that pain, dirt, and bravery that I had shown was wasted.  I stretched, brushed myself off and went to find my girls.  They were on the complete other side of our house searching for me.  They were happy to finally see me and then it was their turn to hide.

I have a tendency to take a simple moment of fun and then rattle on and on about the deep lessons learned from the fun.  Stick with me, I’m going to do it again and I hope you forgive me for rattling on again.

Hiding is hard work.  Doing it during a game is hard but doing it emotionally is even worse.  It is an instinct that comes with sin that makes us hide from people and not face the reality of what we’ve done and who we are.  We keep searching for a comfortable hiding spot and frankly…there really isn’t one.

Family life is hard and I know people that hide from it by being busy with life, work, hobbies, and even church.  Others hide from the hard work of families by relying on roles (“Go ask your mom!”).  Some hide behind keeping up the appearance of having things together, and others run to start over every time the going gets tough.

I don’t know about you but I have mixed feelings when I play hide and seek.  When I find a great spot, I want people to notice that I found a great spot but if they don’t find me, they don’t notice.  I also worry when people don’t find me that they quit looking and went on to do something more fun.  I think in a deep way, we hide but really want to be found.

I left my hiding spot and found my girls and we kept playing and having fun.

Here are a couple of ideas to help you get out of hiding and back into relationships with your family:

  • Acknowledge that hiding is costing you personally and relationally.  It is not adding to the quality of your life and relationships.
  • Hiding places you in a place of darkness and fear.  Fear of exposure gives us the sense of self-preservation but in reality places us in a land filled with and vulnerable to things we fear.
  • You will feel fear of exposure leaving your hiding spot.  It is normal to fear judgment but most times we are harder on ourselves than other people are.
  • Don’t be extreme and over-share just because it feels good.  Being honest and not hiding gives a great sense of relief and freedom.  However it doesn’t mean you should tell everyone you meet.  Just share with people that will be helpful and part of the restoration process.
  • Leave your hiding to enter into helpful relationships, not just to find another “better” hiding spot.

Question:  Why do we hide from the people that can help us the most and what can we do to be more open to our families?

Image credit: prwatch.org