When growing up, hearing the kid who was "it" yell, "Ollie Ollie in come free", brought a deep breath of relief. Especially, during a mean game of Hide-and-Go-Seek. That meant you were finally free to stop holding your breath, wipe your sweat and ease out of your hiding spot, where you'd been frozen with your heart beating out of your chest. Sometimes it felt like an eternity while you were pinned in that spot, waiting and listening for foot steps. And wondering if it was safe to run to base, especially when you had to use the bathroom bad. Then, everyone that hadn't been found would skip, jump or dance back to "home base" gloating with the satisfaction of knowing that someone else had been caught. Now that person had to be "it". After some cuttin' up, scuffling and whining from the kid that had to be it, the counting would start again. 1-2-3-4-5-6....and the adrenaline rush would hit you like a sugar-high, as you raced off to find the perfect hiding spot again.
Playing Hide-and-Go-Seek as a grown-up, when you don't want to be found doesn't even come close to the fun times we had as kids. Because the adult version is more like Hide-and-Don't-Seek. And it's daunting when you don't even know that you're hiding, because hiding is "normal".
And..."everybody's doing it!"
Oh, my gosh! It seems like that cliche' comes with an automatic echo blaster that bounces off the walls of your brain! I've lost count at how many times I've used that excuse over the years, just so I could fit in. Because I was so desperate for love and belonging.
Whether conscious of it or not, when you are hiding, your goal in life becomes to be as fail-proof as possible at NOT being seen for who you really are. Thus, the Lifestyle of Hiding that I mentioned in my last blog post, Hide-n-Don't-Seek. Here's my description from that post of what living this dauntingly exhausting life looks like:
A life of hiding looks like waking up every morning and armoring up so you can make it through the day without anyone finding out who you really are. Numbing out when we get behind closed doors to relieve the stress and shame of hiding. Then, trying to get enough sleep to have the energy to do it all over again the next day.
It's a life dictated by what I call the 4 P's--Pretense, Performance, Pleasing and Perfection. It's brings a sigh of exhaustion just reading those 4 words, doesn't it?
A Lifestyle of Hiding, can feel like a slow death when it seems your life is under a microscope. And your core belief is, "If I get found out, I will die". Although I was completely oblivious to my plight, this is how I was living my life for a 3-year period that I now call, My Dark Night of the Soul.
It was a time when I felt disconnected from God and lost my reason for living. For me, it took place between the years 2012-2015. I will role out the scenario, in list form, so you can get a visual of my life under a microscope:
My hubby, Phillip, and I were guests on the Christian talk show, Sid Roth's--It's Supernatural. We shared our testimonies of being healed and delivered, which aired around the world for 4 weeks.
The Lord opened a door for us to take a position as lead pastors of at a small, local, established, 30-year old church.
We started homeschooling in a very involved, close-knit coop.
We spent 6 months living with board members while waiting for our new home to be built.
I go into an identity crisis and feel like I've lost touch with God and all meaning in life.
Our 3 daughters start going crazy-town, dabbling in darkness and wanting nothing to do with God.
Phillip starts to have to drag us all to church every Sunday morning...
Are you starting to get the picture here? I didn't know what the heck was going on at the time, or why, or how to fix it! Then, just as abruptly as the Lord opened the door for us to pastor, He shut the door and we resigned. At this point, I felt like a dead battery. Literally out of hopelessness, I cried out to God to either fix me or take me home.
And whaalaa! A rescue ship pulls up with my name on the side. Holy cow! I heard God's voice clearly for the first time in 3 years! But His escape plan was not what I had in mind at all. In fact, I disliked it so much that in the moment, being called into The Sweet Bye and Bye sounded much better.
But, Phillip was all about what God had up his sleeve for me. He even started initiating the rescue mission without me. I think He and God were in cahoots! So, kicking and screaming, with nothing inside me wanting to at all, I said YES to something really hard. It was as if some force greater than I was pulled me into it. Weird, right? But this led to a whole year of saying YES to a bunch of other really hard things, which I shared a little about in a previous blog post called, "The Power of YES".
That year actually turned out to be the most phenomenal year of my life, and coincidentally the year I turned a half-century old. Go figure?!? I will tell you all about it in coming posts, but what I want to highlight right now is what happened at the end of my year of YES's. The Lord gave me this revelation:
Those 3 years I called My Dark Night of the Soul were brought on from exhaustion...the exhaustion of living a life of hiding. Hiding in SHAME. The shame of living with a secret. The secret that I struggled with rage in private and faked like hell in public.
I shared in my last post that I was finally liberated after publicly confessing my struggle at a speaking engagement on June 8, 2015. Which has been totally and completely awesome! High-5!!!
What I want to emphasize here, is the revelation I had about finally coming to the end of myself from the shear exhaustion of hiding in shame. And how I was blind to the fact that I had build my identity and my life around shame.
I once heard a preacher make a statement years ago that I filed away as truth , "Who you are behind closed doors is who you really are." Believing that statement during those years of tormenting rage was one of the things that kept me imprisoned. But, this statement is far from true.
The person that we are ashamed of the outside world knowing, is NOT who we really are. Who we truly are is hidden under shame. And it is the voice of shame that convinces us that we deserve a life of hiding.
There is a rescue ship awaiting you!
Your Heavenly Father is calling your name! He sees you! He knows you! He wants to free you of a Lifestyle of Hiding. The only hiding place you will ever need is under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8). He wants to teach you a life of living in His presence, where there is liberty. This looks like freedom from a life being driven to death by those 4 P's!
The way to freedom is to respond to the one who is "it" in the spiritual game of Hide-and-Don't-Seek. That's Jesus. Jesus is on home base calling, "Ollie Ollie in come free!" You are safe to come out of hiding and run home to Him.
Have the courage to come out of a Lifestyle of Hiding and let yourself be seen and known. Experience true connection and belonging. Reach out for the help you need to uncover who you really are and discover a life of freedom.
Transformation is a process that requires you to be brave. Which is why we call it a Courageous Journey.
BeCourageousCoaching.com exists to help you brave the process, empower you to be free from a life of hiding and become who you were born to be. All it requires is your YES to come aboard.