Years ago, I read a book called Hiding from Love. I honestly don’t remember a ton about the book itself. But I do recall being fascinated by the paradox that we frequently, through our patterns and behaviors, hide from the very thing that we most want and most universally long for: love.
For today’s prompt, reflect on 2017 thus far and write out what comes to your mind in response to these four questions:
- Are there any deep desires or longings you have, but have been avoiding, hiding or running from?
- Are there any deep fears or anxieties you have, that you have been holding onto, staying involved in or attached to?
- Are there any desires or longings you stopped hiding from this year?
- Are there any fears or anxieties you released this year?
Tell your Pages all about it.
I realized this year that one of my deepest desires is to be known. I have always thought my life was an open book, but really I am just a well read book cover. People know the highlights of the story, but I don’t let others delve into the story and experience my life. I don’t let others engage so much that they can walk alongside, to feel, and experience the story unfold.
The biggest battle I have with being known is that I am not sure that I know who I really am. I have hidden myself so long in who others need me to be and what I do, that I don’t really know who I am. Ask me roles, and I can play them. Ask me tasks, and I can do them. Ask me who I am, and right now my answer would be “I am lost.”
I am looking to be found, yet I am avoiding the search. I am running because I am not sure that I can face who I am. And yet at the core of my soul, I long to know and be known.
Scriptures tell me “God knows me.” Most of the time I avoid seeking to know who I am. I want the “being known” with no effort on my part. I don’t want to be vulnerable with myself, let alone others or God. Although I know He knows, I like to think His eyes are turned away from me more than they are too me. When I pause and really seek God to show me who I am, the picture is vastly different from what I imagine. I focus my attention on faults and shortcomings, He focuses on who He made me to be. It overwhelms me.
I often stop the search because I don’t know how to experience the fullness of His love. I find it hard to accept that He knows things I can not fathom about myself. I find myself running because my focus shows how much I miss. I am okay hearing Him correct and discipline me, because I am so focused on the “do” failures. This becomes a task I can complete to fix myself . I am still trying to earn what He has already given. When He speaks to me about what I am, I shrink back. I can not see myself through His eyes and maintain my own view.
As much as I long to be known, my deepest fear and anxiety is that who I am is not enough. I can hide behind playing a role to meet the needs of others. I can hide behind the busyness of productivity. Working to earn people s’ praises and acceptance I can hold on to my insecurities. I can stay attached to my work’s mentality.
I am not sure what I was doing earlier this week, when I realized that so much of what I do is tied to other’s expectations and the desire to earn approval. My mind went to taking care of my mother in the last few months of her life. I wasn’t necessarily doing anything other than sitting by her side. I felt that nudge of pain that part of my diligence was tied to a promise made twenty years earlier when my father died that we (my siblings and I) would take care of my mother.
I have been praying that God would search my heart and show me hidden motives. A ping of guilt and shame rushed through my body. Even in her death, I was working for acceptance. I wanted to be enough. I don’t regret a moment I spent with my mother. I would do it all again. Yet maybe I did have a hidden motive even if it wasn’t my only motive.
It is a work in progress, but I am trying to stop hiding. I am trying to let myself be known, even as I discover who I am for myself. I am trying to let go of insecurities and work’s mentality and allow myself to be known and loved by those who want to and will. I know that not everyone will want to know me. Not everyone will love me, or even like me. Some people will want me to stay in the work’s mentality for their benefit. That is okay, because some people will want to know, love me, like me and accept me. God is ready for me to stop hiding and start holding on to Him. He is ready for me to know who I am in Him and allow others to know who He is in me.
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.