I tried to get away with an awful lot as a little girl.
I may have lacked something in the way of strategy or timing or the ability to cover up a lie. Because I was almost always found out.
How do you do at covering up things you're trying to hide?
I was six or seven. My brother, two years younger than I, had picked up a few naughty words from a neighborhood friend. He'd pull them out when no one was looking, and it seemed to me that no one was the wiser.
So I, devious little thing that I was, made it my mission to get his mouth washed out with soap. I'm not sure why I wanted to get him in trouble. He was my best friend in the world. But, for some reason, he was my target that day. And I came up with the grandest plan.
He was on the swing in our backyard. Standing, his lower body teetering forward and back. And with a sly glint in my eye, I sauntered up and pressed "record" on the Playskool cassette recorder that I was holding at the ready behind my back.
"James--call me a bunch of bad names!" I provoked. "I promise I won't tell Dad!"
And, of course, he jumped at the opportunity to practice his fancy new vocabulary.
With evidence of my brother's crime, I ran to our Dad at the first chance and hit "play" on that rainbow-colored recorder. The problem was, I had wound the tape back too far. Because the first thing that Daddy heard was my squeaky little voice, saying,
"James--call me a bunch of bad names! I promise I won't tell Dad!"
There are lots of things we try to hide, right?
Flaws. Wounds. Opinions. Insecurity. Shame. Pain. Sin. Scars.
And no matter how deeply we bury these things or bottle them up, no matter how cleverly we cover them over, no matter how expertly we pretend they're not there...they have a way of finding paths outward.
Some of the things we hide change us from the inside out, shifting our core beliefs away from what is true. Some of the things we hide eat away at us and weaken our resolve. Some of the things we hide fill us with fear of being discovered for what we truly are.
We think we're pretty good at hiding. Until we discover the hard way that we're not.
And what then?
What happens when the truth comes out? What's left for us to say when that record starts playing back and we're caught, saying, "James--call me a bunch of bad names! I promise I won't tell Dad"?
As it turns out, the only One who is actually any good at bottling things up is God.
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8).
How beautiful is that? He notices. He sees. And He cares.
His bottle brings healing. It allows for vulnerability. It builds trust.
In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:10-11)
So, what if we open up and are honest? What if we confess and we share? What if we break out what we've been neatly tucking underneath filters and masks and we let out what we've been piling behind closed doors?
If we allow God be the One to be responsible for any bottling up of the things we might rather hide (Hebrews 4:13 says we can't really hide them from Him it anyway), look at what we can recognize about this God:
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (Psalm 56:13).
And what a great cross-reference we can make here, because God's Word, in Psalm 119:105, is described as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.
Maybe, then, we can do a little trade with God for the kind of hiding we've been getting used to or attempting to become experts at. We can pour our our hearts to a God who notices and sees and cares. We can draw out the things we would rather hide and lay them at the feet of Jesus, and fill the space with His Word.
What could happen if the space in which we usually hide the truth about who we are and what we've done was filled with the truth about who Jesus is and what He has done for us?
I'll tell you what will happen.
The truth will come out. It will overflow. Because that's what hidden things inevitably do. Just like my attempts to get away with framing my brother when I was little.
When we're tempted to hide things that shouldn't be hidden, there won't be any space left for them in our hearts when we've already filled that space with the truth. They'll rub up against God's Word and realize there's no room for them to be hidden away. And we'll find strength, there, to stand firm in His truth.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
If hidden things are sure to come out, let's work on the kind of hiding that won't hurt us. Let's practice the hiding that brings life into our souls. Let's hide the truth in our hearts.
On October 10th, I'm launching my Limited Edition Scripture Memory Journal, Hidden. It's filled with tools and techniques to make hiding God's Word easier and to help you achieve your Scripture memorization goals. Let's fill the space in our hearts with truth together.