Hidden and Impact
Why is hide and seek such a fun game? The familiar adrenaline rush comes back when I watch one of my kids scamper off to find a hiding place while the other counts. I remember the thrill of trying to find a good place to hide. As a kid, I was short (okay, I still am). This meant that I could hide in some pretty tight places where people would not think to look (the clothes hamper, on a shelf in a cabinet, etc.). I once hid on a top shelf in a closet behind some blankets. I tried really hard to not be found.
Today I wonder if much has changed. As I go through my day, I think I really just want to hide. I want to remain anonymous. I want to go un-noticed and fly under the radar. As I’ve given it some thought, I don’t think this is an introvert thing or a shyness thing. I think this is an avoidance thing.
Am I alone here? Does anyone else want to get through the grocery store without seeing anyone they know – not because you haven’t showered today (which is often the case for me) – but because you just don’t want to deal with anything else? I have my tasks, my to-do list, and I do not want anything to interrupt that. Sometimes I feel I am struggling to keep my head above water, so I don’t want anything new added to the mix.
Some of us thrive on attention more than others, but all of us have our moments when we just want to retreat into our shell and hide out for a while. Some times it is too exhausting to be seen. By “seen” I don’t just mean being around people and being noticed. I mean really being “seen” – the real you – the you that is under the mask you put out there for all to see.
I have been wrestling with one aspect of the real me underneath. I am going to let you “see” me for a moment. I believe God wants to do some great things in me and through me (I believe this is true for everyone). The through me part is where there is rub. I believe that God wants to do great things through me, possibly through writing, and it gets me excited and terrified at the same time. Excited because God has good ideas. Terrified because it may mean that more people have access to my thoughts and the personal musings I pound out on a screen. I want more people to read what I have written, mainly if I have written in such a way that God can use it to have impact for his purposes.
The thought of being anything resembling the fame of a celebrity makes my intestines tie up in a knot. No, that’s not a strong enough image. The thought of being a celebrity gives me the equivalent feeling of sky-diving while trying to hold in a huge BM and I realize I jumped without a parachute. I do not want to be famous.
Here is why: Those who are famous live with their lives on display. For some reason, our world believes that, though they are people, we have a right to pry into their lives more than we would our next door neighbor. Yes, if you live your life in front of others, I believe you should be held accountable for the greater responsibility you naturally bear. At the same time, it is as if our society wants them to fail. The news wants a story, so then bend and twist to make something out of nothing. So-and-so needs something to complain about, and that famous PERSON makes an easy target. It is somewhat safe to attack someone you do not even know.
I feel bad for celebrities most of the time. I know most of them have chosen their path, but that does not give us a right to tear their lives apart. They are people with feelings. And just like most paths, you do not know what you are really getting into until you are on the journey. With most paths, if you find it is not for you, you can just stop and choose another path. With fame, once people know you, they know you. You can not make people un-know you. I know there are some who sought fame only to find the path to be too unforgiving, too brutal. Unfortunately, there was no going back, so they looked to drugs and alcohol to cope. We look down on the celebrities who make these foolish choices without taking any responsibility for our (collective society) part in driving them toward the choices. Yes, everyone needs to be accountable for their choices. We just forget to include ourselves in “everyone” sometimes. We have tremendous impact on others – even people we do not know.
And you know we all mess up. We all act without fully thinking it through. We all speak without thinking. I am okay with not being perfect. I do not try to be. I am okay when other people are not perfect. Life is a lot easier if we all recognize this. However, if you mess up and you’re in the spotlight, a lot more people know about it. I think that should be punishment enough, but for some reason, those who are in the spotlight receive a lot less grace than those who are not.
Have you noticed this? It is as if our society is hell-bent on trying to prove that the person in the spotlight is not perfect. Well didn’t we all know they weren’t perfect? We did not need to tear them to pieces to prove that fact.
Wow. I am not sure where that rant about celebrities came from. I usually couldn’t care less about celebrities. I rarely know the names of actors and actresses. I am the least star-struck person you will meet. I could easily meet someone famous and not know it because I do not pay too much attention to famous people. If I did meet someone famous, I am not sure I would enjoy it, unless they were able to let their “famous” guard down and just talk to me like a person.
I think I am easily un-startstruck (for lack of better word) because I can not get past the fact that everyone famous is just a person. They are someone’s son or daughter, possibly someone’s brother or sister. They were someone’s classmate or possibly their high school crush. They were knit together in the womb of their mother just like every other person to walk the planet. God has a plan/purpose for their lives just as he does mine and yours. (sorry for the cliche, but it is true) They are no different than you or I. Their life is not more special or more important. And they struggle, like you and I. (I read Mandisa’s explanation for not attending the Grammy’s after I read this. You may want to read it, too.)
Though I do not desire fame, I DO desire to be impactful. Impact rarely happens from hiding in the corner or behind a rock. If, for example, God wants me to continue writing, then he probably wants people to read what I write. If people read what I write and share it with others, then more people will know me or know of me. I have to be okay with that.
At the end of the day, I am okay if a lot of people know my name as long as they remember that I am human and they allow me to be human. I worry about being misunderstood or torn to pieces because someone disagrees with me, but at the end of the day, God reminds me that I do not answer to man. I answer to the One who put me on this planet for many reasons. I am thankful that he not only forgives my short-comings but is also committed to perfecting my imperfections.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
God does not want me to remain hidden. He does not want you to be hidden either.
Christians are always in the spotlight – famous or not. The enemy of our souls wants us to fail. He wants us to be proven hypocritical so that the Good News that Jesus came to bring will not be spread. Celebrities are not the only ones who run to drugs, alcohol, food and other things to escape the troubles of this life. Our world, the people we come in contact with, need us to NOT be anonymous. They need us to be the sons and daughters of the King that we are – to share the love, truth, and freedom that has been given to us.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
We are meant to shine. We are meant to be noticed. We are just meant to be noticed for the right reasons. Good deeds are meant to be for others. They are not meant to be about US. If the deed is done purely for the sake of another, and not to be seen, it results in praise to God because people are so thankful for the goodness they have received from God (through you, but not from you).
We do not do good deeds to be seen. The reality is: we are seen whether we are good or bad. Bad deeds just make us fade into the crowd and appear dull. Good deeds are the things that make us shine brighter. We are meant to shine brighter so others can see clearer. I am thankful for the friends and random people I do not know who shine brightly so that I can see better. Genuine love, when shown through actions, is inspiring and alluring. We are all drawn to light. We need light. Michigan winters are proof of that fact. We need light.
How is your life illuminating the path of life so others can see it (the path) and walk it with you?