Hiding. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about hiding. Maybe because I’ve been doing a lot of it. Hiding can feel safe and anonymous. It’s hard to be anonymous when you live in a smaller town like I do. That’s what I loved about living in downtown Chicago. I’d get off work on Fridays and walk through the city. I was surrounded by all kinds of people, which I loved, but no one knew me. For some reason that was a way for me to recharge. I felt off the hook and free. 

I hide when I’m not feeling strong. When I’m feeling vulnerable and exposed. I hide when I don’t want to face the reality of my life. I hide when I’m avoiding something I need to address head on. I hide when I need to feel secure. I hide when I’m afraid. Afraid of what others will say, afraid of judgement, afraid of pity, afraid of not being seen. I hide to avoid change, I hide to avoid my feelings. I hide because lets be honest, it’s just easier sometimes. 

It’s okay to hide for a time. My boys hide in their beds in the morning when it’s time to wake up for school. They say, “mom it’s so cozy and warm here, I don’t want to get up”. It’s okay to nestle into the cozy and warm for a time. It’s okay to wrap yourself in a blanket of security. It’s okay to avoid, hide, and protect ourselves from whatever it is that life is handing out. It’s okay to take a break and take a breath. 

But we can’t stay in the hiding. We can’t shirk away from life, from what its calling us to and teaching us. We just can’t. This world can’t grow and expand if we stay in our hiding place. It needs us to be big and open and free. Life is calling us to put on whatever makes us feel our best, to step out, to raise our hands and say, “I’m here, I’m showing up, I’m facing my giants”.

I look around and see people who seem to be out of hiding but really only announce themselves in ways that are always acceptable and always embraced. Some days I wish I could be like that. I wish life gave me that luxury. But then I stop to wonder if maybe they are really still hiding. Hiding behind that vacation, that “perfect” marriage, their always happy face and perfect outfit. Hiding like that can be almost more exhausting because it takes such effort. To be seen, but not really seen. 

Life is calling to you and to me. It’s calling us to share our story. It’s calling us out of our hiding places and into the arena of life.  It’s calling for us to be courageous. Life is asking you to show up, to be vulnerable and say, “this is me, I’m here in all my imperfection, in all my uncertainty, in all my beauty”. Will everyone embrace you? No, they will not. Will your vulnerability make some people uncomfortable? Yes, it will. Should you do it anyway? Yes, you should. 

What do you fear most? What is your greatest pain? In these you will find your purpose. The reason you were placed on this earth at this time. You will shine. But you can’t do it if you are hiding. You can’t shine in a closet. You can’t teach others from under the covers of your bed. 

Life is not asking us to take a leap and never to go back into hiding for a time, but it does ask us to take a step. Life asks us to teach and to share. The world needs you. We can stay in our hiding place of comfort, or we can humbly say yes to life, to our calling. Will you take a small step today to come out of the place you are hiding? Writing this is a commitment to myself to step out. To choose courage and to continue to grow into the full purpose of my life. 

You are beautiful, in whatever form you are right now. Life is giving you the opportunity to grow, to share, and to be the person you are. The one you are today. Not the one you will be in a month, or in a year or two. Today. 

Take a deep breath and be courageous. The world needs YOU.