Not much we do these days is done in secret. A glimpse at Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, or Snapchat, can tell us what most of our friends and acquaintances are up to, no matter where they are in the world. Any moment of our lives that is vaguely interesting or noteworthy can be posted for anyone to see. Whether it be portraying a story of adventure-filled travel, miraculous ministry, profound thoughts, or a good hair day- we like to show off the significant events of our daily life.
So I guess I need to correct myself. There are a lot of things that are done in secret, just not a lot of really good things. The good things we do are what get hung out in cyber-world for all to see, but what about the other 86,399 seconds in your day before and after that picture was snapped? Where were they spent?
The discussion of the false facades often portrayed on social media is not a new one. Many bloggers, preachers, instagrammers, and celebrities have been speaking up about this very thing. Many have combatted this issue by posting make-up-less pictures or honest stories about their lives. I think this is such a great catalyst for the celebration of vulnerability, an act of taking off the masks and giving small glimpses of reality. But I think there’s another way to steward genuineness in our lives that hasn’t been as highlighted.
In the last year of living in Thailand I have started to lead worship in my church. As many of you know, this is completely new ground for me. I have had a lot to learn and a lot to grow in, all while standing on the platform at least once a week and leading people into the presence of God.
This season has also been one of the busiest, most chaotic seasons of my life. My time in the secret place with Jesus has been challenged as I have been leaving my house bright and early each morning and crashing into bed when I return each night. I get my guitar out at my apartment when I need to put a line-up together or find my keys, not to just freely worship for an extended period of time. I know that there is so much grace in this season and Jesus sees my heart for Him more then anything, but it has felt like there is something very valuable missing in my life.
That missing link is the secret place. I’ve been worshipping Jesus and my worship is always seen by Him. But there is something especially treasured about things that happen in complete secrecy. There is something so valuable about something done behind closed doors that not one person knows about except you and Him. Seclusion takes out the factor of self-recognition, pride, striving, competition, insecurity, or other hidden motivations. It simplifies your actions to a desire to be with Him alone.
Leeland Mooring shared about this at Bethel and he said, “You don’t need a platform to fulfill the gift He’s placed in your life.” Because God didn’t give you your gifts for you to be seen, He gave them for HIM to be seen! That may mean He gave you the gift of singing or writing or art or speaking JUST for them to be given back to Him in secrecy. The only way we can waste our gifts is by using them for our own glory, they are never wasted when we give them to Him.
Chances are that God won’t keep your gifts or your intimacy with Him hidden forever, but our public relationship with God should flow out of our private history with Him, not vice-versa.
With what I’m doing here in Thailand, as someone who is both outgoing and has also been entrusted with leading different ministries, I am not in a hidden season. But the Holy Spirit has been challenging me to create hidden moments. He has been calling me to spend more time with Him alone, then with Him in front of others. To do things that won’t ever be discovered on social media. To write things that will never be read on a blog or recorded on an album. To enjoy beautiful moments without capturing a picture. To “waste” my gifts for Him first so that I don’t waste them on myself.
So instead of challenging you to show your flaws, weaknesses, or mediocrity to the world, I challenge you to hide some of the good things. Do something new, simply for the sake of doing it. Tuck away your phone or your camera for an afternoon and get away with Jesus. Allow Him to speak something to your heart that is for you and you alone. Write a love song to Him and sing it in the shower. Pretty soon you’ll find that you’re not as defined by how others see you, but by how you look in the eyes of God.