A game of hide and go seek in the woods
I’ve been playing various evolutions of Hide and Go Seek all of my life.
My kids and I played the other day. I was elected IT, of course. They hid. I didn’t see them. Any of them. And I have four kids. I ducked my head in tunnels and under picnic tables. I peered behind park benches and around the sculpture I love of a deconstructed bicycle. We’d set boundaries, so they couldn’t be too far. We’d played at this park hundreds of times, so I felt they must be safe. Right? Still, I felt momentary panic—that shuffle in my heart.
I put my hand over my eyes like a shield, as if it would give me x-ray vision. It didn’t. I took a deep yoga breath. I even opened the door to the port-a-potty, no lie. I’d do anything at this point to find them. I caved and started calling their names. One by one they revealed themselves. One was folded behind a trashcan. Another was crammed under bushes. A third splayed flat against a corn hole board. The last had been darting from spot to spot. But that anxiety of not being able to find them, unsettled me for a while.
little boy coming out from his hiding place
My daughter’s asked, “What took you so long? I wondered where you were.” The tension goes both ways – not finding and not being found.
For the hider there’s the thrill of looking for the perfect hiding place and the pressure to find one before the IT gets to twenty. Finding a spot is exciting at first. The whole no-one-knows-where-I-am-freedom. And then, your mind wanders. And the peaceful imagining is blissful for a while. But eventually, there is that wonder—what if nobody finds me? What if they forget I was playing? Or can’t get the door behind me open? What if they think I went home? Or get distracted and move on to something else?
I’ve been playing various evolutions of Hide and Go Seek with God my whole life.
I hate to admit it, but sometimes I hide from God
I hate to admit it, but there have been times when I’ve hidden from Him. And when I hide from my Father, it sometimes feels adventurous at first. There is a weird buzz of rebellion. But not for long. When I attempt to do something He hasn’t planned for me, or something I truly need Him for, but I’m trying to do it alone, it doesn’t take long before I find myself not as excited as I thought I would be. Not as fulfilled. And soon, I feel lacking, empty, excluded. I ache for Him to find me.
Jesus is the ultimate IT
Gratefully, He is the ultimate IT. He always finds me. Sometimes He comes right up to the wall I’ve backed myself up against, or the façade I’m hiding behind. Other times, I realize how badly I need Him and crawl out of my hiding place, back to His open arms and the love He always offers.
But the best times of my life are when I seek Christ. Because when I seek Him, He’s always there. He never, ever hides from me. He simply loves me, because I am seeking Him.
Are you hiding or seeking today?
Cover of my book HOT - it's free on Kindle this week
My book HOT is FREE on Kindle this week:
This is the main character's, Lindsey's, blog:
I haven’t been to youth group in a while.
There. I admitted it.
I feel so guilty about skipping; I’m not sure what to do, or how to get back into my routine.
I love youth group. I really do. Our youth pastor is young and goofy and totally gets it. The band rocks. I mean it. I would rather sink into the squishy giant pillows on the barn floor where we meet on Sunday nights and jam to that band than listen to my iPod! But here’s the deal. I’m in the middle of some stuff -- big crummy, confusing stuff.
My sister’s life could be an episode on 90210. My parents are all tuned into her station and her station only, even during commercial breaks. And my boyfriend, I mean my ex-boyfriend, Noah, well I still secretly adore him.
I’m still crazy about him because, mmmm, because Noah smells like minty gum, and his hand feels so warm and strong and safe when it holds my tiny hand. Did I mention he has these dark forest green eyes and he’s so tall I have to stand on my tippy toes to look into them? He’s also one of the kindest and sweetest people I know, and he completely understands me.
I broke up with him. I know. It sounds crazy. But, I had to for now. Things got too out of control, and we needed to slow down. I needed to slow down and get back to who I am, to who God made me to be. I know it’s the right thing, but it is so hard.
This brings me back to youth group, because Noah goes to youth group too. And the real reason I haven’t been going, is him. It’s one thing to see Noah across the cafeteria at school. But in the barn? It will be so awkward. I won’t know where to sit. My best friend, Emma, and I used to always sit with him and his friends. Emma hasn’t been going to youth group either, which has made it easier to skip. All Noah’s friends will make comments under their breaths. The people who don’t know we broke up will ask why we’re not sitting together. And I’ll have to look at him and not feel his warm leg next to my leg and not smell him or hear his smooth, soothing voice. I’m not ready.
The voice in my head, which I know is God, says it’s time. He says he’ll be there for me.
Really? How cool is that? But is that enough God?
There will be a whole lot of other people there too. And they’ll make it hard. He says to remember that youth group isn’t about who sits next to who or who wears what but about getting closer to Him. He says His grace is enough.
Right. I knew that. Sometimes, I just forget. Okay, I just need to stay focused on God. Easier said than done, but possible. With God’s grace I can do this. I think I’ll call Emma and try to con her into going with me.
2 Corinthians 12:8 My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Tag, one of the most exhilarating games, and a lesson on life.
When was the last time you played tag?
I played today, and I’ve decided it is, perhaps, the all time perfect game.
Tag is exhilarating and makes all of the players laugh out loud. Even more so, I believe tag teaches us a lot about life.
First off, tag is for everyone. You can be five or fifteen or twenty-five or fifty-five or even eighty-five rolling around full speed in a wheelchair and be part of the game. You can have on Coach riding boots or Wal-Mart sneakers to play. You can be an Accounting major or an Asian studies major or be a Major in the Army or have dreams of being in the major leagues or a majorette or in need of a major change in life and be on equal footing with the other players. Life should be like that.
Secondly, the rules are simple:
· One person is IT.
· The person who is IT tries to tag any of the other players.
· When they accomplish this, the person they tag becomes the new IT.
Period. End of story. The rules don’t change for different players. You don’t have to turn to page three of the directions to see what you do when you land on a question mark or how to get unstuck from the Molasses Swamp or when you get to roll again. You are either being chased or chasing. That’s it. In life we should try to keep things simple. Of course, that’s not always possible. Some things in life are so complicated, they make my head spin. But when possible, don’t invent elaborate bases and out of bounds and no tag backs. Instead, run fast. Be sharp. Look out for your opponents and your playmates (it’s critical to know who is IT). Focus on playing your best. Sometimes that means letting someone who’s been IT for too long tag you or focusing on tagging someone who truly wants a turn at being IT. Tag and life are not all about “winning”. And when your role changes -- from chaser to chasee or child to parent or sophomore to senior -- change with it.
Next, tag is exhilarating. There is a thrill to being chased. There is a thrill to chasing. That’s why the dating scene is so intoxicating. It’s a sense of accomplishment when you finally tag someone – instant gratification. It’s a sense of adventure when you get tagged – instant change up in routine. Find the thrill in life from all angles – being chased, chasing, being IT, getting caught, not being IT. They’re all a blast. Savor the spot you’re in. Do your best at it. Enjoy the moment, the sunny day you’re running around the park, without worrying about tomorrow’s stormy forecast, and you’re likely to land on your feet.
Have fun. When I played tag yesterday all of us were laughing. We giggled when we came out of the end of a slide and the IT was waiting for us and the IT was giggling too. We laughed when nobody knew who IT was or where IT was. It made us chuckle when IT reached to tag someone and missed. We chortled at just the sheer glee of the game. We should embrace life with that much enthusiasm and joy.
Lastly, tag can be played anywhere, anytime. You can play tag in a park, in your yard, at the sidelines of your sisters’ soccer game or the hallways of your boyfriend’s hockey practice or in your best friend’s basement. Tag can last for a few minutes or for a few hours or until your playmates have to go home.
Everywhere you go, every day of your life, look for a chance to smile, to laugh, and to run until your heart pounds. Don’t save it for the gym or the movie theatre or when you’re trying to impress someone or for special occasions. Spread your arms out wide, run at full speed ahead and reach out for a friend.
“Tag! You’re IT!”