If there ever was a message that has resonated deeply with me, you’ll find it in the pages of Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Longs to Be Noticed. (full disclosure: affiliate link)
I was fortunate to be part of a group that was able to pre-read this book before its official release. And oh my heart. I read it in a few days. Words that I wanted to savor and allow to sit with for a long time but just wanted to keep reading for the entire message. This is the kind of book that does that to you, and yet warrants a second read to allow time for deeper study and thinking.
It’s the kind of book where I found myself holding back with my pen and marker because I would have highlighted entire paragraphs, even entire chapters. There are so many nuggets of truth that are worthy of quoting, I had a difficult time choosing just a few that were most meaningful for me just to share in a post.
Even writing this post I struggled with how to capture the heart behind this message. And likely, I won’t do it justice. It’s just a book you need to read for such a time as this.
While author Sara Hagerty weaves the complexities of what it means to be hidden with God, throughout the pages of this book, I like the way she describes the idea of hiddenness in this way:
It’s not a natural concept for our human minds to apprehend. There are times when God tucks us away. He might hide us in a difficult job or an unwelcome circumstance where we feel like no one gets us, where we feel misunderstood. He might hide us in a crowd where we feel lost–unseen–or behind the front door of our homes, changing diapers and burping babies. He does this all so that we might see another side of Him, this God who looks deeply and knowingly into us when no one is looking, and come alive under that eye.
I think the message of Unseen resonated with me so much because staying hidden with the Lord was something I had been practicing over the past years of my life, without realizing that’s what I was doing. I stayed hidden with him in my desire to be home with my children. I stayed hidden with Him in the desire to travel with my family. It was only in releasing it did I realize how much I needed that hidden time to grow in my identity and in confidence that this really is what He was speaking to me.
Hiddenness is not just found in the big decisions about life, but in the everyday mess. The way Sara describes hiddenness reminds me of my desire to live small, to find Him in the everyday moments of living. He hides us in order to invite us to find him in the secret places.
And yet, even though I understand this message clearly, the need to go to God first, the need to know what He says about me or my family before the world gets their chance, it’s not an easy path. How quickly do I want to turn to a friend or post on social media? There’s a place for that. But then there’s a place where you have to let God tell you what He thinks first. To see the moments of being hidden with Him, whether they are everyday ordinary moments, or special-to-you moments, is a gift that takes practice. Being hidden allows you to ask God the question, “How do you see me? How do you see this situation?”
The craving to be seen is universal: we were made to be known. But there is only one who can know us. He is the One who created us to live with moments and hours that no one else can understand. And that’s where the mysterious beauty of hiddenness comes in. We who live most of our days in and around the people of this world don’t naturally hide ourselves in God. We don’t naturally look to His expression toward us to drive us. We respond instead to the looks and applause and the direction of others around us.
Since reading this book, the desire for me to be hidden with God has increased. I’ve been slower to write. Slower to post on social media. Slower to care what the world says about the things that are important to me. While I tend to not want to make the Internet more noisy and I write what I feel led to write, I held back even more so this month. There are a lot of things that happened this month that I didn’t even share with anyone and didn’t post about. I talk to God frequently throughout my day and have for several years now, but since reading this book, I find that I want to even more. It’s kind of like the song by Rend Collective, “I love you, Lord; but I want to love you more. I need you, God; but I want to need you more.”
And yet, it’s a struggle. It’s a struggle of flesh and spirit. It’s not easy to say no to scrolling on FB out of habit and instead turn to God and ask what he has for me at 3:21 in the afternoon. It’s not easy to hold back posting a picture of a special moment with my child and instead ask God what He thinks in this moment and keep it sacred. It’s not always easy to say, “God what do you think of me in this moment of failure, in this time of weakness, in this moment of celebrating, in this moment of uncertainty” rather than texting a friend to ask them instead.
But friends, if I dare be so bold, it’s what is needed. If I truly want to pursue Him and Him alone, I need to tuck myself into Him more, into being hidden in Him, and ask Him, “What is worthy of sharing here? What should I keep secret between us and what should I make known? What do YOU say here?” And then value that over the noise and voices in the world.
If that message resonates with you at all, if the idea of being hidden with God to find Him more, to know Him more, to fall in love with Him more is something you desire, I encourage you to buy this book. Read it. Savor the words. But even more so, allow the message to penetrate your heart to action.
I’m giving away a copy of this book because I believe in this message want to do my part to help share it with someone else.
If you’d like to enter to win, all you need to do is leave a comment below, and share what about this message resonates with you. What about these few words I’ve shared here stirs your heart to read this book? Simple as that! You can feel free to comment on social media as well, but your comment must be here below this post to be eligible to win. Giveaway will run through September 15th.
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED: CONGRATULATIONS VALERIE LUDWIG!