January 25, 2023 | Chad Vinson
One of my favorite games to play as a child was hide and seek. I can vividly recall playing it for hours at a time during my childhood. However, the game would always begin with my friends and me arguing about who was going to be "it." The screams of everyone shouting “not it” seem to still ring in my head.
Even from a young age hiding has always been the preferred choice. This instinct to hide can be traced back to the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. The Scripture says, “when the eyes of both were open” or “they realized what they had done,” their reaction was to hide. There is something comfortable about hiding. I don’t only hide when I experience failure, but I can also hide behind those areas in my life in which I feel competent. I have decided in 2023 I want to address this issue of playing hide and seek with God.
As this New Year began, I wanted to get beyond the behavior and address the motive of what is driving the behavior. Instead of making a resolution (research suggests that approximately half of all Americans make a New Year's resolution, yet only 8 percent achieve them), I decided to focus on a word for the year. The practice of choosing a “Word of the Year” is to select one single word to be your focus for the year. You can use that word to set goals or intentions for each area of your life, but they all tie back to the single word.
The word I choose for 2023 was “Search.” David in the Psalm writes, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!” The word “search” used to be a scary concept for me because I naturally don’t like to be exposed. So, for most of my life, I have hidden behind compliant behavior. The result of my hiding has caused me to experience stagnation in my spiritual life because I was unwilling and honestly didn’t know how to address the motives.
God has used these questions described as x-ray questions to search me to become aware of my motives.
- What do I want, desire, seek, aim for, pursue, hope for?
- What are my goals, expectations, intentions?
- What do I fear? What do I tend to worry about?
- What do I love and hate most of all?
- What do I see as my ‘rights’?
These types of questions are helping turn my hiding into seeking! Seeking answers to why I do what I do. I can be overly focused on my behavior, and I miss what is driving it. This approach makes all of us more focused on image management and behavior modification. I cannot help but be reminded of Jesus’ strong words to the Pharisees, “For you clean the outside of the cup but the inside is full of selfishness.” Jesus seems to be saying, “Motives matter!” David appears to agree in the Psalm when he writes, “The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Maybe you are like me and for many years you have been hiding from God with all you are doing versus bringing yourself to Him. Join me as we seek to make 2023 the year we stop hiding and slow-down enough to be found by God.