“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” ~ Psalm 32:7
In the past few months, I’ve rediscovered the importance of regularly escaping to “my hiding place”, to spend time alone with God. It’s important to remain in communion and intimacy with Him even throughout a constant busy schedule – while at work, while with friends, while going about my day – but, I believe it’s also important to set aside specific times *just* for Him. These times, these times in “my hiding place” significantly impact the rest of my life – my vision, my heart, my thoughts, and my behaviors.
Clarity of Vision
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
Stepping away from life and just focusing on God gives a clarity of vision and peace that is otherwise not possible. Just going from event to event, from responsibility to responsibility, from person to person throughout the day doesn’t allow for a clear perspective. It’s impossible to see what the staging of a theatrical play looks like while you’re a part of it – thus, it’s important to step outside and consult the play’s director.
When I take the time to focus just on God – read His Word, pray, and meditate in the Spirit – I am able to step outside of myself and see more of what He sees. I’m able to forget all of my anxieties, selfish thoughts, and preoccupied mind and just focus on what matters – Him. Every time I step away and spend time alone with Jesus, I am amazed by the amount of clarity and insight I receive on matters that were previously overwhelming and confusing. I receive direction on how to go about the rest of the day, and what He’s called me to. I receive peace about that calling and where He has me. And, I am able to see myself more clearly and recognize my flaws, my sins, and my mistakes. When I spend time daily with Jesus, I find that He leads me faithfully on the path that He has for me and my life. He shows me where I’m to go and what I’m to do. He teaches me how to become more like Him. He helps me to love others better.
In order to see clearly, it’s necessary to go to the one has the power to restore sight to the blind – and that is Jesus, and Him alone.
A Restored Spirit
“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
Pray renews and restores our spirit. We are created to pray. Prayer is our way of growing in intimacy with God, our Creator, Savior, and Father. When I take regular time to pray, I grow closer to His heart, and I began to care more about what He cares about. Prayer dramatically changes my perspective, my thoughts, my ambitions, and my desires. When I spend time alone with God and pray about my worries and for troubling situations, He never fails to give me peace and restore my spirit.
Spending time alone with God also helps me develop more compassion and empathy for others. It’s impossible to sincerely pray for someone and not start to develop a sincere heart for that person. And, the more time I spend in God’s Word, the more His words become written on my heart and mind, and thus change the way I act and treat others throughout the day.
Prayer is powerful, and it has tangible effects on us, on others, and on the world – it has the ability to restore our spirits, heal our hearts, and renew our minds. God’s Word is living, active, and dynamic – and when we meditate on it regularly, it reshapes who we are and makes us more like Christ. When I regularly spend time in “my hiding place” with God, reading His Word and praying to Him, I am tangibly transformed into becoming more like Him.
“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
I am unable to be myself in my own power – it’s only when I go to God that I am able to truly be myself, the person He’s created me to be. Throughout life, we put on so many masks – masks to look differently for different occasions, masks to hide our flaws. We wear masks of pride, masks of selfishness, masks of insecurity. But when we go to God, he strips away all of our masks – He reveals our true faces, and we are able to live our lives in truth and joy, as the people God created us to be. In Him, we find ourselves. When I spend regular time with God, He regularly strips away my masks – and I no longer feel the need to try to be how the world wants me to be. Instead, I am fully confident and joyful in the person God has created me to be. I am only truly myself when I surrender myself to Christ.
When I emerge from “my hiding place”, I am able to approach the world with a new perspective – with a better understanding of who I am in Christ, and what He desires me to do. I am reminded of His eternal goodness and incredible grace, and I am thus filled with a joy that cannot be quenched by any of the world’s darkness or cynicism. We have EVERYTHING in Christ – thus, what is there to be sad or anxious about? Instead, I can approach every situation – even difficult ones – with joy. Instead of paying attention to worldly things and my own fears and insecurities, I can dedicate my whole being to fulfilling His plans for my life and His calling – to spread the hope of the Gospel, to grow in intimacy with Him, and to love others as He has loved me.
Certainly, I have times that I get “too busy” and forget to retreat to my hiding place with Jesus. But in those times, I notice a significant difference in the way I see the world, the way I treat others, and in who I am as a person. And, faithfully, He always calls me back to Him, even though I am undeserving. We truly are like sheep, who continually wander from our Good Shepherd. I am so thankful for a God who continually seeks after us, continually forgives us, and continually loves us.
He is my Hiding Place.