As a chronic journaler (I Googled it– it’s a word!), there are two times in the year where I especially dig deep into the archives of my life. Those moments of nitty gritty, soul-baring reflections happen in late December/early January and my birthday, October 24th. What’s more, every year when I commemorate my birthday, I also plan a glamorous photoshoot or I won’t feel complete!
This year, I shared a shot where the image is dark but I am in the spotlight, staring boldly and intently into the camera lens. Whenever I take any photo, I look at the final images and I think, “what do these images say?” And then I ask myself, “what do I feel or what am I coming out of?”
In this season of my life, my answer is: hiding.
From the outside looking in, you see a woman on the cover of her own book, the face of her own brand and consistently showing up online. So you may think, how have you been hiding?
And to that, I answer: there are many forms of being hidden. I’ll share one of mine.
The Wrong Perception
From a young age, I’ve been exposed to people who were confused by my confidence. Many confuse(d) my certainty with cockiness. They found me vain because of beauty and fashion, how I carried myself and my standard of excellence.
As someone who is so open to love, I didn’t always fully understand. But I’ve always known this: I don’t live to prove my heart to anyone and trials forced me to embrace that.
Don’t get me wrong (ha), being misunderstood by any one of the select few you’ve allowed into your space is a different level of hurt… Especially, when you present your vulnerable self and it turns out, they didn’t truly see you after all. It hurts when they’re blinded by what they choose to see – the very opposite of the fruit you bear.
That pain takes a hit on parts of you you’ve never seen. You’ll begin to have moments where you start to say, “wait, maybe this is too…” or “maybe this shouldn’t matter as much as I make it out to be” or “maybe God doesn’t really care about that.” You waver in that belief or you simply forget that those parts of you are purposeful, too.
In those moments, you forget that anything and everything concerning you is of the utmost importance. What makes your heart smile, what makes your heart break, what makes your heart full. Every aspect that makes you, you…it all matters and it should be welcomed. You fail to realize…
They were wrong. They are wrong. You are wrong.
You’re not too much. You’re never too much.
Never too hard to love.
Never too hard to please.
Never too much to handle.
Never too much to appreciate.
Sit in the knowledge that you are the right amount of YOU. And the Creator of the Universe looks forward to outdoing what you once considered “too much.”
I’ve hurt a lot and in many ways feel as if not one aspect of my life has gone untouched. In some way or another, I’ve been misunderstood, overlooked or passed over. However, I didn’t allow bitterness to swallow me. I wasn’t always happy with God for what He allowed and at times found it cruel that I was being hidden.
At times it feels like a cop out answer but I truly believe that you, me and anyone else who has suffered in this way have been isolated and limited and tried because there is a purposeful legacy attached to our name. The tears the outside didn’t see were recorded by the Author of our Lives, the true Journaler. He sees, He knows, He loves, He cares.
Therefore I can confidently declare: everyone doesn’t need to see me — I see me. And the best part is: God peers deeper than my eyes ever can. I am approved by HIM and I can say, “Tarah-Lynn, you are so beautiful and I am so proud of how you love yourself.”
The same way I can encourage you with all that is the same way I can publicly tell myself that. Without shame or without wondering how it is perceived. I never needed permission.
I will not dim my light to accommodate someone else’s. I will not change who I am to suit their comfort. I will not shy away from who I am called to be. My boldness propels me.
There is liberation in being my God-given self and I am not holding back. My fullness frees me. I am already fully seen.
The Gifts of Being Hidden
Having this confidence, I can be open to visualizing the benefits of being hidden. You can fall in love with who God created you to be, you can develop deeper empathy, you can learn to be open to seeing people for who they really are.
God builds our character in these dark places. We can force our way out all we want to but the great reveal is much safer when you are covered (or shall I say hidden?) in the shadow of His wings.
And the same way there is an appointed time to be hidden, there is also an appointed time to come out and into new light.
Joseph was hidden in prison before his promotion to the palace. Esther hid her identity to become queen. David wasn’t even considered worthy of acknowledgement by his own father and later had to hide in caves before he was recognized as king.
A shift in my life has come, too, and it’s a little terrifying. I squealed like a child the other day; in retreat, I buried my head into my Father’s chest and occasionally peered over His shoulder for secret glimpses.
Naturally, after being in the dark for so long, your eyes squint and need to get adjusted to the opening before you.
I know this is the designated time to come out of the shadows and into the spotlight — no matter what that looks like. What gives me peace is knowing there are many forms of being hidden…and heirs of the Kingdom never totally come out of it when our Father is our hiding and resting place.