Children play "Hide and Seek." It is a simple game with a simple objective. Ideally, several children play. One person is designated as "it." "It" closes his or her eyes at "home base" and counts to a hundred. While "it" counts, everyone else hides. "It" finds the hiding children.

Often adults try to turn life into a game of "hide and seek." In the adult game, "I" is never "it." "I" am always seeking to hide. And "I" constantly change my hiding places.

The perfect adult hiding place (a) permanently hides me, and (b) allows me to pretend reality is what I wish reality to be. My hiding place allows me to escape from realities to pretense. Pretense allows me to become increasingly self-absorbed.

As my pretense grows, my neglect causes pain to those around me. My shrinking world focuses on "me and my desires," and those in my life suffer the pain of neglect.

All types of hiding places claim to be the perfect place to hide. Some teens yearn to enter adult life because adult existence is the perfect place to hide. When they become adults, what do they discover? The demands and responsibilities of adult life exceed those of teen life.

Some singles consider marriage the ideal hiding place. Marriage offers escape from undesirable realities. When a person marries to escape, what does he or she discover? Marriage is filled with realities. When those realities are neglected, marriage becomes oppressive.

Some adults think unique job opportunities are ideal hiding places. They can "lose themselves" in their work. When a person works to hide, what does he or she discover? What seemed glamorous and fulfilling is actually full of realities that can (and do) produce enormous stress, incredible competition, and undesired vulnerability.

When escape is our dominant motivation, often "original" hiding places prove inadequate. When my hiding place does not permit complete escape, I need a better place to hide. Hiding's importance increasingly stresses escape.

The desire to hide combined with the objective of escaping often produces an addiction. The addiction may be as simple as recreational pleasure (sports competitions, hunting, fishing, golf, travel, etc.) or as devastating as something destructive (drugs, alcohol, pornography, affairs, one-night stands, etc.). Whether simple or devastating, addiction's objective is the same--escaping to the ideal hiding place.

Age destroys the ability to run. Death makes hiding useless. Let God teach you how to live instead of running. The person who hides life in God lives life fully--and never dies.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 17 June 2001

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