Hiding versus Hiddenness

This is 31 conversations from the front porch day 5 – you can find the rest of the series here.
31 conversations from the front porch with jkmcguire

Day 5: Hiding versus Hiddenness

Once upon a time when friendship fractured and our future fell apart the way we had planned, when rejection and abandonment became a reality for our family, when the church women gathered together whispering and conspiring I wanted to RUN away and HIDE.

I wanted nothing more than to pack up my children, our home, and hit the road with my husband, moving us as far away from the burned places as we could go.

BUT we chose stability instead. We chose waiting. We chose Hiddenness.

There is a difference between running away, tucking your tail, and hiding from truth and anger vs. choosing stability, backing away from the areas of ungrace as gracefully as possible and choosing a state of hiddenness.

Hiddenness is a choice you make to be still and at peace and to rest. It is an intentional state of being. It is a way to get far away from a shouting world with all its opinions even if you remain in the same place geographically. Hiddenness is a state of being where you pause your internal life to repair the broken places. It is a way to find healing, to slow the timing, and to seek all those things not from a place of hurry up get this done (which is a huge part of hiding), but from a place of steady, consistent rest.

Healing happens in separateness.

As a Christian I follow the example of Jesus. Jesus chose hiddenness repeatedly. When the crowds threatened to swallow him whole, when it was overwhelming, and the shouting was suffocating, when he had a huge decision before him –  he chose to get away on the mountain to be renewed, refreshed, to commune with His father, and perhaps have a better understanding of what lay ahead of him.

Convalescence requires hiddenness.

From the front porch,



you are my hiding place en gedi jkmcguire

Exercises For Your Own Front Porch Conversations

Hiddenness is an essential quality of the spiritual life…Even during his active ministry, Jesus continued to return to hidden places to be alone with God. If we don’t have a hidden life with God, our public life for God cannot bear fruit.

One of the reasons that hiddenness is such an important aspect of the spiritual life is that it keeps us focused on God. In hiddenness we do not receive human acclamation, admiration, support, or encouragement. In hiddenness we have to go to God with our sorrows and joys and trust that God will give us what we most need. In our society we are inclined to avoid hiddenness. We want to be seen and acknowledged. We want to be useful to others and influence the course of events. But as we become visible and popular, we quickly grow dependent on people and their responses and easily lose touch with God, the true source of our being. Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves (Henri Nouwen).

Thoughts: I know I mention God quite a bit in this world of hiddenness. Perhaps it is because I do not know how to hide away any other way. I know of people and even considered it myself – Giving Up God. For Lent or 40 days or even a whole year. Choosing perhaps even to hide away from God him/herself. That would be an interesting journey to consider. I do not think I am strong enough or brave enough to try it on my own. What about you


  • Have you ever had a situation or relationship where you could not get away fast enough?
  • What does hiding look like for you? Where do you go? How do you react?
  • When is hiding healthy? When is it not healthy?
  • What does hiddenness sound like to you? How would that look?
  • Hiddenness to me means a place where you find healing…


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