Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Show & Tell vs. Hide & Seek

Do you remember “Show & Tell” when you were a kid? It was always a hit! It seemed to be the teacher’s wild card. I, personally, believe that an extremely creative teacher with poor planning skills invented it . . . “Guess what tomorrow is class?—Show & Tell!” Translation: “I am way behind in my lesson planning and kids love to talk about the things they love!” And “Show & Tell” was born. The key to its success is that people love to make known to others the things they really value. But I think it taught us all something really dangerous. To some degree, it programmed us to value only the things that are cool or fun or pretty, and, by default, taught us to keep the other stuff hidden.

Which reminds me of another classic from childhood: “Hide & Seek.” This one is timeless. In fact, I recently heard about a group of 20-somethings at Buckhead Church who’ve been playing this at one of our Fusion leader’s homes on the weekends. From what I understand, they even mix it up every once in a while and play one of my favorite variations of this classic— “Sardines.” That’s where one person hides and everyone else tries to find him, and once he is found, everyone else joins him until the last person discovers the group.

I’m not a psychologist, and I’m not trying to suggest that these games are evil . . . that would be weird! I’m just wondering if our communities reflect these games more than they do what God desires for us. I reflexively move toward hiding and away from showing and telling . . . especially when it comes to the not-so-pretty aspects of life. It’s easier and less embarrassing, but also very lonely.

Personal confession has been practiced in the church for generations. Some church denominations are better about making a habit of their everyday faith practices than others, but, truthfully, none of us really enjoy it. But it is something that is ESSENTIAL for growing faith communities. As I was reflecting on some of the things God has been teaching me lately, the thought that came to me was, “Who am I telling . . . the good, the bad, and the ugly, as they say, of what God is revealing to me, about me, my relationships, my priorities, my character?

So last week, I decided to stop hiding and start showing and telling in my community group. It was awesome! So without a ton of detail, here’s what’s up with me…

• Through Don Miller at the Labor Day Retreat, God revealed to me that I am finding validation in people, stuff, and my achievements. God is teaching me that finding freedom is finding that validation in Him—Alone!
• Through Andy’s series How to Be Rich, God is teaching me that not only am I rich, but that I use my riches more for me than anyone else.
• Through my wife and son, God is teaching me that I am prioritizing the wrong things, that His will for my life is to be a reflection of Him and that is more about being a husband to my wife and a father to my son than it is about being a pastor in our church.

Those are some of the things God is teaching me . . . it is messy, hard, and incredibly freeing to reveal!

What about you? This is your invitation to “Show & Tell?” Comments???


joel thomas
director of college & singles

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