Why I wrote the Hidden Life

I wrote my first book and it’s on Amazon now. It’s available only on Kindle for now, but the hard copy debuts at the conference in a couple weeks. I’m not sure it’s actually my first book, but it’s the first one published, so that makes it my first real book, right? My opinion of it is that it’s entertaining,enlightening, encouraging and engrossing. Even though this is my opinion it must be accurate because it’s full of alliteration. Every pastor knows, alliteration doesn’t lie. In seriousness, I hope it’s more story than sermon. It’s a message which I’ve been grappling with for 23 years and I think it’s both important and timely. (There’s a link at the top of the page if you’d like to check it out.)

I became a pastor two decades ago at the ripe old age of 21. Like most 21 year olds I was a mixture of strangely unwarranted confidence and equally unwarranted anxiety about the future. I had visions of being a “different kind” of pastor, of calmly, gently leading people toward God. I would be a kind and benevolent and effective pastor. Church would be a refuge, rather than a burden; pursuing Christ would be an adventure, rather than a duty. that my plans pleased God was a given, after all I was becoming a pastor. (Duh!) Pleasing my family and my friends, making them proud of me, seemed equally likely. After all, this had to beat the “write the great American novel” plan I had entered college with. (Writing for a living..what a ridiculous notion…oh wait.)

These are not everyones dreams and truth be told had only become mine in the two years prior. My dreams will sound silly, strange or unappealing to some. But what I have noticed is that everyone has dreams. Everyone instinctively expects and desires life to flow a certain way, to bring a certain satisfaction and success. What I have also noticed is that almost everyone finds that life pushes at them slowly or quickly until these dreams die, or at least diminish greatly. Most of us respond fairly maturely to this, recognizing that some of our dreams actually were silly or strange; we adjust accordingly, downsize our expectations and press on.

For me it came in the shock that I was pleasing no one while trying to please everyone. I had disappointed my best friends, my family, and I feared, my God. So I downsized too. I tried to readjust and press on.

But some day we wake up and wonder, or some night we lay there and wonder, “Is this really it?” Somehow what we thought was life had evaded us, eluded us and now we are left with a shell, a glimmer perhaps. The shock is that no one warned us. Everyone acted like life was there to be seized or survived or pushed through, but no one ever thought to mention that it was elusive.

Except that God did warn us. That’s what I discovered. Christianity isn’t about a religion no one wants. It’s not about learning to be better at a life we can barely stomach. It’s not about pretending things are rosy when they aren’t or pretending we are all together, when we’re falling apart. Christianity is too often perceived as a face lift, dressing up the outside, when God seems to indicate it’s about something much deeper. What if God isn’t just telling us about how to live life, what if he’s telling us how to find it?

Scripture actually acknowledges that life is hidden. Paul says it just like that, “Your life is hidden…” But Scripture also goes on to tell us where it’s hidden, and how to find it.

Over the last 23 years, I’ve been learning and relearning, failing and getting back up, grasping and losing this hidden life. I’ve been walking with people, helping them and letting them help me. I’ve done conferences and counseling and this book is my current best articulation of what I’ve learned.

I wrote it because both in Christianity and out of it, people are too often missing life, hitting their heads against walls in a desperate attempt to crash through to something. I wrote the book because the message is important and I’m tired of only sharing it with the same people over and over. I wrote it because I was compelled to write it. I wrote it because we all need each other; because I need you to read it and encourage me, and you need to read it and be encouraged. I hope it leads you to hope and joy and laughter…and life.

If you’re interested click the menu link at the top of the page. Incidentally, if you are an Amazon Prime member, it’s free to borrow it from the Prime lending library. Let me know what you think. I’m interested.

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