Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hurt By The Church

Okay we are going back to the journal, today we are visiting April 17th, 2003. I am just going to share an excerpt here because this entry was a doozy!

I need You so much right now. I feel like I am under attack from every angle. Since I committed to Save-A-Life it seems like everyone is out for me. You know the situation with *****. I just want to say How Dare You, Do You Have A Clue What I've Gone Through Just To Be Here At All? but I know that is my flesh and I need to ignore it, but that doesn't make it any easier... 
I love You Lord and I trust in You.
In Jesus Name,

Whew, in this entry I was one hurting young lady. I remember the tears that flowed as I penned this prayer to my God. As I said, this was just the beginning, a small excerpt, of the hurts that I poured out that day in the pages of my journal.

One of these great hurts was coming from someone in my church. I had just been reprimanded for being late and due to this day I quit teaching the class that I was over. I was devastated and humiliated. Of course what the one who did the reprimanding saw was just me coming in late. What they didn't see was the fact that I was a young mother who had a baby that had not slept more than 45 minutes at a time since birth and I had a husband who worked night shift and did not attend church regularly with me at that time. I also worked outside the home part-time.

I was worn out and doing the best I could. I had a desire to serve and to teach and to be an active serving part of the church and at this moment I could have said fine see if I'll be back ever. But that was not the call I made.

I chose grace.

I was hurt, but I chose forgiveness.

And the thing is the one who made this reprimand is to this day one of the dearest people I have ever known and I love them greatly still.

They were not evil. They were not out to get me. The enemy attempted to set up destruction, but he failed, and the love of God prevailed. I still continued in my church and continued teaching my other class.

Had I walked away from God and His church at this time in 2003... oh my the blessings I would have missed! The friendships I would have never gained, the eternal lives I would have never been a part of, the opportunities to love, laugh, cry, encourage, serve, grow... all missed if I had of chosen to hold this hurt in bitterness and throw my hands in the air and turn my back to the church.

I wish I could say this was the last hurt I ever experienced in the church, but it's not. I've lost count of the times I have been on my face before God in tears over the hurt delivered to me through someone in the church, in my church, the one I am still a member in. We just don't leave because of hurt feelings, because this is where God has planted me and my family. Feelings lie. Feelings don't see the whole picture. They are selfish and nearsighted and prone to exaggerate and manipulate.

Jesus does not forsake me because I have hurt His feelings... so I shall not forsake Him because someone in His body hurt mine. His body is immature and in a growth process. It's not attained perfection yet, it's not complete yet, there is still lots of growing up to do in the church and if the parts of the body keep forsaking the body then how on earth is it ever to grow up?

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:11-16

If the joints and ligaments keep checking out because of a bout of arthritis the body is never going to get anywhere. We don't forsake our earthly bodies because a part of it is hurting us and not working right so why should we forsake our spiritual body because it's hurting us and not working right? When it's our physical body we try to get to the bottom of the hurt and fix hit, we don't just walk away from it.

I can guarantee you that if you regularly and actively attend a fellowship of believers at some point and time someone will hurt you.
It's a family.
Families hurt each other sometimes- but the love always outweighs the hurt.

To share a quote about the home:

A true home is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world’s perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which at close of day the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place where love learns its lessons, where life is schooled into discipline and strength, where character is molded. ~ J.R. Miller

There is a reason we say "This is my church home"
If we can't learn to model and give grace and mercy and forgiveness and love within the church to fellow believers, how on earth do we expect to learn to give it to those who are lost and know God not?

Before you leave a church because you have been hurt by the church... seek God.
Ask Him to give you eyes to see past what your flesh feels.
Bring the hurt to Him.
Seek Him in His Word.
Talk to a trusted believer who will not begin a gossip ring, but will speak truth to you and keep your confidence.
Whatever you do, don't just leave to be leaving.

Then Peter came and said to Him,
“Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me
 and I forgive him?
Up to seven times?” 
Jesus said to him,
“I do not say to you, up to seven times,
 but up to seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22

Let us also not forget that we were told that there would be tares among the wheat until the day Christ comes to reap.

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying,
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Matthew 13:24:30 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Volunteers Anonymous

This post is going back to the journal. Today we are traveling back in time to April 17, 2003...

Thank You for Your faithfulness. I love You Lord and I love my husband. Thank You for the assurance that me and Patrick were meant to be together. Thank You Father for humbling me and opening my eyes to the fact that I was neglecting my family in Your name. In trying to grow closer to You and being a light to the world, I was starting to keep my family, especially Patrick, in the dark. And my family is where Your light in me should shine the brightest. Thank You Father for Your discipline. I love You Lord.
In Jesus Name,

Oh how I wish I could say that on April 17th, 2003 I conquered this struggle, but I can't. It is a constant battle for me. Just this week we attended our Shelby's basketball team meeting and the coach asked for volunteers to help assistants coach and keep book, automatically my hand is compelled to go up and I look at my husband and I know that even though I was an all-county player, even though I love coaching, even though I hate sitting on the sidelines for anything, even though I want to make the memories with my girls as "coach" I physically just cannot do this and most importantly God did not call me to do it.

As soon as we got in the truck to leave my girls were going but "Momma why didn't you coach?" And my husband looks at me and says something like, "I saw you, I saw that hand trying to go up at the word "volunteer", somebody says something about volunteering and automatically you think you have to be the one to do it." 

It's the truth. I am a hands on person. I never liked sitting the bench. I never want to just sit on the sidelines. I want to get my hands dirty. I want to be involved. I jump in either headfirst or with both feet, rarely do I cautiously test the waters with a little toe or contemplate the pros and cons. All I can see around me are the things that need done and the things I could help with and sometimes I forget to check with God and my husband first before I say "YES!"     

I used to honestly believe that if an opportunity presented itself it was because God had sent it and I was just to accept it and rejoice. I just wanted to serve Him and be used by Him to do anything! I never wanted to say no to God ever again and I did not ever want to live for myself again, only Him, to do His will, not mine.

I have come to realize that I am addicted to the validation that comes from serving. As a stay-at-home mom and housewife I do not receive awards or promotions. Rarely does anyone walk by and peek in and say,

"Mrs Vaughn, you did a wonderful job folding that laundry and getting that bathroom scrubbed to perfection. I think we will give you a raise"
"Mrs Vaughn, you handled yourself so well today as you managed to balance that budget and meet all our monthly commitments and still manage to pull in a profit to stick in the savings for future investments, how about a promotion and a raise!" 
"Mrs Vaughn I understand that you've been on call 24/7 for the last 7 days as you nursed this child through this illness I think it's time for some paid vacation"

And I suppose my worst frustration is the fact that the job is never really accomplished. The dishes will never all be done, the laundry will never all be clean, the bills will never all be paid... the sense of accomplishment comes in spurts and never lasts long because it's not like you ever get to close the book on a task and stamp it with done. You are continuously cleaning up the same messes. And it seems no one appreciates the mess you clean up because within an hour all your hard-work is destroyed as though you never even did it.

But the truth is, I wouldn't change it for the world. Not the frustrations, not the lack of awards and recognition, not the lack of a paycheck, because I do what I do because I love my God and I love my family. One mother's day card, one hug, one thank you, one I love... makes it all worth it.

So as for the volunteering. I am going to serve. I have been called to serve. I am a missionary for Christ. I love ministry. I love helping others. I am called to ministry just as every believer is called to ministry. But I have learned that I cannot be all things to all people all the time. I cannot be a part of everything, no matter how much my heart longs to just get involved. It took me a while to understand the difference between serving God and doing church. Church is not something I do, it is who I am. If my marriage and children are missing the best of me under the guise of serving God, then something is off. I am overextended and am doing something that God did not call me to do.

Please know that I am far from victorious in this area of my life. I can even justify myself in my addiction by blaming my husband for not being understanding or too demanding or blaming my children for not respecting "my time", yet this is what an addict does isn't it?

Signs of volunteer addiction (adapted from signs of drug addiction)

1. Usage Increase - Over time, it is common for individuals addicted to volunteering to grow tolerant to the effects of normal volunteering. If someone you know seems to be increasing his/her volunteer time past the normal healthy allotted time within a 24 hr period, this is an indication that the are suffering from volunteer addiction
2. Change in Personality - Changes in a person's normal behavior can be a sign of dependency. Shifts in energy, mood, and concentration may occur as every day responsibilities become secondary to the need for the validation that comes with volunteering.
3. Social Withdrawal - A person experiencing a dependency problem may withdraw from family, friends and choose the volunteer opportunity over quality time with spouse and children.
4. Ongoing Use - Continued usage after a volunteer opportunity has been accomplished will result in the person needing extensions on his/her time of service. The person might talk of how they are "still feeling needed" and need just a little longer on the task in order to get it done right. He or she might also complain frequently about those who refused to encourage and support them in their volunteering for one reason or another.
5. Time Spent on Volunteering - A dependant person will spend large amounts of time driving great distances and visiting multiple places just to volunteer. Watch for signs that he or she seems preoccupied with a quest for volunteer opportunities, demonstrating that the desire to volunteer has become their top priority.
6. Change in Daily Habits and Appearance - Personal hygiene may diminish as a result of a volunteer addiction. Sleeping and eating habits change, and a person may have a constant twitches and red, glazed eyes.
7. Neglects Responsibilities - A volunteer addict may neglect household chores and bills.
8. Increased Sensitivity - Normal sights, sounds and emotions might become overly stimulating to the person, they will become easily irritated and frustrated.
9. Blackouts and Forgetfulness - Another clear indication of volunteer addiction is when the person regularly forgets events that have taken place and appears to be suffering blackouts.
10. Defensiveness - When attempting to hide a volunteer addiction, abusers can become very defensive if they feel their secret is being discovered. They might even react to simple requests or questions by lashing out.


Hello, my name is Nicole. I am a Christian, a housewife, and a homeschool mom, and I am a volunteer addict. So below I have taken the 12 step program and adapted it for my addiction. May it be of help to fellow volunteer addicts.

1. We admitted we were powerless over volunteering—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and sought to discover our own Spirit willed and God desired spiritual gift and limit our area of ministry to the one in which the Lord called and equipped us.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs committed when we were stressed due to overextending ourselves.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character and all things in our lives we said yes to when He said no.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings and grow us in His grace and the knowledge of His will for our lives.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong in taking on a volunteer opportunity, promptly admit it, and gracefully decline.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other volunteers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Honor Follows Honor

I want to share an excerpt from The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer:

Sometimes the best way to see a thing is to look at its opposite. Eli and his sons are placed in the priesthood with the stipulation that they honor God in their lives and ministrations. This they fail to do, and God sends Samuel to announce the consequences. Unknown to Eli this law of reciprocal honor has been all the while secretly working, and now the time has come for judgment to fall. Hophni and Phineas , the degenerate priest, fall in battle; the wife of Hophni dies in childbirth; Israel flees before her enemies; the ark of God is captured by the Philistines, and the old man Eli falls backward and dies of a broken neck. This stark, utter tragedy followed upon Eli's failure to honor God.
Now over against this set almost any Biblical character who honestly tried to glorify God in his earthly walk. See how God winked at weakness and overlooked failures as He poured upon His servants grace and blessings untold. Let it be Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel, Elijah or whom you will; honor followed honor as harvest followed seed. The man of God set his heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made the difference.

Have you ever wondered how God could possibly still accept you and love you and keep you when you seem to constantly fail Him?
I know I have.
I look back and see how far God has brought me and I think, well you know what I'm doing all right.
Then I stand in my present, and I see how I fail miserably, and I think, I am getting nowhere, why does God even bother to put up with me.
It is these moments, these thoughts, that bring me to praise God even more because He did not hide or cover up the failures of His followers.

David was a man after God's own heart not because he was perfect, but because he truly desired to honor God. David failed miserably. David suffered greatly for his failures, but God never forsook him, because God knew David's heart was set to exalt Him. David's failures never came from him trying to set himself up as his own God, they never came from a heart that purposely disregarded the honor due his Creator. His failures came from the result of his sin diseased flesh and when his failures and sin were addressed he dealt with them according to the ways of God. He accepted his consequences and sought God's forgiveness and he moved forward in grace.

When we try to honestly glorify God in our earthly walk the way those recorded in Scripture did, then God will honor us just as He honored them. He will look over failures and wink at our weaknesses because He knows that as we seek to glorify Him and continue to grow in Him, He will be the strength in our weaknesses and He will give us success in spite of our failures. He simply says-- come and follow Me, don't run from Me in your failures and don't try to hide your weaknesses, come to my throne of grace and I will be your help...

  Therefore, since we have a great high priest
who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold fast our confession. 
For we do not have a high priest
who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things as we are,
yet without sin. 
Therefore let us draw near with confidence
to the throne of grace,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help in time of need. 
 Hebrews 4:14-16

So the question never is- are you perfect?
But the question is- do you live your life to honor God? 
Because honor will follow honor.

However, on the opposite end, don't think for one minute that any of us will claim to carry the name of God and hold a position of service or ministry in His name and yet fail to honor Him with and in our daily walk and think that just because we are getting away with it thus far that judgment will not come... as we saw with the family and ministry of Eli (1 Samuel 3-4) the law of reciprocal honor is always secretly at work. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Remaining Teachable

I just checked my Chuck Swindoll daily devotion and it's one that I must share in its entirety not just randomly quoted.
So here it is:

Esther sustained a continually teachable spirit. "Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make them known . . . Esther had not yet made known her kindred or her people, even as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther did what Mordecai told her as she had done when under his care" (Esther 2:10, 20).
Even becoming a finalist in this frenzied competition, or later, becoming queen, didn't cause Esther to flaunt her independence and strut her stuff. Not this lady! This lovely, dignified, wise woman was still willing to listen and learn.
She remains a sterling example for women today. Some of you are wonderfully gifted teachers. You have the ability to stand before a group and to open the Scriptures or some other area of expertise and hold an audience in rapt attention with your insight and creativity. Others of you have distinguished yourself in public service. You have played prestigious roles and offices in the community. You may be well-traveled and rather confidently move in exclusive circles with powerful men and women whom you know on a first-name basis. There is nothing wrong with any of that. But let me ask, has that changed your teachability? Do you now see yourself as the consummate authority? Or has it simply made you aware of how vast your ignorance really is? I hope it is the latter.
Someone has said, "Education is going from an unconscious to conscious awareness of one's ignorance." I agree. No one has a corner on wisdom. All the name-dropping in the world doesn't heighten the significance of your character. If anything, it reduces it. Our acute need is to cultivate a willingness to learn and to remain teachable. Learning from your children. Learning from your friends. Learning even from our enemies. How beautiful it is to find a servant-hearted, teachable spirit among those who occupy high-profile positions of authority.
Are you, like Esther, still willing to listen and learn?

Yeh, so I read, "let me ask, has that changed your teachability? Do you now see yourself as the consummate authority? Or has it simply made you aware of how vast your ignorance really is?", and I had to stop and think...
Yeh I am at the point that I have come to realize that I am vastly ignorant, that is why I am constantly digging in God's Word and researching and seeking and asking, because I have learned that as soon as I think I've got something all figured out, God throws me for a loop. He'll send me a curve ball flying by so quick that it knocks me on my rear end in a split second. If I ever begin to get too big for my britches He reminds me right fast that I still have a lot of growing to do and a lot of learning to do.

This is one of the scariest things about teaching. I have to teach on the knowledge that I have at that point. I teach according to the measure of faith and grace given me one day at a time, and I have to trust that God will take my efforts and use them for the building up of those I teach and I pray that they never look at me as the final authority on any interpretation of the Scripture, for the only final authority is God. There is a big difference between my opinion on a matter and the correct interpretation of Scripture.

 But know this first of all,
that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 
for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will,
but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 
2 Peter 1:20-21

As I am growing in grace, I have learned that I can learn from any person, in any situation, at any time, when I am willing to submit to God and seek Him in all things.

Every moment is an opportunity to learn and grow in Him, even those moments of enemy attacks, sometimes especially in those moments of enemy attacks. I can learn how to discern an evil spirit, a false teacher, a fake friend, or a wrong way. I can learn how to forgive, how to give grace, how to extend mercy, and how to trust in God to repay.

When I remain teachable, I remain humble, when I remain humble, I remain under the mighty hand of God, and that's where I want to be, under Him.
I am a disciple of Christ, a learner of the Lord, a professional student of the Prince of Peace. My heart and my mind must remain open to Him and His potters hands. 

Therefore humble yourselves
under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you at the proper time.
1 Peter 5:6

You see I have learned that I only know in part. I know more than I did yesterday, but not as much as I'll know tomorrow... Lord willing. Then in eternity, and not until eternity, I will fully know! Wow, every question answered!

You know there really is absolutely nothing more annoying than someone who will not listen and refuses to learn anything new or different than what they already know. They are stubborn, hard-headed, hard-hearted, and make you won't to smack them across the back of the head. That is not who I want to be before God or anyone else.

Sometimes I don't like the way God chooses to teach me. Sometimes He allows me to be embarrassed. Sometimes He allows me to be angered. Sometimes He allows me to be hurt. Sometimes He allows me to be surprised. Sometimes He allows me to be shocked.

But He whispers "See what I have been trying to tell you... I couldn't get you to listen before, but now I have your attention... listen and learn... and know that I love you..."

Praying For Our Children's Marriage and Purity

It's been a while since I stepped back in time with you to share from my journals, so I believe for at least the next few days I will be doing that... God has stirred the journals up within me and brought it to my remembrance so I think I just might ought to obey.

Today we are stepping back in time to December 30, 2002. At this point I had been on fire for my God for a whole year!
This journal entry is only one of many written prayers over my children and nieces and nephews and one of countless spoken prayers over them.

I just lift Shelby and Ashleigh and Emoni and Alex up to You Lord.
I just ask that You be preparing them all a spouse Lord.
A spouse who walks in Your ways and lives by Your commands.
I ask that You prepare Shelby, Ashleigh, Emoni, and Alex for these spouses.
I pray that they will have the strength and heart and fear and love for You Lord that they will wait for the spouses You have prepared for them.
I pray for Shelby, Emoni, and Alex's salvation.
I pray that Ashleigh will keep her eyes fixed on You!
I pray that they will all seek Your face and seek to know You intimately!
I pray Your hand of protection over them!
Keep them safe and surrounded by godly people who truly love You and them!
I pray that they will serve You with their lives and that they will be mighty witnesses for Your kingdom!
In Jesus name,

(Yes, I pray in exclamation points. I don't know why. I just always have since I began writing down my prayers )

It is never too soon to begin praying for our children's marriages. At the time of this journal entry my Shelby was only a year and a half and my Ashleigh was eleven. My niece Emoni was five and my nephew Alex was two and a half. My list of marital and purity prayers has grown tremendously since this day in 2003. My Bekah has been added and many more nieces and nephews and cousins and children (and yes even my college and young singles) who are mine in the Lord, because once I have met you and taught you I claim you as my prayer priority especially in the area of marriage and purity. It is the area that I struggled with and failed at greatly and the scars are many, so these scars that I carry remind me often to intercede on behalf of others in this area. 

Our children and loved ones may stumble in this area, but it doesn't mean we stop praying. Grace and forgiveness and a new beginning is always available in Christ. He will help them bear His indignation while He restores them and stands them up on their feet again. I know this is true because He did it with me and there is no partiality with God.

 For the LORD your God is the God of gods
and the Lord of lords,
the great, the mighty, and the awesome God
who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.
Deuteronomy 10:17

For there is no partiality with God
Romans 2:11

Scripture just can't get more clearer than that :-)

As parents we must not just pray for our children, but we must set clear standards and boundaries to protect our children's sexual purity and future marriages. No we cannot stick them in a closet when they reach puberty and guard it with our semi-automatic and keep them there until we handpick their spouse and then take them from the closet bound and gagged and blindfolded until we get to the church to remove the gag right at the time for them to say "I do" at the altar, although we can dream...

But we can protect them and their innocence and guard their eyes and hearts. It is our job as parents to set the boundaries. I cringe when I hear of parents picking up their twelve year olds and dropping them off at the movies with a girlfriend/boyfriend. This is absolutely the worst time to leave your child in the dark alone with their hormones and a person of the opposite sex that puts butterflies in their stomach.

 We have a little sister,
And she has no breasts;
What shall we do for our sister
On the day when she is spoken for?
“If she is a wall,
We will build on her a battlement of silver;
But if she is a door,
We will barricade her with planks of cedar.”
Song of Solomon 8:8-9

We also cannot leave our children unaware. If they hear the whole truth from us, then we can squash the lies that come with curiosity and learning about the birds and bees from peers. If you are wondering how to approach the topic of sex with your children, just simply begin a family study in the book of Genesis. 

When I began this study with my Shelby we didn't make it past the second chapter before the birds and bees were addressed.

 For this reason
a man shall leave his father and his mother,
and be joined to his wife;
and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

My Shelby read Genesis 2:24 and said "Momma, I understand the one part, but what's the flesh?"
Open door...

Having baby nephews around that my little one had seen have diaper changes and given baths made it very easy and simple to explain how God made the boy and girl parts to come together as one flesh. There was no graphic detail needed, no fancy explanations, just the simple facts settled her curiosity and my honesty and openness let her know that she was free to come to me with any question she had about this issue or really any issue.

As we share the truth and set up boundaries and teach our children what God says about this beautiful thing called sex that was meant for the confines of marriage, if or when, our children fall prey to the lies of the enemy and the world, they will know it. They will have truth for the Holy Spirit to pull out and convict their hearts so that they might turn from the lie and take back hold of the truth.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Always Watching

"Is it a fast like this which I choose,
a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
"Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
(Isaiah 58:5-9)

We can't hide ourselves from our own flesh and expect to draw near to God. We have to come before Him in honesty and truth, trusting in His forgiveness and everlasting lovingkindness...

He already knows it all anyway.

For us to hide is showing that we really do not believe that He is omnipresent and omniscient thus we are denying who He is and trying to convince ourselves that we can pull one over on God.
Hmmmm yeh, like that's gonna happen!
We become just like the child with chocolate all over their face that says, "No, Mommy I not get cake!"

Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD,
and whose deeds are done in a dark place,
and they say, 'Who sees us?'
or 'Who knows us?'
Isaiah 29:15

In Genesis 16:13 we are introduced to a name of God. The name is El Roi, and it means God sees (you can read a little bit more of my thoughts on this particular name of God at my through the Bible blog ).

Our God sees. He is a God who sees. He doesn't miss a thing. We cannot hide from Him.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 139:7-12

There just in no darkness dark enough to hide from God in. Jonah tried to run and hide in the belly of ship and then God stuck him in the belly of a fish and sent him to the darkest depths of the sea and let him know that, yep, He could still see him. There is no where to flee from His presence. He is always watching us.

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD,
And He watches all his paths.
Proverbs 5:21

The thought of someone always watching us can creep us out. I have this weird thing that before I use the bathroom I check behind the shower curtain. I don't know why. I just do. I have a disturbing feeling that I am going to use the bathroom and then find out someone was in there with me and I didn't know it. So if there is a shower curtain or closet door in the bathroom at your house and I come and visit and I have to go, yes I am pulling it back and opening the door, but don't worry I will never tell anyone about the soap scum in the tub and all the naked barbie dolls and molded squeaky toys or multiple wadded up washrags. Nor will I reveal the mismatched sloppily folded towels full of holes or the why in the worlds is that in the bathroom stuff (PS I am just describing my own bathroom, lol). I promise I won't. I just want to potty in peace and I can't until I take a peek before I pee.

Knowing that God is always watching us should bring us comfort. It truly does me. In many ways. It keeps me from making choices that I might have made if I thought I could have hid it and it also helps me from reacting wrongly in a situation because I can calm myself by knowing that God saw what happened and He will deal with it.

There really is no reason for us not to be completely open and honest with God. Every time I think of the verse in Isaiah 58 about not hiding ourselves from our own flesh I think of a Chris Rock stand up I watched once long ago (no I was not always a Christian). In the stand up, he was sharing about getting caught cheating on his wife and his wife comes to him and keeps saying "I know you did it, just admit it!" So when I think of trying to hide my sin from God I hear Chris Rock speaking for his wife "I know you did it, just admit it!"

And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are open
and laid bare
to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Hebrews 4:13

He knows you did it, just admit it!
Yes God is always watching you, but not in a psycho stalker kind of way, but in the I'll never leave you or forsake you kind of way :-)

 ...for He Himself has said,
Hebrews 13:5