Reflections from Uganda: “Hidden”

Kelly Hallahan, from Hand in Hand with the Hallahans, recently wrote a reflection on how we interact and share information through social media. Kelly’s goal is to focus on appreciating the beauty of hidden-ness.


The Hallahan family.

Josh and Kelly Hallahan serve as career missionaries in Kampala, Uganda. They have three children: Caleb, Seth, and Elizabeth, and are expecting their fourth this summer.

“In this age of social media it is so easy and tempting to be seen. I can post an Instagram of me and Elizabeth reading a book, or what I am chopping for dinner. I can share a funny quote from my kids. And I have total control over how I curate these moments. I can also rationalize that our family back in the states and our supporters want to be a part of our lives, albeit, virtually.

Up until this generation most of these moments were shared only by a mama and her kids- perhaps a friend who was over for a real-life playdate. And now these precious moments are broadcast all over the internet. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, or that I don’t do my share of over-sharing. But this morning, Jesus started opening my eyes to the beauty and purpose of hidden-ness.

I’ll be the first to admit that these tiny years, and life on the mission field, can be lonely {which makes the temptation to broadcast that much stronger}. My days revolve around nap-times and bed-times. And my energy for socializing is practically non-existent. And my other missionary mom friends have the same problems. And I sometimes wonder “what’s the point?” What is God doing in these hidden years?

I think I found my answer in the story of David summarized in Psalm 78:70-72 (NKJV):

“He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.”

God took David from the sheepfolds- from a hidden place of faithfulness, years of doing small things- in preparation for leading His people. Because of his hidden years and all God worked into him in those days, David had the integrity, faithfulness, and skills required in his next assignment.

You don’t learn integrity in the spotlight. The spotlight only reveals integrity. Integrity is birthed in hidden faithfulness when no one is watching. Integrity is when your words, and actions line up, when people can count on you to do what you say you will do, and when you keep at it even when no one notices. Skillfulness is gained by habitual practice, repetition, dailiness, hard work and discipline.

David knew that being a shepherd is lonely business; there was no one around but sheep and God. And that was enough.

And so God is teaching me that the beauty of hidden-ness is the intimacy I can cultivate with Him and my flock in this season. And the purpose of hidden-ness is to produce in my character the things that are lacking. I’m sure there will still be pictures on Instagram {don’t worry, mom!}, but behind the scenes I’ll be pursuing my Audience of One.”

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