Remember when you were a kid and you made a secret hideout? Maybe you discovered a covert perch in the canopy of a tree, or an enclosed space in a thicket of bushes. Perhaps you created a secret place by hanging a blanket over a bunk bed, or arranging boxes in the attic so they formed a secluded niche. Take a moment to remember one of your secret places and recall its details. Put your senses there and recall what you see, hear, touch, smell and taste in that space. Who or what did you have with you there? What did you do there? What did you think about?
Themes common to most childhood secret places include a sense of secrecy, being hidden, safety, protection, adventure and mystery. Do you have a space that offers these qualities now?
Jesus demonstrated a practice of secrecy, often telling disciples not to speak of the miracles he performed (Mark 1:44, 9:9, Luke 8:56). He admired the widow who quietly gave all she had to the collection jar. He counseled us to give and do good deeds in a manner that wouldn't have the right hand know what the left hand was doing. And he said that when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
Secrecy, and secret space in particular, matter to God. The tabernacle is described as having three types of spaces:
1. Public Space: The Court , where the tribes of Israel gathered to worship God
2. Private Space: The Holy Place , where just the priests performed daily rituals
3. Intimate Space: The Holy of Holies , where the high priest entered into the presence of God alone
This says something of boundaries. We need all three types of spaces in our lives but often we lack intimate spaces where we can quiet our minds and reconnect with God. It is a space that, like your childhood secret place, allows you to be your true self and connects you to something larger than yourself. It is the place where you send and receive secret correspondence with God.
This need may be served by a prayer room or chapel in your home, an area of a room like a window seat or breakfast nook, a corner of a closet, or even something temporary and portable like a journal or binder. In any case, secrecy may be practiced by giving loving attention to God in a secret place.
If you already have such a place set apart then this week you might consider updating the images you have there or including another sacred object, or simplifying the space to one sacred object for a season.
Other ways to practice secrecy include:
1. Be a Secret Pal and secretly leave a gift or an affirming note for someone
2. Anonymous acts of service
3. Not saying all you know ¦Love does cover a multitude of sins
4. Celebrating the success or accomplishment of another without mentioning your own successes or failures to shift focus to you
5. Keep the confidences and secrets others share with you
When you practice secrecy as a spiritual discipline it transforms you into a safe place for others to share their secrets, and it creates sacred space for you to make a Divine Connection.