by Sue Donaldson

(adjective & adverb)
(of a person) having one’s true identity concealed.

It’s difficult to disappear if you’re in the role of leader, writer or speaker. But it’s not the role that gets you and I into trouble. I am learning that the posture of my heart is what God is interested in.

I chose Incognito as my word of the year. I wrote about The Hidden Life – 31 Days to Disappear  last October, gearing up for hiding away in new ways this year.  I intentionally focused on Colossians 3:3 : “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (NLT)

If I get lost while driving somewhere, I get on Google Maps, find my location and destination, and head to wherever I need to go. For believers, this position of hiddenness is our main location—our real life. I’m in Jesus. I’m invited to hide there, and am safe from God’s judgment, safe from Satan’s conquest, safe to know and love God better.

To live incognito and to live from my hiddenness means I am learning to die to self. Paul said it: For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. Philippians 1:21 (NLT)

I don’t always feel like “dying is even better.” It can be a painful process. When asked recently to bring a contribution of food to a friend’s celebration, I resisted at first. I was tired. I’d already given a lot. No one would blame me if I said “no.” But then I remembered my real life is incognito. I tucked myself deeper into Jesus and made a double batch.

Gynn Evans wrote: “We don’t just die once, it’s a daily thing.” That reality is a comfort to me. I am learning what this means in a safe place as I am living incognito with God.

Here are seven specific ways I’m integrating a life of hiddenness this year:

  1. I’m practicing surrendering myself to God every morning. I greet Him before my feet hit the ground: “Good morning, Lord, help Yourself, I’m Yours”.
  2. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to prick my conscience when I’m prone to say something that promotes myself over another.
  3. I’m asking for God’s help to teach me to stop interrupting people, because I recognize that it is often my pride that leads me to do this. I think what I have to say is more important than what they’re saying to me.
  4. I’m disciplining myself to replace worrying with praise and thanksgiving. My worry habit is rooted in pride, too – the underlying belief behind this worry is that God can’t care for who and what I care for the way I do. Wrong!
  5. I’m practicing regular repentance as part of my daily routine — repenting of known and the unknown sins that grieve my Heavenly Father
  6. I’m embracing God’s forgiveness as it is given: lavish, abundant, sacrificial. When I hold onto guilt and shame, it makes light work of the Cross. I have no right to do that.
  7. I’m cultivating a discipline of listening to my Savior. I want to lean in as if to say, “Is that You, Lord? If so, help me obey.”

An added bonus from leaning into hiddenness is that I’m more aware of who else may need an invitation to Jesus. I may feel inadequate to invite, but that doesn’t matter since He’s the main event, not my imperfect welcome.

As I write these words, I’m expecting a family of five to arrive any moment. I am hidden in Christ in God, and I’m praying that they see Jesus, not me.

Sue Donaldson and her husband, Mark, live in San Luis Obispo, California. They have raised 3 semi-adult daughters who keep them at the bank and on their knees. Sue blogs at and has been speaking for women’s retreats and conferences for the over 20 years with long pauses for babies, diapers and soccer pasta parties – her speaking topics can be found here. Follow Sue on instagram:  – and join her  hospitality-themed FB group: Welcome Heart, Welcome Home (for Heaven’s Sake!)

Cover photo by Kyle Sudu on Unsplash