Read an Excerpt
In my years of counseling hurting people, I've seen all too often that we tend to hide from the very relationships and truths we need to flourish. Why do we do this? And how can we stop? Those are the questions that this guide gives you the opportunity to discuss, pray about, and practice.
Other than reading the designated material before your discussion session, you don't need to prepare anything in advance. Each session does, however, include some ideas for taking home what you've learned and putting it into practice.
Leading a Discussion Group
Here are a few guidelines for leaders of discussion sessions:
At the first meeting, take time to get to know one another. By way of introduction, have each person give their name, describe what they do, and share what they would do if they were given four hours of free time. Before moving into the discussion time, welcome the members, tell why you are interested in the material and excited about the group, clarify any housekeeping details, and set forth basic guidelines regarding starting time, ending time, keeping what is shared confidential, feeling free to be quiet, and limiting contributions so others can participate.
Make the group safe. At your first meeting---and occasionally thereafter---remind people that everything shared is strictly confidential and that no one will ever be forced to answer a question aloud.
Monitor the discussion. Be sensitive to the quiet people who want to speak as well as to those louder ones who want to talk the entire time. Often sitting across from quieter people encourages them to speak and sitting next to the talkative ones can limit their contributions. Also remind people that you have a limited time together and to be courteous of fellow members by allowing everyone the opportunity to participate.
Set a tone of acceptance. People respond in different ways to the sensitive issues addressed in Hiding from Love. Model for the group complete acceptance of whatever emotions arise.
Close your group time with prayer. Don't forget to pray for the specific issues that arise during your discussion.
Pray for your group during the week. Pray for each individual and pray for the time that you will be meeting together. Ask God to bless the time with his healing presence.
Leading a Thirteen-Week Study
The questions for seventeen chapters can be adapted to a thirteen-week curriculum by pairing up chapters 4 and 5, 6 and 7, and 8 and 9, and omitting group discussion of chapter 12 (do assign the questions for individuals to work on alone or perhaps with another member of the group).
After clearly defining the developmental need addressed in each of the four chapters (4 through 7), use the following questions in your discussion of chapters 4 and 5 and then of chapters 6 and 7:
1. Explain how you can tell whether either of these two needs is injured in you personally.
2. How do you think that part of you became injured?
3. What have you done to hide from or protect that part of you?
4. What do you think it will take for that part of you to be restored to health? What is God's role? What is your role? (Refer specifically to suggested skills where they're provided.) What is the role of God's people?
5. In the closing prayer, tell God where you feel you are injured. Ask him to heal you and to enable you to take the steps you need to take to stop hiding.
For your single-session discussion of helpful hiding (chapters 8--9), focus on the first three questions from chapter 8 and the second and third questions from chapter 9. In closing, combine appropriate elements of the two prayers.
Chapter One: Jenny's Story
1. When you read Jenny's story, were you reminded of anyone you know? What about that person---words, behaviors, mannerisms---gives you the sense that he or she is hiding from love?
2. When you read Jenny's story, which of her experiences, feelings, and thoughts could you identify with?
3. What hurtful experience led you into hiding? What places, behaviors, and habits have become your haven? What rules have you developed to give yourself a sense of control over your life? What changes in your perspective on the past and in your emotions have you noticed since going into hiding?
4. Write a brief letter to your own child just as Jenny spoke to 'Little Jenny.' In it, acknowledge your child's fears and their roots, the hiding places he or she has gone to, and the time, effort, and risk involved in learning to trust again. If you are able to at this point, offer your child words of hope and encouragement and the hand of an older, safe person (an 'Officer Josef') to hold.
5. Spend a few minutes talking to God about how you, like Jenny, are hiding. This may be difficult if you are hiding from God. If that's the case, be honest about your struggle to pray and about how distant he feels. Ask God to be with you as you continue this study and to enable you to come out from hiding.