Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: Flat Land
By Ed VanDeMark
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I spent four years of my life living on flat land. For four years I felt like Peeping Toms were
I like living in hill country. When I want to be noticed I can climb to the top of a hill and shout
“Here I am world. Notice me”. When I mess up I slip into the valley and hide in silence. When
I’m on a hill I can see what’s coming at me before it can get to me. In the valley the hills form a
natural fortress around me and I sleep in peace. Flat land makes me feel naked.
As a son of Adam I’m ashamed of my nakedness I recognize my shortcomings and my sins and I
hide them beneath a bold brag, a smile, a joke or by becoming a recluse. What I am and
what I’m not concern me and I live in fear that someone will detect the real me. Intimacy is
exposure. Fig leaves are protection. Yet I’m made by God to live in community with other sons
and daughters of Adam. In community I seek worth and that means exposing myself. Exposure
can be as brash as declaring victory with boastful words and raised fists or as gently as an arm
around the shoulders of a friend and words that open up my past failures, my hurts, my weakness
and my love. I’m a hill and valley man living in openness one moment and in privacy the next.
Flat land makes me feel naked.
For thirty-six years I lived on hills and in valleys. Thirty-six years I stood before God and
declared my independence then slipped into the valley to sin believing that He was a mere man.
Twenty-nine years ago I discovered that God can see through the undergrowth of the valley and
the brashness of mankind. Intimacy can be one way or it can be two ways. God knows me
intimately regardless of what I do or say and if I choose I can know Him intimately as well. We
can live together on flat land or I can try to live in the hills and valleys and pretend that He will
By nature I’m a hill and valley man yet I try to meet my God on level ground and say “here I am
imperfect and naked. Lord can I do something for you today?”.
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