Back to the Garden
The other day some ladies and I were reflecting on what it would be like to go “back to the garden,” meaning, being in the Garden of Eden with no clothes and no shame (Gen. 2:25). I realized that much of what we do every day consists of hiding in these two areas.
First, the area of our bodies. How much time and effort goes into us adorning ourselves, especially us women. Our fashions change with the seasons or event. We can never have too many accessories, be it scarves, jewelry, shoes, purses. And then there are the actual clothes — an endless assemblage of color coordinated items — most of which are designed to hide our negative physical features and accent our positive ones.
Now the second area, the shame area. I can’t say I know many people who are eagerly waiting
to reveal all their failures and faults to the world. By the nature of our particular ministry, we do get involved in exposing our shortcomings, howbeit in a safe environment. But our natural born instinct is to keep those shameful characteristics and experiences we’ve been through hidden.
The Bite of The Apple
When we look back to the Garden, Adam and Eve truly were naked and not afraid. They knew that God knew everything about them, inside and out, yet they enjoyed being in the presence of their loving Father. There was no point in hiding — no reason whatsoever — until the bite of the apple.
Once that bite was taken, that was it. Fear came in. They were on their own, “like God,” and now had to protect themselves, provide for themselves, and promote themselves. And who doesn’t fear when all of that’s on our shoulders? No longer did they see God as the One Who would take care of them. Their eyes were opened to see their true nakedness and frailty — the exposure of having to do things their own way, without the help from God. It felt so vulnerable they made fig leaves for clothes and ran to hide. Shame entered in. (Gen.3)
But there is no shame in admitting we need God or that we even have the need for Him. When we do so, we give ourselves permission to open up further to see our sins, weaknesses, and faults. Just the other day Robert said something to me in a gentle, yet confronting way (he’s good about that) about something I was doing. Because it was confrontational and exposing, my first reaction was to hide. I started to defend myself, usually my second reaction, but instead I paused and heard the Lord say, “face this.” So I did. We talked and I saw a flaw in my life I need to work on. Then it was over. Done. No hiding. No shame. Naked and not afraid. (Well, maybe a little as I am still in the process.)
So thankfully we don’t have to go around naked just to show we trust God. And we also don’t have to go around hiding our past failures or sins. We are all being changed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18), and as we cooperate with Him and allow ourselves to be exposed and vulnerable, the process increases. There’s no need to hide from anything when we truly understand how loving and forgiving Father God is.