Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On Shame and Hiding and Such

The other day I was reading in Genesis...

(Side note: I LOVE how the Holy Spirit comes along and just pops new things out of scripture for us. One day a certain scripture might flow together with the rest around it, and the next day *BAM* it jumps out and has this uncovered new meaning!
And the great thing? These new revelations will never end. There's always something to discover!)

...and something jumped out at me like it never had before.

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings."
Genesis 3:7

Immediately after Adam & Eve sinned, the Bible says their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked.
Of course they were naked! All of the creatures God had made were naked!
There were no clothes for the horses or the lions or the whales.
They were all beautiful in the exact state they had been created.

But then it says Adam & Eve made loin coverings for themselves.
Who were they covering themselves up from? The horses and lions and whales?
There weren't any other humans on the face of the earth yet, so...

There are only two possibilities:
1.) God
2.) Each other

Now, think about this with me for a moment. They were:
1.) Hiding their nakedness from the One who had created their very bodies...
from the One who created their very nakedness.
Did they suddenly think, "Oh, NO! I don't want God to see me naked!" How silly is that? He MADE them! He made them NAKED! He already knew every crack and crevice and cranny... because HE MADE THEM!!!
2.) Hiding their nakedness from each other. A husband hiding his nakedness from his wife. A wife hiding her nakedness from her husband. They were made to be naked... TOGETHER!!! Dear, goodness. The only person you should be completely at ease with your nakedness in front of should be your spouse
And, yet, they hid. 
From each other and from the One who created them.
There weren't any other humans on the planet. There was no one else to hide from!

But, in their sin, their eyes were opened. They knew they were naked.
And out of their shame, they hid.

We do this. Do you see it? We do this all the time!
We sin. We go against what we know is God's plan for us.
Then, out of our shame, we hide.
We hide from God, the very One who created us and knows us inside and out!
He desires us to bare our souls to Him, yet in our shame we hold back. We hide.

We hide from the ones we love most.
We do something we know we shouldn't, but we do it anyway.
Then the shame comes, and we feel so... so... naked.
So we hide.

We see this over and over in marriages. We watch them disintegrate because one spouse hides from the other. Or both hide.
They're ashamed because of decisions, choices. They feel "exposed" or "vulnerable."
The hiding can be both figurative and literal.
It often translates into keeping emotions hidden, stuffing them down. That results in bitterness and resentment. And the one hiding turns it on the other spouse in such a way that they wind up blaming. Even though they're the one hiding, it somehow becomes the other spouse's fault.
But it also is literal, where intimacy is lost. The physical love that used to be such a fun, foundational marriage component becomes a chore.
One spouse will no longer allow themselves to be seen by the other spouse. Everything is done in the dark, kept hidden... or not done at all.
Again, bitterness and resentment rise.

Now, this isn't meant to be some "Let's all be naked all the time!" monologue.  =^)
It's simply meant to point out that when we're carrying shame, it causes us to hide from the very ones we're supposed to be the most intimate with: God and our spouse.

That's why God calls to us to bring our shame to Him; to take responsibility and confess and accept forgiveness.
Shame that is kept in the dark eats us up. It consumes us. It results in bitterness and resentment, and causes us to push away from the ones we're closest to.
Any wrong financial decision.
Any wandering eye.
Any harmful words spoken.
Any negative attitudes.
Any indulgences we know we shouldn't be taking, but we do anyway.
We make excuses to ourselves for why it's kept in the dark, and we become Gollum-esque, hiding it, stroking it... "My precious."

Okay, maybe that's a bit overboard. But, it's true! Our shame turns into something we will protect at all costs... and it morphs into something that we don't even realize is shame anymore.

Our intimacy is lost. With our creator. With our spouse.
With those we love most.

When shame is exposed to light, when we bring it out and confess, that's when the intimacy can be restored.
All things take time, and I'm sure Adam & Eve took a little while to trust each other again.
There are always consequences, but when we face them together with God, out of intimacy of our relationship with Him...
when we face them together with our spouse, out of intimacy of our relationship with them...
we don't have to walk under the burden of that shame anymore.
Darkness cannot stand against light.
It cannot.
And shame when exposed to God's grace must flee.

We're the ones that decide if we'll go there or not.

Again, no running out into the street naked after you're done reading this..
That's not what it's about.
But, maybe you need to have some conversations with your spouse... maybe some things need to be brought into the light so you can be rid of that feeling of needing to hide.

Maybe you need to have some conversations with God.
Right now.
Because you're not ever really hiding from Him. He knows those are all just excuses and cover-ups. He created you.
You and your nakedness.

(No, there aren't any pictures with this post.
Yes, I did that on purpose. *wink*)

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