8.29.2011

Who told you...


My inbox is full.

A quick glance through the subject lines will reveal that Old Navy is having a sale, you can fly from Phoenix to Boston for $188, my kid is missing a math assignment, aaaand.... oh, the world is full of broken people with terrible secrets who are longing for absolution and acceptance.

Somehow my inbox has become the bearer of the world's guilty conscience, a virtual confessional for people who need to get some pretty heavy junk off their chest. I'm humbled by these letters; incredibly honored (if not terribly ill-equipped) to be the recipient of so many sad, beautiful, personal stories. And I will gladly take on this role, the catcher of broken hearts and cradler of spilled guts, if it means giving someone a chance to let go of the shame that's been eating them alive, or keeping them up at night, or making them stress-eat an entire pan of fudgy-super-chocolate-chunk-brownies with half a jar of peanut butter...

The thing that haunts me about my inbox is the sheer volume of people who are aching to know if they're still worthy of love. There are so many people drowning in shame because they're certain they'll lose everything if anyone ever finds out how messed up they are.  It saddens me that there are way too many people who willingly and mistakenly place their worth in the cruel hands of men, when it is God who created them and knows their value.

Sometimes people ask me how I do it, how I lay all my crap out there for the whole world to see, open to  judgement and ridicule. They ask me where I've found the freedom to be myself no matter who's watching. They wonder how I “get away with it”, as if I'm breaking some unspoken law of Christian living that says “Above all, never stop pretending to be perfect.”

My answer is always the same: 
I can be "authentic" or "transparent", or whatever, because I don't give a hot shit what you think of me.

That is to say, I have a very deep sense of where my value really lies. It just isn't that big a deal to me if a few judgmental a-holes deem me "broken" or "unworthy". Think about it - to be found wanting by other people, who in reality are every bit as broken and unworthy as I am, is just... stupid.

I love the story of Adam and Eve, in Genesis. It always gives me pause when I get to the part where it says they were 'naked and unashamed'. Mmhmm, bare-assed and unashamed at the core of our creation. It's not until later that we get all mortified to see that our junk is showing. It's not until after the fall of man that we start hiding in the shrubs and fashioning leaves into underpants. That's where God finds us, shivering in our fig and ivy blend bloomers, and He asks, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Seriously. Who told you to be ashamed?

With everything that's in me, I want my life to be a fulfillment of the person God Created me to be. I understand that because of my brokenness I don't get to spend my days waltzing through Eden. But, in the story of Adam and Eve, I can hear Him whispering my name, saying,

 “Baby Girl, you weren't created to hide in the bushes, you were made to live in the garden... Be who you are. I love you that way.”



I found freedom when I stopped wasting time and energy hiding my junk behind a layer of superficial shrubbery. I'm confident in my messiness because I realize that Jesus doesn't bind me to my shame, He releases me from it...

…. …. ….

It's time to step out from behind the bushes. Who told you to hide your junk, anyway?