You’re not naked.

Things come together.  They just do.  Yesterday morning, catching up on my feed reader, I was happy to see that one of my favorite blogs had posted #512: Thinking You’re Naked.  Oh, good title, I thought.  Then I read it (go ahead, you read it, then come back.  I’ll wait.)

And was thrown to the floor.  I needed to hear it, shared it with friends, found that they, too, desperately needed those words.  Who told you you’re naked?  So the day before, writing about sin and suffering for my Julian of Norwich class, I had read this passage from her Showings, “I saw that [God] is everything which is good and comforting for our help. He is our clothing, who wraps and enfolds us for love, embraces us and shelters us, surrounds us for his love, which is so tender that he may never desert us.”  Who told you that you’re naked?  Who?

The last year or so has been one of learning about sin.  I’ve always been pretty good, as we all are perhaps, at noticing other people’s sin.  By sin, I mean the ways in which they are *obviously* not in alignment with who I think God wants them to be… right? Nah.  More likely, with who I think I want them to be.  But, writing this paper, exploring, diving, drowning in Julian’s words of comfort and courageous challenge, I came to some understanding of what I’ve struggled with this year.  A heart-knowledge, not a head one.  For the first time, I felt like I was really worth something despite my faults, my errors, my intentional mistakes and unintentional hurts.  My sins against myself and the damage I have inflicted on others.
I read this:  “And so, in all this contemplation it seemed to me that it was necessary to see and to know that we are sinners and commit many evil deeds which we ought to forsake, and leave many good deeds undone which we ought to do, so that we deserve pain, blame, and wrath.”  Um, yeah.  That’s about right, I thought.  I’m unworthy, I’ll never get there, I’m not enough… I’ve got to admit as much as I hate the word, I’m a sinner alright.  And don’t we, when we’re “bad” deserve to be punished?  Don’t people, doesn’t God, have full justification for being terribly angry with us when we’re wrong?
Except, I kept reading (always a mistake): “And despite all this, I saw truly that our Lord was never angry, and never will be.  Because he is God, he is good, he is truth, he is love, he is peace; and his power, his wisdom, his charity and his unity do not allow him to be angry… God is that goodness which cannot be angry, for God is nothing but goodness.”
Uh, what?  I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t compute with… well, what I want to be true.  Is that weird, not to want God to be that good, that loving, that generous?  If God is, then I have to let go of some things, some stuff I’ve been carrying around that I’ve gotten pretty used to over time.  It’s gotten fitted to me, like an old coat or a familiar hat.  Except it seems that Julian, and God through her, are telling me that those aren’t the clothes I’m supposed to be wearing.  I’ve put on the wrong stuff.  Not only have I thought that I was naked, in seeing myself that way, I’ve tried to cover myself inappropriately.  Maybe I’ve been protecting myself from God’s anger, putting on what amounts to spiritual chainmail, when God wants me to wrap myself in God’s own warm, loving arms.  We all do it.  But whoever told you that you’re naked, and whatever you’ve done to try to hide it, know this: God is our clothing and our shelter, and will never desert us, no matter how naked we feel.
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2 Comments »

  1. embracethecall Said:

    You are worth something.

    (and thank you for this. one of those eras where I, too, am so tired of feeling worthless.)

  2. Jim Bingman Said:

    You are worthy, don’t ever doubt that. We all fall prey to sin, it’s how we acknowledge it in ourselves and move forward to learn and heal from it that defines our true nature. Remember for whatever you have done, you are forgiven. Trust in Him, trust in us, your friends, family, and spouse. I hope you have a great weekend.


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