We all hide ourselves. Like Adam and Eve, when we feel shame, we try to cover ourselves up. I wonder what those fig leaves looked like in the garden. Did they fit awkwardly like the labels and expectations we use to hide behind today?
Sometimes our shame a result of things we ourselves have done. But other times, it’s not. Instead, it’s related to messages we’ve internalized about ourselves, things we heard from a classmate, teacher, parent. Either way, this shame causes us to hide, finding our identity in something that was only ever meant to be a cloak.
All too often, I have hidden myself behind fig leaves. Where do I end? Where do the fig leaves begin? Have I and the fig leaves somehow merged into one?
Deep down, I know this is not the case. My identity is not in the fig leaves, but in Christ, the one thing that never changes. But what does that mean? Does it mean meeting the expectations of other Christ followers? Does it mean following all the right rules?
No – I know that meeting others’ expectations and following the rules is not what makes up my identity. My identity is deeper than that too. But what does that mean? I know that I am created in God’s image, that I can rest in that. And yet, in practice, this often looks a lot like trying to follow the rules and meet the expectations of others. So how do I learn to not hide behind the fig leaf anymore?
Deep in my bones, I feel an aching desire, a yearning for something. Something I can’t quite articulate. Can I not find the words because I can’t quite grasp it? Can I not find the words because it feels shameful? Or can I not find the words because there are no words? Is what I seek something ineffable?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I know I want to seek them – to chase that desire, that yearning – to find the answers to what’s underneath all the junk. I don’t know what I will find there yet or even if there is anything to find. But I do know that God is good and He loves me. So I will try to rest in His arms as I chase down the answers to these questions, remembering His goodness and love not just in my mind but deep in my bones.