Naked and Unafraid

Today’s Reading: Genesis 3:1-10

Each time I read this story, I am struck and a little amused by verse seven: when Adam and Eve eat the fruit, their eyes are opened… and with these new eyes, what is the very first thing they notice? They are naked! As soon as they become “fully human” people, ones that I can relate to, they are immediately aware of their vulnerability and they cover themselves. They become aware of one another in a new way and so they hide their bodies, the ones that God so lovingly crafted for them. Perhaps they have lost trust that they are perfectly created – or perhaps they are no longer able to trust one another enough to be that vulnerable.

We may not run around naked, but I think that most of us have had that experience of feeling like hiding. We feel ashamed of our mistakes or our perceived shortcomings, and if we let that shame rule us for long enough, we become ashamed of who we are. We begin to believe that we aren’t good enough. We don’t want others to see our imperfections, so we hide them, just as Adam and Eve hid their bodies from one another.

We aren’t intended to live with fear and shame ruling us, though. We are meant to live authentically and vulnerably. Author and shame researcher Brené Brown writes, “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” Vulnerability is required for true connection with one another, for true relationship. We cannot draw close to someone without risking being hurt. So rather than hiding our imperfections, let’s embrace them. We are God’s beloved and we are worthy of love just as we are, so let’s share our hearts with one another. That is true courage: to show up and to allow ourselves to be seen by another just as we are.

What have you been ashamed to let people see about you? Who might you trust enough to be vulnerable with that piece of yourself?