No, not in the sense you’re thinking. Although on occasion I’ve threatened to go “dance for Jesus” at the nearby Deja Vu–AKA “Girls, Girls, Girls.” I figure folks would pay good money to see a 60-year-old chick strut her stuff. Might even bring out the news cameras and reporters. Then what? The View? Oprah? A movie deal?
Somehow I don’t think God would approve. Even though David danced uninhibited before Him in the buff.
No, I want to be stripped before God and transparent to those around me. Not afraid to expose scars. Not afraid to reveal where I still hurt and struggle. Coming out. Not hiding behind fig leaves of shame or layered with garments of heaviness.
Like it was in the beginning when Adam and Eve walked naked before God. No secrets. Running free in the garden. No excess weight or baggage.
The apple spoiled all that. After they ate, they tried to bundle up and hide.
Years ago, Dennis and I volunteered with a mobile groomer and others to help clean up a bunch of dogs that had been kept inside a small house. Yes, inside. All the time. When we got home, we didn’t deodorize (No Febreze in those days) or slip clean clothes on over the dirty ones. No, we furtively stripped at our back door before making a mad dash for the shower and lots of soap. And then we threw those filthy and smelly clothes away.
All of us pack on layers of some sort–not just to stay warm but also to cover the dirt. To hide our pain and shame and guilt. To protect ourselves. To cover up small hurts and major traumas.
We wear our masks and polish our veneers. We’re afraid to expose what is under the surface. Afraid to strip. Afraid to be vulnerable. Afraid to show our soft spots and knot holes. Afraid we’ll be judged or rejected.
We might burrow under emotional or behavioral blankets or lose ourselves in career, appearance, possessions, or even church busyness.
We dress up in pride.
We are not real with ourselves, with others, or with God.
Yet we can’t hide from God. Neither could Adam and Eve.
In the end, God provides the covering for His children. From the hides of animals to a spotless Lamb. The One who stripped Himself of everything on high to walk below. The One who was judged and rejected. Who was stripped, whipped, and humiliated. And hung in the open for all to see. By His stripes we are healed. He is the One who welcomes us with open arms no matter how bad we smell.
Yes, I want to be a stripper!
Stripped of everything that separates me from true intimacy with God. Of all the layers that insulate me from being who He created me to be.
Stripped of everything that entangles me and keeps me from running the race.
Stripped of everything that keeps me from being open, available, and transparent to others.
So they can see Him. So that they, too, can run free.
By our stripes, others can be healed.
What do you want to strip off today? What stripe will you expose in order to heal?
P.S. Sandi Patty is a great example of someone who has been peeling off layers. Check out her book, Layers, here. Also get to know Anne Jackson here. She is another who has opened up and talked about “messy things” and is giving others the opportunity to do the same.
Scripture: Colossians 3: 1-14 Read it in The Message.
Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King