I left a comment at Jennifer’s last night… way too late for me to be near the computer. Ann Kroeker, who’s working with Charity Singleton Craig to lead a group of us in “The Writing Life,” a workshop through Tweetspeak Poetry, was Jennifer’s #TellHisStory featured writer this week. She wrote about the importance of finding the heart of your story, of stripping away everything that hides that heart. She’s helped me many times with her editing skills.
“When you get a minute,” Ann emailed me, “re-read your comment at Jennifer’s. You will laugh loud when you realize what it sounds like!”
I did laugh. And then I freaked. Delete! Delete! Delete!
This is what I wrote, referring to Diana Trautwein’s earlier comment.
“Ann has done some stripping for me, too, Diana–looking for something that makes my heart beat a little faster.”
Jennifer “fixed” that comment for me, and we had some great belly-laughs. But it was a good lesson about maybe reading our words out loud and having our head on straight before we hit publish. Especially, at least for me, late in the evening.
Anyway, the whole thing reminded me of something I posted four Septembers ago. So here it is… from the archives.
I want to be a stripper.
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 (50 of them?) 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’s 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’re 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 us from true intimacy with God. Of all the layers that insulate us from being who He created us to be.
Stripped of everything that entangles us and keeps us from running the race.
Stripped of everything that keeps us 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?