Naked and unashamed…how wonderful does that idea sound? I don’t know about you, but that visual stirs up all kinds of discomforts and insecurities inside of me.
Umm…cellulite, belly fat, stretch marks (ah hem, seven kids guys…), and all the gamut of any other insecurities I could possibly hate.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to experience the kind of relationship where none of that happened; none of that mattered, because we knew that the person with us loved us unconditionally and only adored and welcomed in the fullness of our reality, warts and all?
That’s what we are going to discuss today! Because, sweet sister, the Lord is offering that PRECISE kind of a relationship to you! He LOVES you and wants to delight in you; ALL of you, warts and all.
You know how Adam and Eve were said to walk with the Lord, naked and unashamed? We too get to return to a Kingdom centric version of Eden as we grow to know our Heavenly husband more and more.
30 Days of Prayer: Pray be Naked and Unashamed Before God
My husband and I will hit our 14 year anniversary this December. We met when we were the ripe young age of 19 and married within 8 months of knowing each other. We basically eloped (a reality which I do regret, to a point), and my mom did not even get to meet him until we had been married for a year and a half (we were in the Navy so we were on the other side of the country).
I’m pretty sure no one thought we would last.
We hit a lot of bumps in the road of our marriage, and there are some years that I look back on knowing that we pulled through only by the grace of God. And then there are others where I recall closing off a part of myself to my husband for fear of his dissatisfaction or disagreement.
You see, I’ve always struggled with being a “people pleaser.” Don’t rock the boat was my mantra. As a young child, I came into agreement with the idea that life was better if you just did not argue so to a certain degree I made a vow of silence over my life, which was not founded on the fullness of God.
For many, many years in our marriage I stayed silent, sacrificed myself on the altar of false humility, and died bit by bit inside.
Love means taking the leap to trust and trust hard
I did not expose the true things inside of my heart for fear of what my husband might think (and he is a good man, human and all, but my inner struggles were from LONG before we even met, and they needed to get worked out).
One time I received counsel from some older wiser women who were trying to help me to understand that I was allowed to say something that my husband did not like AND he was even allowed to get angry, and it was all ok. Because, we can work through disagreements when we are committed to the relationship.
The idea was foreign to me! I just couldn’t grasp the concept of speaking my truth, disagreeing, AND working through it! ESPECIALLY if it meant that someone else might get upset or have their feelings hurt in the process. I mean, “isn’t that mean to do to someone else?”
Somewhere inside of me was my little girl mind that had come into agreement with some faulty thinking patterns that were now hindering me from experiencing the fullness of relationships.
And, I didn’t get it…YET. This concept took me another 5 years to really sink in, but when it did everything changed.
When I speak the truth of my heart to the man who loves me our relationship is not harmed, but rather brought into honest connection.
Though temporarily it might have seemed like we were less connected as we each began to be more authentic and honest with each other (and not always speaking in love), we began to feel more closely connected as the real deal of our hearts became more and more exposed.
It took some time for us to learn how to communicate in a healthy way with each other, but since we were committed to our marriage, and divorce was not a fallback to run from the personality conflict, we worked to figure it out.
***I am just going to say right now that I am certain the enemy is going to twist my words about divorce to suggest that I am saying there is no room for a rightful divorce. That is NOT what I am saying. When egregious, unrepentant sin has been addressed repeatedly and there is no sight of the other spouse working to change their ways, and if all other measures have been tried to confront and heal the issue, then biblical divorce is understandable. This is NOT what I am addressing, but rather simply the normal relationship struggles of disagreement, getting to know and respect and love someone else, and learning how to live in peace AND truth.***
Little by little, year by year, our communication became better and better and eventually fighting was a rare, rare event.
The Lord has done quite a work in our marriage.
It took time to learn how to address conflicts, small and large. I had to learn to speak up if sin was present and how to lovingly confront issues that emerged. My mind had to be completely renewed to understand boundaries, what a healthy marriage looked like, and to recognize the covenant we had made with it other. And, it took time to bring about the harvest in our marriage.
Before our relationship could truly blossom, I had to be willing to trust my fallible and imperfect husband with my heart.
Even though it meant he might stomp all over it.
I had to trust that even though he might mess up at first that he would ultimately turn the corner and work to love me the way I was telling him I wanted to be loved, even if imperfectly.
I had to learn to communicate with him, though. I had to tell him what I liked and did not like. I had to open my mouth and ask him to do things that I wanted done, instead of silently fume that they weren’t getting done.
I had to stop being a critical bystander, and get engaged in the work of our marriage. Our family depended on it.
“God is NOT a man that he should lie,” (Num. 23: 19).
I’ve spoken in previous posts about our covenantal marriage to our heavenly husband; our bridegroom. The imagery of the relationship is so glorious and stunningly beautiful. But, fleshing the relationship out is not quite so glamorous all the time.
Not all of us grew up knowing the true God, and therefore we must divorce ourselves from the former gods of our heart and learn to listen exclusively to the voice of our True Abba, and lover of our souls.
In the same way, though, that I had to learn to open my mouth and be real and exposed and vulnerable with my husband, Yahweh wants us to be just as real and vulnerable and exposed with Him.
And, unlike my wonderful husband, God is NOT human that I should fear condemnation or rejection from Him.
God can hold the boundary line perfectly without condemning His Bride.
Is our Abba fierce? Oh, absolutely! He has righteous standards of living that boldly and directly address and call out sinful choices and behaviors, because He LOVES us and wants us to experience the fullness of His love. He judges wrongful behaviors firmly and without sway.
But, to the repentant and sorrowful heart, He extends loving grace, patience, and compassionate guidance as He gently leads us out of our sinful ways.
Many of us have a broken understanding of this fierceness and the judgement of God, and truly believe that the most intense and aggressive judgment He has is intended for and directed at those who are in covenant with Him and wholeheartedly walk with Him each step as He leads, even though imperfectly.
Related: See this post for 10 Powerful Steps to an Astounding Walk with God
This view does not line up with scripture! We repeatedly see the admonitions that though He is fierce and just and holy, He is equally as loving, patient, compassionate, generous, and joyful towards His children. And, unlike us frail little flesh bags, our Abba does not get caught up in the emotion of a moment and over-react (:::holding hand up::: GUILTY!)
He already knows what’s inside of my heart well before I even do, which is why it is foolish to try to lie to God.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” ~ Ps. 139: 7-8
We do not have to run and hide from our Abba. He knows where we are still in sin, but is patient to lead us through the unveiling of these sins “a little here, a little there” (Is. 28: 10). He can handle every struggle and emotional roller coaster we face!
There is a huge difference between confused and searching and rebellious and haughty, even though they may look similar in the physical world. Our Abba, though, can rightfully tell the difference between the two heart conditions.
He wants to know the REAL you…ALL of you.
‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” ~ Matt. 7: 21-23
Did you catch it? “I never knew you.” He not only made us to know Him intimately, but He also wants to know us intimately.
Our Abba designed us each to function optimally when we are naked and exposed with Him, able to speak even our darkest secrets or greatest plans into His ear and know that He will not reject us, but rather come alongside of us with the fullness of whatever it is we need in Truth.
Even more so, He readily desires to give us the good things we request. THIS is the power of our spiritual marriage.
There is a world of freedom in the power of unconditional love and Truth.
The Heavenly Covenant Goes Both Ways
When we entered into the faith agreement with our Abba, we made vows with Him, whether we knew it or not. And He made vows with us. We can find His vows written clearly all throughout His Word. He promises to provide, protect, visit with, equip, cleanse (and more) all of His children, according to their unique needs and ways.
He prompts our hearts through the Holy Spirit to lead us into the next stage of our relationship with Him. He guides us to know that He is trustworthy and loving, sufficient for the trust that He wants us to have for Him.
But, He wants us to get to know Him intimately through His whole Word. What are HIS likes and dislikes? What is His version of our leaving socks on the floor or any other typical marital argument? What are the things we do that grieves His heart immensely?
And, do we really treat His perspectives and standards for what He wants from His Bride as importantly as how we treat the things we want from our Husband? (ouch)
We cannot continue to throw a bone to this Marriage and expect it to produce a fruitful harvest. Our Abba not only wants to share Himself with you, and wants to know all about your deepest, darkest thoughts, He also wants YOU to know yourself clearly through HIS Truth.
And confessing the Truth, even to the heavenly Body brings freedom!
I want You to know me, Abba!
There is something so beautifully empowering, in the best sense, when we open our mouths and “make our requests known to God” (Phil. 4: 6).
As we learn to speak more freely with Him, we will begin to have the layers of our hearts peeled back bit-by-bit, exposing the real us, our gooey middle hidden behind a hard shell.
God is not afraid of what might be buried underneath, though. He just wants to cleanse us, walk with us, and teach us all about His Ways.
So, here’s a prayer to say today (or some kind of variation that works for you):
Abba, Father, I deeply want you to know me, and I so badly want to know You better. Help me to not be afraid to be honest and vulnerable, but rather to trust that Your love will stay Your hand of judgement in my life. Come into my heart and lead me, fully naked before You, and safe, so that on that fateful day I can be found as one who “knows You.” Remove the stones in the soil of my inner heart garden, which get in the way of our connection. Cleanse me, Abba, and know my heart, and help me to also know Yours. I want to be fully exposed with You, naked and unashamed. Amen.