Remove Shame – Cleanse the lepers: restore to community (part eight)
You are a very complex creation, a living oxymoron. Your greatest longing and your greatest fear are one and the same – to be thoroughly loved. You long for it because it is what you were created to experience. You fear it, because to be loved completely requires complete transparency. This is scary. If you are completely self-revealing I could learn some shameful thing about you that might change my mind about how lovable you are. Yikes. Better to hide the ugly and unattractive. But this hiding pollutes love, this hiding creates doubt, this hiding builds walls. Your greatest longing goes unrealized because of fear.
Hiding, born of fear and shame is our inheritance from Adam and Eve. They ate the one fruit they were asked to not eat, and their eyes were opened; they saw their nakedness, and hid because they were afraid. Fig leaves couldn’t hide their shame from God or from themselves, but that didn’t stop them from trying.
We carry on this family tradition. We have our own fig leaves, our own ways of hiding our vulnerable self. Modern day fig leaves usually take the form of emotional and relational styles of being and interacting. Following are a few common ones. Any sound familiar? If none of these are your go-to fig leaves, don’t worry, I’ll continue the list on my next post.
I tend to protect my vulnerable self by…
1. Avoidance Emotionally and/or physically. I am afraid of rejection; I’ll find ways to deflect from any personal attention. One tactic I use is to be a good listener; always being the one asking questions. Like the woman at the well – John 4
2. Intellectualizing I tend to focus on tasks and reasoning to approach most of life’s situations; I analyze and talk about feelings in an emotionless manner. Like Nicodemus – John 3
3. Projection I ascribe to others the emotions/attitudes that I would like to ignore in myself or I don’t like about myself. For instance, I will perceive/accuse others of putting me down because I feel very inadequate about myself. Like the Pharisees and Jesus – Matthew 12:22
4. Blaming I am too insecure to assume responsibility for matters; I fear handling the consequences if I am responsible. I often appear angry. Like Pilate – Matthew 27:11-26
5. Splitting I idealize some people or things while ascribing all the bad to others: I think in black or white, there is no room for gray. Like Judas – Mark 14:4-11
The list continues on my next post.
This material is taken from the Shaped at the Garden Retreat. For information about this retreat, please contact me or check out the upcoming events.