Layers

by McKayla Adams

 

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

—Romans 13:14a

 

Anyone who lives in Minnesota understands with sincere familiarity the concept of dressing up in layers.

 

The brutal and lengthy stretches of the bitter cold season make the bulky jackets, tightly wrapped scarves, and thick hats an adapted attire.

 

As a resident to a state with seemingly endless winters, I’ve become more than accustomed to piling on layer over layer.

 

I’m familiar with dressing myself in other forms of layers as well, but these layers do more harm than good, and I have a feeling I’m not alone.

 

I think we often dress ourselves in layers to hide our insecurities, our doubts; to cover up anxiety, depression, and pain.

 

Maybe these layers—coverings of sorts—have even turned into bitterness, hostility or pride as a defense mechanism to protect our fragile hearts from the hurt. An outer garment of smiles and laughter to cover up the hole of emptiness we don’t want gaping through, exposing the truth.

 

We layer our outside world as well: the outer surroundings of social events, gatherings, and parties to mask the loneliness that is a constant shadow lurking behind.

 

So many coverings, layers, and masks dress our external existence—to convince the crowds that we’re content. But even more so, these layers that we dress up in everyday are to convince ourselves. Maybe if we have it together on the outside, then we can have it together on the inside too. Maybe we can convince ourselves that the brokenness, pain, and emptiness aren’t really there.

 

Instead of looking in a mirror and coming face-to-face with who we are and where we are at—we look away. Until layer after layer after layer we pile on and become someone we can stand to look at…to be. We don’t show anyone our naked selves because we can’t even handle to look at the truth ourselves.

 

Naked is defined as undisguised, exposed, vulnerable, blatant, bare, hiding nothing.

  

How many people know our naked selves? How many do we allow to see beyond all the layers that we dress ourselves with everyday?

 

Instead of being honest and vulnerable with those around us or even with ourselves, and instead of standing before God completely exposed with our hearts...we mask, layer, and cover.

 

I met a man who was on the show “Naked and Afraid.” He made it through a 21-day challenge successfully with his partner, also naked and fully exposed to all of nature’s harshest elements.

 

And although this seems like an almost entirely impossible feat, I think some of us would do better at that than baring our naked inner selves to ourselves, others, and God.

 

Adam and Eve were naked in a perfect, sinless world, until shame and guilt caused them to cover their bodies. They hid from our Creator, our all-knowing and all- loving God. They hid, lied, blamed, and covered themselves up… and we have been doing it ever since.

 

God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

 

Christ’s perfect love is what he chose to use while we were stumbling to cover up how we felt inside. In the midst of our sin, shame, and attempts to cover up what we have done and where we are at—Christ shed his blood so we could be fully connected with Him. So we could stand before God unashamed.

 

But, internal change cannot come without shedding these internal and external garments to stand boldly and vulnerably before ourselves and our King.

 

So I say, I think it’s time we get naked.

 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

—Romans 8:1-2

 

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Guest Wednesday, 20 September 2017