I sat down in front of a mirror in my room naked.
I have never liked being naked.
Naked was for showers. Then quickly back into clothes.
I never liked to look at myself naked.
I didn’t want to see the flaws. The seemingly endless imperfections tattooing my body as the years went on. The skin I lived in was not the skin I wished for. The skin I lived in was not desirable. The skin I lived in was marked. And veined. It was scarred. It was imperfect.
How often I have worked to cover my nakedness. Many times in the name of modesty. When in actuality, it was my shame I was covering. My skin that I hated. My body that was not beautiful. My body that was not perfect. Not perfect like it ought to be.
In my mind I assumed people were staring. Scrutinizing. Laughing at my nakedness. Laughing at my skin. Comparing in prideful glee theirs to my own.
So I hid. Hid my nakedness from others. From myself. From mirrors.
And I thought about the other kind of nakedness that I hide. The nakedness of my soul. The nakedness of my sinful flesh that wages war against me every day. The nakedness of complete vulnerability with struggles and sin that are still part of me.
I think the Church is okay with certain kinds of nakedness. Okay with certain sins. We have measured them out and some have come out far worse. We have made them gender specific. We have made it okay to struggle with some but not others.
We have made it hard to be naked.
So we hide. We hide behind filters and “authentic” lives. We hide our nakedness from others. From ourselves. From mirrors.
We don’t want people to see the real us. The flawed us. The imperfect us.
Yet we long for people to see the real us. The flawed us. The imperfect us.
And we want people to love that us. We want people to love the naked us.
We forget that Jesus does. We forget that the gospel frees us to be naked — to be vulnerable. To sit exposed. Because Christ bore our shame.
He died for our shame. He died for all the ugliness and all of the imperfection that sin has wrought and wrecked within us.
Do we believe that the gospel is big enough for our nakedness?
Do we believe that Jesus’ substitutionary propitiatory death is big enough to cut deep into the very marrow of our souls — the deep dark nakedness — the most horrific parts of us that cause us the most shame?
Do I believe that? Can I stand in front of you naked — with all the gory parts of my sin on display — proclaiming that Christ is enough and that Christ has paid the price for all the brokenness in me?
That there is grace. Unmerited grace. Grace that does not leave us as we are but beckons and insists that we come out of hiding and walk in the light. Grace that changes the broken us into something beautiful because He who is gracious is beautiful. The grace that says, “Be free.” For freedom Christ has set you free.
There is freedom in nakedness.
I sat there last night in front of my mirror.
I smiled at my tattoos. Then I tried to sit in a way that didn’t make my stomach look as fat. But then I stopped. Sat the way I had been sitting. And let myself learn to tell those rolls they were okay. And I let myself stop sighing over the spider veins and the scars. And the cellulite and the acne. And I just sat there for awhile. Until it was okay. Until I didn’t hate that I was naked. Until I didn’t hate the image bearer of God in front of me.
And I think in sitting there — exposed — I felt free.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24