Sometimes I wonder if anyone else could possibly feel as socially awkward as I do in certain situations.
Apparently they do, but it’s always hard to believe, because everyone else looks so normal. I suppose I look normal sometimes, too, but it doesn’t always feel that way inside.
I have a very sweet new friend I’m getting to know who told me the other day that she thought I must always be cool and calm in any situation.
What a reminder of how deceiving appearances can be! Cool and calm…well, hardly ever, on the inside, at least.
But if I can fake it, so can everybody else. Do you ever wonder what people would really be like if they were completely transparent?
Maybe it would be scary. Or bonding and unifying?
I love what Donald Miller writes in Searching For God Knows What about Adam and Eve. Pretty much, they didn’t have a care in the world. They felt completely loved by God, and they needed nothing else. They could just freely wander around the new world, buck-naked, free, and secure. Until the day everything was ruined…
I started asking myself why Moses would say five times that people were naked before the Fall, but after the Fall they went around with clothes on… The very first thing that happened after Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was that they noticed they were naked. And man, I couldn’t stop thinking about how whatever happened at the Fall made them aware they were naked…
Here is what I think Moses was saying: Man is wired so he gets his glory (his security, his understanding of value, his feeling of purpose, his feeling of rightness with his Maker, his security for eternity) from God, and this relationship is so strong, and God’s love is so pure, that Adam and Eve felt no insecurity at all, so much so that they walked around naked and didn’t even realize they were naked. But when that relationship was broken, they knew it instantly. All of their glory, the glory that came from God, was gone… (Searching For God Knows What, source)
And we’re still longing for that glory.
I am definitely pro-clothes. The point is not being naked.
The point is feeling that secure in God’s love, that free to be completely yourself, and not always be thinking about what is socially acceptable behavior. I know some people pretend not to worry at all about what people think of them, but everybody, no matter how confident they appear, has an image they wish to portray, even if it’s “I’m so confident, I don’t give a rip what other people think of me.” But in their lonely moments, there has to be insecurity there somewhere.
There are countless ways in which we cover up our weaknesses and secret sins. We hide and present a more acceptable self to the world.
There is such a thing as too much information. Or maybe it has more to do with the place and time and people.
Either way, I really, really believe that everyone needs a safe place where they can be completely themselves.Where they could confess anything, and still find total love and acceptance.
I wish I could be that for people. I wish I could get rid of all critical, judgmental tendencies, and make my home that safe place for people. I wish I could get past my desire to display a perfect front.
The other day when I stepped out my door, I specifically thought to myself, “I am SO GLAD no one can see my house right now!!”
And then an hour later, when I came back in through the door, my neighbor came with me.
I did it for me, and for her, too.
For me, because I needed to remind myself that a perfect front gets in the way of what I truly want in life. Although I would dearly love to own a pinterest-worthy home, I really want a home where people are welcome anytime. Where they feel comfortable and at home, and they go grab their own glass of water because they know exactly where the cups are.
And I did it for her, so she knows she never needs to worry about the state of her home when I come over. I did it to show her that I draw her close into my life, even if it means a little mess.
Mess is real. Whether it’s in my house or my emotions or my bad habits, everybody has it, but some people manage to never show it. I wonder what they feel like inside. I wonder if it gets tiring. I get tired when I try to make my life look perfect.
So come into my mess. Feel a little bit better about yours. And remember that everyone has the same deep longing to wander the world fully loved, accepted and free.