After Adam and Eve ate the apple offered by the snake, they covered their bodies with leaves because they became aware of their nakedness. They squirmed with the shame they wore as a shield when God came to the place where they were hiding and asked, "Who told you? Who told you you were naked?"
This whole concept has been on my mind for several weeks after hearing my friend Charissa talk about having a print of this question hanging in her room. It made me think about all the little tidbits of information, the thoughts and feelings bouncing around in my head and their origins. Who told them to me?
Who told me I can't achieve my dreams?
Who told me I am forgettable and replaceable?
Who told me I wasn't good enough for the work I want to invest my life in?
Who told me this stuff?
I think many of us would rather sacrifice the feeling of vulnerability that comes with owning who we are and cling to these things instead. But as soon as they settle into us we feel every ounce of their hollowed out shells and we don't like it. We don't like how that hollow feeling is magnified in our own chests. So we do our best to fill the lie with excuses that seemingly back it up. I'm not good enough to help run this business because I'm not business minded. I have too many issues to be a reflection of the mission. I don't have anything figured out so how can I possibly be someone who equips and encourages everyone else? But when emptiness is poured into more emptiness, somehow the hollow just gets bigger. We end up climbing inside these shells desperate to give them substance, unaware that the very leaves we cover our bodies with are transparent and do nothing but keep us trapped.
We find it easier to stay trapped and are willing to forego the joy of being who we were created to be because to admit we have a dream is like standing in a spotlight and asking for a critique-naked and exposed. But the underlying issue with all of this is that it was never wrong to be naked. The nakedness was created with intention because we were made to live our lives so intertwined with those around us that it would be hard to see where one life ends and the other begins. The problem arises when our minds begin to run on this mixture of oxygen and shame, a combination as cunning as it is lethal. It's the shame that comes when a truth as simple as "You are naked" is spoken with the intent to manipulate who we know ourselves to be unravels the tapestry every single one of our colors was woven into.
Because we are given so many things to look at, think about, and question, we rarely ever dig deep enough to get to the voice that spoke these things into us in the first place. But the mission of discovering who spoke them into us needs to be given the highest priority. The beyond genius life coach Lindsay Smith said this the other day, "Wise individuals don't believe everything they think." They stop and dig deeper to pry away any grip that might have a hold on them that twisted the thought into something other than truth.
We weren't made to contort ourselves to fit into something that was never intended to be twisted. We were made to know that we are enough, we are unforgettable and irreplaceable, we are worth the investment into something bigger than ourselves. We were made lay these solid, iron clad truths down and build a life on top of them, not hide within an empty imposter. We were made to listen to the voice that banishes the hollow and provides substance. We were made to accept the truths about ourselves and use them as a springboard to becoming the person they describe.