nudity, part one

Have you ever had that nightmare—you know, the one in which you are standing in your underwear or completely naked in front of your classroom, school bus, auditorium, coworkers, the subway, walking on a crowded busy street, or [insert any large group of people in a very public situation]?

Remember that feeling of standing uncovered in your underwear—or your birthday suit—in front of a very large very public crowd? It doesn’t feel so awesome. In fact, it feels freaking terrible.

You’re embarrassed. Terrified. Ashamed. You want to run and hide FOREVER. You’re confused, flabbergasted, speechless, petrified, boggled, bamboozled, helpless, tormented, all of the above.

You’re mortified. (note: mortified comes from the Latin root mort which means death. Basically when you’re mortified it’s like you’ve died. Thus the saying, “I was so embarrassed I could’ve died!”).

Why are naked-in-public dreams actually nightmares? After 30 years of pondering this question, I’ve come up with a 2-part hypothesis. Here is part 1 (part 2 will be addressed in another post):

Naked dreams are nightmares because they let us feel what’s it’s like to be exposed at our most vulnerable; they make us confront raw intimacy. Naked dreams bring us back to a terrifying, longed-for normal.

Basically, in those nightmarish-dreams we are in a blatant and ridiculous situation in which we cannot hide our flaws, our form, our shape, our true selves, our secrets, our rawness, our brokenness, our beauty, our humanity, our divinity; we are utterly naked.

But I don’t think God ever intended nakedness to be so shameful and pain-ridden. In fact, I know He created us for joyful nudity and abandonment to love.

No, I am not advocating fleshly exhibitions. That would be antithetical to the JOY part of joyful nudity, joy being a fruit of the Holy Spirit and all. In fact, I’m advocating quite the opposite. I’m saying let’s STOP with the exhibitions, the facades, the performances, and let love & freedom reign.

Simply put, let’s stop frontin.

Kay, for all ya’ll (that’s my shout-out to Kentuuuucky, yay we love you) who don’t know, urbandictionary.com defines frontin as this:

  1. to put up a façade or make appearances, typically to impress or in some way deceive to maintain image. From, “to front”
  2. to put on a false disguise usually to impress others
  3. to pretend or act like something or someone you’re not
  4. faking. Disguising something by appearing or acting in an opposite fashion
  5. essentially, bluffing

So…basically…frontin is totally demonic (gasp!). cuz we’re deceiving / lying to ourselves and others when we front, and we know that Satan is the father of lies. He’s…the father of frontin. haha, i love the alliteration.

One of my favorite songs used to be “Frontin” by Pharrell & Jay-Z (before Z got super crazy with weirdness).

Chorus:

I know that I’m carrying on
Never mind if I’m showing off
I was just frontin (you know I want ya babe)
I’m ready to bare it all
Unless you don’t care at all
But you know I want ya (you should stop frontin babe)

Verse 3:

Every time your name was brought up
I would act all nonchalant in front of an audience
Like you was just another shortie I put the naughty on
But uh, truth be told, you threw me for a loop…this Hov
I’m too old to be frontin what I’m feeling,
Denzel’n, acting like you ain’t appealing when you are
Stunting like you ain’t my only girl when you are (I was just frontin)
I’m ready to stop when you are

In it’s way, this is a refreshingly honest song that pinpoints how world culture is riddled with folks frontin, frontin folks.

Why are we (humans) so freaking afraid to show how much we love, value, adore, need and appreciate each other?

In the Garden of Eden, which was God’s original intention and design for human beings, Adam and Eve “were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). Being naked and not ashamed with someone means there is a fullness of security, love, acceptance, holiness, purity, shalom, joy, honesty, openness and sweetness.

It’s only after they were deceived and disobeyed God, thereby plummeting them into a fallen shameful state tainted with the muck of sin rather than abiding in the glory of God’s nature, that they made clothes to cover themselves–“and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings” (Genesis 3:7)

Infuriating, isn’t it? They were deceived, they disobeyed, shame came, and the coverings came on. The veils. The frontin. The hiding.

So, one answer to why we humans are so freaking afraid of intimacy and nudity would be that the fall caused a terrible fracture between us and the Father, so all the deception, shame, rejection, abandonment, guilt, and doubt that are attached to sin then riddled the human nature and world…

We became conditioned to hiding, hurting, rejecting, using, abusing, lusting, abandoning, mistrusting…

But through Jesus we are new creations, born again of the Spirit. We carry the DNA of God in our blood, bones, flesh, and hearts now; that old DNA is gone. It should naturally and logically follow that we become normal, live normal lives.

FEAR and FRONTIN is NOT NORMAL

REJECTION is NOT NORMAL

ABANDONMENT is NOT NORMAL

CLOTHES are NOT NORMAL

FREE and HONEST is NORMAL

ACCEPTANCE is NORMAL

BELONGING is NORMAL

NUDITY is NORMAL

When I say nudity I mainly mean being stripped of all facades—please, I’m not advocating the birth of thousands of nudist colonies and calling it the new “church” movement or something ridiculous like that. (Maybe we will all be naked some day in all our glorified bodies, but erm I’ll leave that up to end-time brainiacs to figure out.)

What I’m saying is, how often do we come before God with all these fig leaves on us, all these layers and layers of clothes, skin, concerns, anxieties, fears, worries, agendas, mentalities, false identities, demands, insecurities, shame, embarrassment? Man, sometimes we wear such elaborate costumes it’s a miracle we can walk with God at all under the weight of so many layers. It’s abnormal to wear fig leaves. It’s normal to be nude.

Let’s be honest. No, really. Let’s just…be honest. Be candid, open, unembarrassed and real with God, with each other. Not hide behind this mask or that because of my/your/our many issues…

Which reminds me of a joke: “gurrrrl i got so many issues they turned into subscriptions”

Moving on. Can you imagine what life is like without the frontin? the posturing? without the stage makeup? the costumes? the set designs? the little daily performances we put on for the sake of upholding a certain image, aura, veneer, glamour, schedule, timeline, expectation, script, reputation that all build up the wall between yourself and your loved ones…and that actually deepens the chasm inside yourself (between your actor-self and your real-self).

Jesus died on a cross to close that chasm.

Wait. I want to pause here. We hear it so often that we sometimes take it for granted.

Jesus—perfect, beautiful, fair, strong, mighty, wise, gentle, fierce, sinless, holy, blameless, brilliant, dazzling, caring, generous, faithful, humble, coolest guy ever, original gangsta

Died – was brutally beaten, slapped, beard ripped off his face, whipped so hard that chunks of flesh were ripped out of his back, spit on, mocked, jeered, falsely accused, abandoned by His beloveds, had thick mega nails hammered into his wrists and feet to pin Him

On a cross – the most humiliating death reserved for criminals and low-lives and the scum-dregs of society

To close that chasm. Hallelujah, welcome home where you are free to be naked and holy.

He paid a very costly price to make sure that rift, that impossible-to-close gap, that fissure would be forever…not there. Reconciliation with the Father brings reconciliation with our real-self, with original design, the Creator’s purpose.

Because God is all that is true, honest, good, real, candid, unashamed, free, pure, pleasurable, ecstatic, wonderful, vibrant…and the process of knowing Him means we’re brought into such light and glory that it is impossible to hide–we don’t WANT to hide anymore because the blood of Jesus covers us into nudity and utter freedom.

Does that make sense? to be covered by the blood so that we’re actually naked? like Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed.

and I’m very convinced that we are restored not just to Original Design, but to Better-Than-Original Design.

We’re set free into Better-Than-Eden by the blood of Jesus.

And I don’t think this Better-Than-Eden-ness looks like me being so pure and holy that I never fart, crap, burp or make an honest mistake. That I never struggle with jealousy, envy, insecurity, irritation, anger or never feel discouraged and hopeless.

Nor does it mean that I always without fail immediately go into hours of repentance, prayer, soaking and meditation to soar like a majestic eagle above the mistakes, jealousy, envy, insecurity, irritation, anger and you-fill-in-the-blanks of my existence.

I think it just means that I’ve stopped hiding and in that moment that I choose to rip off the fig leaves for the naked blood of Jesus, for the cross and resurrection, I am set free, and set free, and set free and set free from all the dung.

Nekkid and free.

Can you imagine what that’s like?

Yea…exactly.

That?

That’s not a nightmare.

That’s normal.

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