Underwear Parade

Posted on 26 Feb 2010 in Reveal | 0 comments

My thoughts on this devotional are a bit risqué, so I’m giving it the “R” rating. If you don’t feel like reading my parade around in my spiritual underwear, I understand…really…no hard feelings.

You can read today’s ancient text here:

A different translation of this text highlights a particular passage in this chapter by formatting. It’s a passage that the ancient scribe quotes from an even more ancient prophet named Micah. The passage in Micah is actually a bit harsher than the one that Matthew gives. In Micah, the prophet indicates that there is a “rising up against” or actually “despising” or “defying” going on. “Neighborhoods and families are falling to pieces. The closer they are—sons, daughters, in-laws—the worse they can be. Your own family is the enemy…”*
I’ve seen what happens when families fall to pieces. The verse isn’t just about families falling apart. It’s about the call and the cost of discipleship.
Jesus has sent out his twelve apprentices to minister to people. This is part of their commission. Jesus makes it clear that it is no longer simply family relationships that define our identity when we choose to follow the call to Light and Love. It seems that he’s saying, “your first call is to me, not your family. Let go of your creature comforts in order to experience the truly unconditional love of Your Divine Parent in Heaven.”
Jesus tells his followers to speak out into the daylight those things that were revealed in hiddenness. The Spirit saying that things have been revealed to the disciples in the quiet places – their personal revelations – and they are now to go out and shout them from the rooftops. I don’t know about you, but my private times with the Divine have normally been precisely that – private. I may journal about them on my own, but “blogging” them places me in complete vulnerability. I have a really beautiful journal full of hand-written prayers and revelations. To bring them out of the hidden places into the glow of my computer monitor is a bit nerve-wracking. What if people think less of me? What if some of what I say leads people to believe that I’m a bit mental? What if they think I’m wrong? What if they stop being my friend because of what they read? And what if this makes my family angry?
A blog has hurt my family before. Granted, it wasn’t this one. I’ve had a few blogs since about 2000. The one that hurt my family was written by angry, hurt, and messy Katie – a work in progress. But I have to wonder, were some of the apprentices in the text like that, too? Think about James and John, “the Sons of Thunder.” Do you really think they stopped to think about whether or not their fire would burn things like a mighty fire? Or perhaps they just charged headlong in. I don’t know about them, but I do know that I need to begin to put my thoughts out there, exposing my heart to others, and I need to be exploring ever more deeply the mysteries of this walk that I’m taking. I know that I can’t do it alone. For those of you who read this, I’m taking an enormous leap of faith – knowing that you have the power to speak into my life. To tell me when I’m getting it wrong. So I’m opening up ‘authentic’ dialogue, recognizing that I may get hurt.
My friend Lauren wrote a post ages ago on what she called ‘really-real’ conversations and the difficulty in finding people who want to actually submerge themselves enough in your world to tap into the things that actually make us most fully alive. It got me thinking. I don’t normally shy away from really-real conversations. But I also am beginning to realize that my vulnerability in this way is both a strength and a defence-mechanism. By exposing myself to you early, it’s almost like running around in my underwear* before we really know each other. It’s trying to be naked in the Garden without shame. But there can be an almost insensitive side to that as well. Because instead of allowing you to choose whether or not to be in your underwear with me, I’m just parading around.
In one of my circles of friends, there is a group of people who love to be naked. Not just figuratively, but they love to just hang out au naturel, and enjoy being naked by themselves, with others. There was even a place in Santa Cruz designed for that very purpose. People would go there, pay a small fee, take their clothes off, and wander around with other like-minded people in the buff. And there was a part of me that cheered that on – be free! Be naked! Enjoy your nakedness! And there was another part of me that could never do it.
There was another group in that circle of friends that had the same attitude towards sex, sexuality, and expressions of that sexuality. And for a season in my life, that was ok too – well, to be honest, it was enjoyable and on a surface level incredibly ‘liberating’. But I hit a wall at a certain point. You see, I began to see that there were parts of my heart, my life, that weren’t the voice of the Spirit of Truth in the darkness to be shouted from the rooftops. They were my own, hurting, scared voice that needed to shout from the rooftops. What I had thought was freedom was actually a desperate cry for relationships that gave me meaning and purpose. I was hurting and lonely, and needed to be heard. I was scared and broken, and needed to be held.
I am grateful for those times and those friends – mainly because they did show me a bit about love and acceptance. They taught me that it’s ok to be me – even if I didn’t know anything about who that was at the time – and that they would love me regardless. That group of people upheld me during a number of incredibly painful and broken times in my life, and I will never forget that. They taught me that there was something beautiful and fierce and wonderful underneath the surface, when I couldn’t see it myself. Even today, friends with many of them still, I think back to those lessons of love and acceptance when I’m hurting or scared and need to remember that it is ok to be me.
So, now apparently, I’m over a decade older, and many more wiser, and I’m still coming back to the same questions. I think that these are questions that I will be asking for the rest of my life. But more than simply love and acceptance, I need companions and co-conspirators in this great journey towards eternity. I need people who are willing to run around in their underwear with me, who are willing to expose some bits for thoughtful interaction and engage with my exposed bits. Gosh, this sounds like an open invitation to the bedroom! I mean, I need mentors and advisors and good counsel, but I also need those things from people willing to show themselves to me – and I’m grateful for all of you who do just that. So by blogging instead of ranting, I’m inviting people in, to strip to their underwear (or swimsuits or pyjamas – whatever your level of comfort is) and to engage with me here. In my underwear parade. Because, in this place, there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. I am looking to live more fully in a place of authentic love for my friends (and my family), and it’s a journey. There will be really awkward moments where something pops out that one of us wishes had stayed hidden. But when we are bearers of the Light and stewards of the Pure Eternal Light, we really need to be conscientious about bringing the light into every area of our lives. We need to be not afraid of the mess and the awkwardness and the random bits flying about. We can run damage control, but in general, we need to be less fearful of a Holy Mess – one in which the Redeemer is making all things new. Because we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. BUT, as I become a woman, I put the ways of childhood behind me because now we see only a reflection as in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; but then I will know fully, even as I am fully known.
So I invite you on this journey with me. To know me more fully and to be more fully known. To run around with me in this underwear parade, and to join with me in trying to be more authentic and vulnerable and truly who Creator made me to be.
I give you permission to speak into my life, to speak into my reflections.
I am dying to hear what you have to say.
Spirit of Love, make me more and more a creature of the Light, chasing out the bits of darkness that would keep me in fear and captivity, and releasing me more and more into authentic freedom.
* I use underwear, because there are always the deepest bits of ourselves that we leave hidden, that we don’t show to anyone. But sometimes we need to get fully naked – normally with our partner or God – and deal with those dark places, bringing them to love and light and truth. They need healing like everything else, even if they’re already scarred over.

(*Message Translation by Eugene Peterson, (c) 2002. Used by permission of Navpress, all rights reserved.  www.navpress.com; NIV scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.)