It always struck me as significant that when God created Adam and Eve, they were naked.
Admittedly I have the sense of humor of a 16-year-old boy, but for more reasons than just my immaturity, it’s something that has always stuck out to me.
This year, through an absolute explosion of experiences, I have come to the understanding that we all really want two things.
To be known – and to be loved.
So many of our problems, insecurities, fears and conflicts can be traced back to these two desires.
Sometimes the problems arise when we go to questionable lengths to be seen – thinking that being seen and known are synonymous.
But to be seen and known are two vastly different things.
To make yourself seen, all you need is a really good push up bra, or to pound out some push-ups.
To make yourself known requires something much scarier.
It requires intimacy. It requires letting our guards down and accepting the horrifying reality that we could actually get hurt.
To be known, we have to allow ourselves to teeter on the edge of a very steep drop, knowing that with one change of the breeze, we could plunge into the painful reality of rejection.
To be fully known is the emotional equivalent of standing in front of someone butt naked, and letting them see you for everything you are, and everything you’re not.
And that’s horrifying.
Yet despite its potentially disastrous consequences, we still crave it.
We simply want to be known.
But to be known isn’t enough. We want more than anything for the person who’s taking us in, in all of our naked glory, to be impressed, enchanted, in love.
We want to be known for exactly who we are, and loved for exactly who we are.
And it’s in that quest to be loved that things get really messy.
We do all kinds of things that make absolutely no sense, trying to earn the love of another person.
We change ourselves, sucking in and only stand in good light – hoping to receive the love and approval that we so desperately want.
But when you’re amending yourself in such uncomfortable and unnatural ways just for love and approval, you’re completely destroying any chance you have of that first desire being met.
You’re not actually known … you’re a shadow of yourself – a version with a mask. You’re not known. You may be loved, but you’re not known.
And how long can you keep up the act?
To be known is an absolutely terrifying venture. To allow someone deep enough into your head and your heart and your life to know you – you’re opening yourself up to great risk.
But you’re also opening yourself up to great and beautiful possibilities.
You’re opening up the possibility that someone could see you, and know you – REALLY know you – and love you.
And to be truly known and truly loved is why we’re here in the first place.
God created Adam and Eve to be together, naked and unashamed. To know each other without pretense, without mask and without flattering lighting.
He created them to love each other because He wanted their love to be an earthly representation of His love for each of them.
He knew that at some point, they would be separated from Him and that He wouldn’t be able to wrap His arms around His kids when they needed Him.
And so He created us to wrap our arms around each other – for Him.
It is my deepest, most profound desire to be known and to be loved. And it has been the scariest adventure of my life.
I have found myself literally hiding my face and weeping as I hid from being known – afraid that if I were fully known, I wouldn’t be fully loved.
And slowly … as God loves me … and loves me and loves me and loves me … and reminds me of who I am and how He sees me … I begin taking my hands away from my face. And the tears slow.
And slowly but surely, I allow myself to be seen, and known, and loved.