Juliette, my 10 month old baby girl, has been showing an increasing need to relate in recent weeks. She reaches out to us in a variety of ways-- great big smiles, exciting squeals and shrieks, baby babbles, latching on to us or even trailing behind us with her "superfast" crawl. In the past week, I've observed how she really understands our body language, tones and actual words more than we give her credit for. My sweet Jujubee is quite in tune to her surroundings to an extent that I haven't seen in either of my other children. I began to ponder on what God wanted me to see as I thought about her need for human interaction. I realize that every single one of us have an inborn need to relate.
God's word says that He created man in His image. Many of our ways started from His, but in us sin distorts the actual trait of God himself. We could never possibly fathom how pure and holy He is in relation to us and I think that many times that's why we feel so alone. Our sin has created more of a barrier than we think when it comes to intimacy with Him. Because our thoughts are so impure, we can't even imagine what holy really is. We struggle to relate to Him.
Some of us have more of a need to talk than others, some simply need to sense that they're understood in non verbal ways. Others need to touch while there are some who look for a certain "feeling". Some people put on a good show and pretend that they don't need a thing from the rest of us, but in reality they are only fooling themselves. Because God created us in His image, we need to relate. We need for people to reach out to us and we need to reach out to others.
But because we're so ingrained with sin, our immediate reaction is to run and hide behind a fig leaf, just as Adam and Eve did. Sin makes shame and shame makes us afraid that someone will see us for what we are. We're afraid that someone will see what's really in our hearts and judge us--and many times they do. When that happens, we run right back to our fig leaves and use that experience as an excuse to never bare our naked souls to anyone again. I think we've all faced a time or two like this, I know I have.
I'm convicted lately about hiding behind my fig leaf. I'm convicted that I should step out from behind it on faith and trust Him to use my mere faith to bring light to someone else. I'm convicted that if I hide behind my fig leaf, no one can see the light that He's put in me. And if our mere purpose of being here is to glorify Him, hiding behind a fig leaf is defeating that purpose. Other people need to see our struggles, pains and then they need to see just how He uses those of us who are most weak through faith. If I go around pretending it doesn't hurt, guarding myself from what other's might think or say, I miss an opportunity to help someone to relate and to heal. I'm convinced that there is healing in feeling you're not the only one out there who struggles with this or that.
I've also come to see that when I hide in shame, sin breeds. Satan loves darkness. He loves it when we withdraw so that he can work on our minds. Since Satan loves darkness, the way to combat him is through light. And the way to bring light is to stop hiding.
What's really funny that as I get a glimpse of who mankind is and our ways in general, I'm humored at how silly it is that we justify our thoughts and our actions to suit our own needs. And believe me, I do these very things that I'm laughing at. We get hurt and we draw up in our shell and swear it's best that we hide. We "cut off our noses to spite our faces" by resisting what He says is best. We reap no benefit from it and in the back of our minds, we know it while we're doing it. But we just can't help ourselves--we're full of sin to the innermost of our being.
Juliette's inspired me to step out of my shell more and to let His ways shine through in me. I'm always excited when He uses people and circumstances to feed me morsels like this. I think we underestimate just how often He uses other people's junk and treasure to light our paths.
My prayer is that we'll all pay closer attention to where He is in any given situation because He, like us, wants to feel close. He wants to relate to us. In doing that, He wants us to talk to Him but He also wants us to just shut up and listen sometimes. I think about how much I crave conversation with my husband and I relate it to how He must feel about us. I'm quite sure He wants conversation with us, in all forms. He wants us to involve Him in ALL of our circumstances-- little or big and good or bad. He reaches out to us in ways we often overlook and He wants us to notice Him. But He also wants to be reached out to--not just when we need something. He wants us to talk to Him as much as possible. If we do that, we'll never feel alone.
If we come out from behind our fig leaves, we can relate to Him and also to others who struggle as we do. In turn He uses that to heal both our pain and theirs.