It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I wish I could say that it’s because I’ve been super busy, but that’s not the case. Especially this past week–I didn’t have a single class. Every single one of them was cancelled because of the crazy weather we had. I really can’t complain; although, this week affirmed the fact that I need routine. I love the spontaneity and possibilities that can arrive from not having plans, but I can only have that for so long, ya know? But let me stop there and get to the heart of what’s on my mind at an hour that I clearly should be sleeping.
Per usual, there’s a lot swirling around in my head, but let’s see if we can narrow things down a bit, shall we?
There’s this great song by Jessie J called ‘Strip.’ *If you haven’t heard it, take a few moments and go listen to it.* I really like the song because it’s not only super catchy, but it’s super honest.
The chorus goes:
Show me your love, let’s stay up all night
Tell me your secrets and not your lies
Take it all off, what you got inside?
Baby, strip, strip, strip, strip, strip, strip
This could be love if you blow my mind
Ooh, don’t you dare give me your disguise
Take it all off what you’ve got inside
Baby, strip, strip, strip, strip, strip, strip.
So, one day while I’m listening to Jessie kill it vocally as I walk across campus, it hits me–we need to strip! We need to take everything off! It’ll be so much more freeing!
-That’s illegal, Jayna.
-Public nudity is a crime.
–I know! Not literally, metaphorically…
As I’ve been in college, I’ve noticed a few things. (I should probably change a ‘few things’ to ‘a lot of things,’ but ya know, I don’t graduate until May, so…). One of the major things I’ve noticed is this condition that has been in existence for as long as I can remember. I’m going to call it “The Layers.” Because I go to school in the mountains, wearing several layers to class is not uncommon, it’s actually highly suggested. The problem with wearing so many layers, though, is that when you finally get from point A to point B, you’re sweating like a dog. So what’s the typical response? Take off all the layers. It’s logical. It would be so uncomfortable to sit through an entire class bundled to the nines. (I know that’s not how the phrase goes, but I’m gonna use it). But let’s pretend you don’t have to sit through class, you’re just popping inside to get a coffee before heading home. That endeavor should only take about 5-10 minutes max, right? Maybe even less. It would take so much effort to take off all of your layers, hold them, order your coffee, pay, get your coffee, add cream and sugar, put the coffee down, put all of your layers back on, pick your coffee back up, and leave. So what’s the typical response in this situation? Leave the layers on. Waiting in line is only temporary in comparison to the more permanent setting of sitting in a classroom.
But you see, I don’t think “The Layers” condition that I mentioned above has anything to do with actual clothes. However, I think it has much to do with pride, anger, bitterness, selfishness, insecurity, shame, fear, worry and any other layer that we put on to try and protect ourselves. I think we each have on so many layers in an attempt to keep our hearts from the cold, to not expose our skin to the air beyond our control. I know I have them. I think we put on the layers because we’re convinced deep down that whatever “it” may be is only temporary and we can handle it on our own without the help of anyone else.
I was talking to a friend a couple weeks ago and I was explaining to her that some things in my life needed to change, but I didn’t really want to do anything about it. I said, “I know that I would be so much more comfortable if I took off this jacket, and my scarf, and my hat, and my gloves, but that takes a lot of effort, and I’m scared. And it’s a lot easier to sit here with all my layers on and be miserable.” (I was speaking metaphorically, of course). And there’s the kicker–it’s a lot easier. Yes, to sit in my shame and insecurity and hide what’s really going on is a lot easier than to expose the truth or to even make a grand gesture in the name of confidence. I know my layers, I understand my layers, I can control my layers. And as long as I’m wearing them, I can keep everyone at a distance. I can fool everyone because they can’t see what’s underneath. I can appear as though I don’t need any help, when the fact of the matter is: I do. We all do.
At RUF a few weeks ago, our campus minister talked about sanctification. He pointed out that we often think that the Lord is more concerned with our behavior than anything else; but we’re wrong. 1 Samuel 16:7 talks specifically about how the Lord looks at our hearts. Jesus sees us. He sees our mess and he says, “You’re beautiful.” He sees our struggle and says, “I want to make you holy.” He sees our insecurity and says, “Don’t worry, you’re mine.” And how beautiful it is to be truly known, fully exposed, totally seen, and still immeasurably loved by the Lord!!
It’s easy to live with The Layers, but it’s so much more free to shed them. I’m with Jessie, “…don’t you dare give me your disguise, baby, strip, strip, strip, strip, strip, strip!” And I don’t know, but I think there’s something really…staggering, something really wonderful about being able to share your heart with someone else and have them do the same. There’s wisdom in knowing who to share with, but I fully believe it’s worth pursuing.
[Lord. It’s really hard to be honest. It’s also really hard to be vulnerable. Would you show me the beauty in shedding my layers and allowing you and others to love me? Give me the strength and wisdom to be who You want me to be.]