The moment they partook in the fruit that was forbidden by God they realized their nakedness. Everything changed. One moment their greatest worry was finding a new place in the garden to experience the beauty of all God made and the very next moment they realized that they stood naked before one another. That perfect image was broken and the first couple experienced shame.
Their vulnerability was on display and it was overwhelming. As they each looked at the other, instead of security, they were filled with questions and doubt. Shame entered the picture – the fear of not being loved nor accepted – and the result was an uncontrollable urge to make themselves more acceptable to the other.
So they sewed together fig leaves. To cover up their nakedness. The openness in which they lived with each other was now hidden behind a protective layer of chlorophyll. It might as well have been a wall.
New questions must have flew through their mind – Does this person love me? If s/he really knew me, deep down, they would run away. They are just using me. – Trust was in doubt. Instead of oneness, there was fear.
But this was not the end. Far from it – there are footsteps in the garden – God is coming! We must hide. Shame caused Adam and Eve to lose touch with the image. It was broken, and so was their relationship with the Creator
Rather than trust, there was now doubt about God’s goodness, doubt about whether He really wanted what was best for them. With the Creator, the realization of nakedness was even worse – fig leaves were not enough – they needed to run away and hide among the trees. To cover their broken image, they hid from the one who created it.
We do the same things. In our relationships, instead of sewing together fig leaves we pursue social status, wear new clothes, are seen with the right people, have the right job, recycle, work out, believe what others do, are overtly sexual, etc. These things cover our shame, we think, and make us acceptable. Creating a barrier so that others will not know the real us, because to do that would open us to not being loved nor accepted. There is less risk with the fig leave. If we are rejected, then either I can fix my leaf or blame it on the inadequacy of the other.
Confronted by God, we run. We ignore. We blame and curse. We question God and his motives and ways. Throwing everything we can between Him and us.
The trees are all around us. Religion looks nice, but it is a forest to cover our nakedness. We create our own standards and truth so that we can make ourselves more acceptable, covering our broken image from our Creator.
The false self we create serves a dual purpose – it is a barrier to others knowing us, and a way to hide from God. In our broken state, the false self is our attempt to fix ourselves. Fig leave and forest.
In your relationships, what are the fig leaves that you struggle to overcome?
How do you mimic Adam and Eve’s flight into the woods with God?
I work with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.
Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.