Out of Exile: Day 26 – Facing Your Nakedness

Exile is an experience that brings you to the very core of your being. It forces you to confront who you really are and decide if you can live with that person or not.

Before you enter the stripping of exile, two things have happened: you  have achieved certain goals that make you feel good about yourself, or you at least have aspirations to achieve certain goals. Whether you realize it or not, much of what makes you feel good about yourself and your life is your accomplishments and the positive opinions that people have of you.

You might talk about your faith in God and sing songs stating: “all I have is you Lord,” or whatever the cliché might be. But you don’t really know what you base your worth on until everything is removed…until you are “naked” as Richard Rohr says.

Naked isn’t a very attractive condition for most of us. Clothes are a good thing for many reasons!  They hide what we lack and project a positive image regardless of what is underneath. When the clothes come off and you come face to face with who you really are, (without the trophies, achievements, and pedigrees,  any hope for future success, or accolades from those you respect) can you live with that person? Can you feel as good about THAT person as when all your clothes are on and you are lookin’ good. 

…you don’t really know what you base your worth on until everything is removed…until you are “naked”…

Our mind typically goes in two directions at this point. We obsess  about how worthless we are or look out and cast blame on God and others for allowing us to come to such a miserable state.  To be stripped of our “clothing” can be devastating because we don’t know who we are without them. We can’t define ourselves without them. We NEED them…at least that’s what we think.

Exile forces the questions: do you need anything more than God to be fulfilled and happy?  Is all your God talk genuine or is it just one more article of clothing that you put on to make you feel valuable and acceptable to others?

One of the reasons exile is so painful is we just don’t like our naked selves that much. Listen to your inner voice. My guess is there are many self-condemning thoughts. How could you let this happen? You are such a fool. This is what dad warned you about. This will never change. It’s only going to get worse and you can’t fix it. You had your chance. God is finished with you now...and on and on and on.

Our discomfort with nakedness makes us judgmental, toward ourselves and others. I believe one of God’s goals in exile is for us to learn how to accept our nakedness without feeling the need to critique it.  Wouldn’t it be great if, when we see weakness, it immediately leads us to thank God for his grace and mercy toward us and not ranting about the ugliness of what you see?

Sadly, many people never let God do the work that he brought them into exile to achieve. We all know people like that. They are bitter, unfruitful, self-centered, and alone. You don’t want to be that person.

But for some, exile transforms them. It’s a turning point. Everything is different after that divorce, or death, or accident, or affair, or heart attack, or lay-off, or betrayal, or whatever it was that sent them into exile in the first place. They discover that it never was about their ability to acquire the biggest list of awards and achievements. Their worth came from only one place: God, purchased by Jesus with his death.

God will allow just about anything to get you to come to that realization, because once you do, it’s a game-changer. Life will take on an entirely new meaning and his Spirit will finally find full access to your heart.

How do you handle your own “nakedness”?  What have you seen in yourself and how have you handled it (for good and bad)? Leave a comment below. Thanks.

Facebooktwitterrss

9 thoughts on “Out of Exile: Day 26 – Facing Your Nakedness

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Thanks Bob. Good to hear. It doesn’t seem “tremendous” when I’m writing. I’m glad it stuck a chord. I’m never sure how well I said it until someone writes back!

  1. Jim

    Very insightful. I just took a new job and immediately have experienced exposure of nakedness – that is, areas where I fail. I don’t like it. I don’t want to be critical and judgmental, but I am. I don’t want to wallow in pity, but I do. Yet, I can also say that I am experiencing God’ grace and peace in surprising, unexpected, miraculous ways.

  2. Lisa

    2 reflections that came to mind: Based on 1 Timothy 6:6-8 ” But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” This kind of stripping of down to just clothing and food, I’ve been there. By the grace of God, I could do it again, but I would rather not for an extended period of time. Anything beyond food and clothing are really the frosting and cherries on the cake. Thankful for the abundance.

    The other thought is being naked before God. Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” I’m thankful to God for the great peace I have with this verse. I’m like a toddler who really hates wearing clothing and a diaper before God. He is the safest one to be uncovered and laid bared before. We dialogue everyday. There is nothing I try to hide from God. I’m the first one to tell on myself if need be. I listen while he teaches me through His Word. I want him in my thoughts, I want him to know the words on my tongue before I do. It’s part of being fearfully and wonderfully made in His image! Psalm 139. I’m eager for His providential touch in my life. There will be no surprises when it comes to me giving account to God from my end.

    I’m deeply thankful for the stripping and nakedness Jesus went through for each one of us. We are healed by his stripes. I’m glad He’s the one and only high priest I have to deal with, that the order of His priesthood is forever and will not change. Thank God for that! I’m deeply moved that in all that He went through for us (he is able to empathizes with us) and He really “gets us”..he understands us, He cares for us. This relationship that He created makes it easy to approach “the throne of grace with confidence… That we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Thanks Lisa for your continual input. You are clearly a woman of the Word. I’m impressed at how what I wrote immediately brought you to those verse. Lots of insight there to chew on further. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous

    I can very definitely identify with this – and for me it connects to your post on Day 25 and to Marcia’s comments on that Day 25.

    For me the nakedness was very much connect to losing my (earthly) identity. Similar to Marcia, everything I thought I knew about myself, everything I believed God had made me to be – the place He had given me in this world – even the grounding for my masculinity – was gone. I no longer had that safe refuge of knowing who I was in times of fear or exhaustion or feeling inferior or….

    I did recognize though, that losing my identity was a great “opportunity” to fully and completely ground my identity in Christ. There is lots to read (just Google “Identity in Christ”) – preachers like to preach on it and writers like to write about it. I dug deep into scripture – Ephesians and Isaiah 55 became my anchors.

    But in the end, after a couple years of intense pursuit, I concluded that a pure, sole Identity in Christ is, at some level, on this side of Eternity, elusive. I could understand it intellectually, but I could not (for more than moments at a time) really internalize my identity in Christ apart from my earthly identity.

    The “clothes” you talk about in this post – our dreams, accomplishments and aspirations – that’s for me translates into an earthly identity – we really can’t function for long or very well without it. But when it’s gone, we can see things in ourselves and others that is not otherwise apparent.

    You are also correct in stating that this nakedness can be excruciating. It can easily make (at least me) judgemental, bitter, envious, alone, insecure – all that and more. That’s the easy path, for sure. The other path – to find worth and purpose – identity – in Christ alone – has been a very difficult and slow journey that I am still very much struggling my way through. It’s the good and right path – but definitely hard.

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing your real-life experience and honesty. It reminds me of an earlier comment (I suppose it could be from you since it was also anonymous) where the person said that they thought they would always be in exile to some extent because of the nature of their loss. I hate to concede that, because “on paper” there seems to be a way out of exile. But sometimes there is a gap between what we know and what we feel. Some of us are more “feelers” while others are more “thinkers” (neither one being better than the other). “Feelers” have a tougher go of it. I wish I had an answer for this, but I do commend you for your response to your exile…that you are struggling but you know clinging to your identity to Christ is the good and right path – but definitely hard. Please press on. You can lead the way for others, and in doing so, I trust you will see new things about God and your humanity that you wouldn’t otherwise see and can share that with other travelers.

  4. Pingback: Out of Exile: Day 31 - Facing Your Shame - F. Remy Diederich

Comments are closed.