*Please note that any reference made to sex is to be construed as happening between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship.
This year I re-watched Season 1, 2 and 3 of the TV show Arrested Development. It is about the dysfunctional Bluth family and the ridiculous things they get up to. One of the characters is a man named Tobias Funke. He is married to Lindsay Funke (nee Bluth) and one of the running jokes in the show is that Tobias is a ‘never-nude’ – he can never be completely naked, not in front of his wife, not even when he takes a bath or showers. He wears blue cutoffs all the time and his fear of being completely naked is just one of many problems in Tobias and Lindsay’s marriage.
The show frames his nudity issue in a way that is really hilarious but if you think about it is not funny at all. It is really sad. For whatever reason, he wants to hide what is underneath those cutoffs. His behavior is bizarre but I can kind of understand it.
My friends and I often talk about how excited we are about marriage and finally being able to know a man inside- out. How wonderful! But we forget that it means giving ourselves to another person, completely – stretch marks, folds and all.
Two things about sex are a little inconvenient: firstly, it is done naked and that’s something that’s really hard to avoid. Secondly, it necessarily involves someone other than yourself – someone with their own opinions, thoughts, prejudices, someone you cannot control. That is scary. And when we’re scared we hide.
Here’s a guide on how to get naked:
Strip off coat the coat of perfection.
Yes, I know that it’s been said that “God don’t make ugly!” but maybe He makes ‘unattractive’? Because there are parts of me that cannot be described as anything else. I can’t deny it! A friend recently said to me: “My friend, you are not perfect. But nobody expects you to be.” It stung a little, as truth sometimes does, but I really needed to hear it. We all need to hear that people see our imperfections but love us anyway. That our imperfections are part of what makes us human.
My friend, your body isn’t perfect, but no one expects it to be.
Tear of the shirt of shame.
For different reasons, some of us associate nakedness with being “dirty”. And the thought of being naked feels wrong. Maybe it’s cause you’re a Christian who has spent most of their life trying not to get naked and you may have been taught that your body and all things related to it are evil. Or perhaps your ideas of nakedness became perverted early on: through porn, someone else sexually violating you, or any number of things.
What we are ashamed of we will always hide. In many ways being ashamed is a comfortable place to be in because we’ve felt that way for so long and can’t really imagine what it’s like to feel otherwise. And it feels easier to hide than to deal with the stuff.
But shame has a way of growing and leaving no room for anything else. You start hiding the stuff you are ashamed about and then you end up hiding you.
Unzip, unfasten and cast off the pants and undergarments of self- defence and self protection.
Haha. Undergarments is a funny word. Maybe that one was a bit of a stretch. But stay with me. When you finally stand before someone else, completely naked, flaws and all, that kind of puts you in the line of fire. The ball is in the other person’s court, you’re vulnerable. At that point, the other person could burst out laughing, screw up their face in confusion, start criticising or reject you and leave you hanging. But wait, that’s fear talking.
Maybe something beautiful could happen. Maybe as you stand there completely defenseless you will feel the arms of the one you love embrace you, speaking protection and acceptance, telling you that you’re safe.
Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of a bigger story woven into your own.
Jesus the perfect one loved us in our imperfection.
He carried our shame as if it were His own.
And He’s a strong tower for the weak, a shelter for the naked, a defender of the defenceless.
Please share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.
Thanks for reading.