Letting Go of a Lie
I don’t think I’m revealing a deep secret when I say this…the feeling of being vulnerable really sucks. At a basic level this feeling is rooted in the belief or perception that in some way we don’t measure up. The feeling of being ‘less than’ or ‘not being up to the task’ can manifest in so many ways. The general effect of this feeling can range from a simple annoyance to being deeply wounding. It can show up in our conscious awareness or in our subconscious. In my conversations with folks throughout the years, the feeling of vulnerability will often show up in dreams, rooted in an anxiety of standing before people and being unprepared. For me, the dream of showing up to preach on Sunday morning without a sermon, or worse yet being naked, is very disconcerting. Even though I can find the humor in a dream like that, I’ve also known more destructive forms of vulnerability. As a survivor of abuse, I grew up immersed in the toxic lie that I was ‘less than’. I’ve spent most of my life learning the self-care skills that would enable me to let go of this lie and see myself as God has created and called me to be.
Created In the Image of God
There have always been voices in our world who would claim that some in our world are ‘less than’. They make arbitrary judgments about who is in and who is out, who is worthy and who is not, and most especially, who is worthy of God’s love and who is not. It usually plays out like this: Because you are a woman, you’re less than (sin was Eve’s fault); or, because you identify as LGBTQIA you are less than; or by any number of other superficial limiting factors people are judged as less than. This has the effect of marginalizing and dehumanizing people. Here’s the rub, it is all a lie. Before we encounter sin with Adam and Eve, we are told unequivocally that humanity is made in the image and likeness of God. There is nothing that changes that fundamental truth. Even in our worst mistakes, this truth is never lost. Certainly, it can be obscured when we break community with God and one another, but not lost. This is an element that is often lost when we consider the Adam and Eve story in Genesis 3.
It doesn’t take long for Adam and Eve to recognize that they’ve broken community with God. The eating of the ‘apple’ as original sin has always seemed problematic to me. Transgressing the ‘law’ is a significant breach of community, but it is dramatically compounded by the ways that Adam and Eve both tried to evade responsibility for their actions. Clearly, they were feeling vulnerable before God because they knew what they had done. The story makes clear that they would try everything within their power to avoid feeling naked. Even today we see that dynamic play out with very dramatic consequences. How much damage is done in the human community by people choosing to avoid responsibility instead of stepping up for their mistakes and seeking restoration with the people who have been harmed by their actions. You are invited to join this faith community, in-person or online, as we explore more fully how this story paves the way to healing, wholeness, and a healthy response to the vulnerability that is part of our life. Together we will consider how we can claim our truest identity as we are made in the image and likeness of God.