Part Two: My Fig Leaves:
Once I entered this world the first people I looked to to give me love were my parents. I didn’t understand how sin had distorted everything. I just wanted to feel good about myself... to know that I was wanted, loved, needed. It was a natural response to the broken world I had entered.
Being a parent myself as I write those words I feel their weight. What a burdensome expectation to put on others. It’s another one of sin’s misrepresentations brought onto this world. No one can give me love. People can only be expressions of love. God is the giver of love. As a child, I didn’t understand that therefore I looked to many different sources to find something that only God could give.
Once we get out in the world around us it’s easy to look at how others respond. It didn’t take long for me to turn to my peers. Moving into my late elementary school years I began a gradual move towards boys. Maybe one of them would find me pretty. Possibly one would like me. Believe it or not I had a steady boyfriend at 10 years old.
For years men became the outlet that I ran to for the love I so desperately longed for. At the core of every woman’s heart is a longing to be desired. I took my desire to men.
With each failed attempt at finding love I believed things about myself, things that were far from truth, yet I had no clue. Messages were woven into the fiber of my being. After all a child can only reason through the mind of a child, interpreting actions and reactions. With each negative reaction of unfulfilled desire I believed it must be me.
You don’t realize the traps that are set in your path you just get caught up in them. Many traps were set along my way. It seemed one thing after another spoke a resounding message. “You’re not what people want.” It became the programming of my mind.
I grew up in the church, praying a prayer in the third grade out of fear that I would end up in hell. I was the queen of Bible drills, memorized scriptures, attended church faithfully. I knew about God, yet I was far from Him. I remember an old pastor of mine saying to me once, “Just let God be God.” I didn’t have a clue what that meant.
One dating relationship after another left me more rejected than the one before. Would anyone in this world ever want me? I couldn’t see how that could ever be. Alone and empty at age 22 I felt as if I had reached the end of life. Desperate to be loved I knew that if I did not find it, I would surely die. I cried out to the One who is love. He came for me.
At that moment He covered my shame. He exchanged my life for Christ's, giving me a new identity, but I was oblivious. I entered into the relationship with Him much like I did everyone else. Surely I was His Cinderella. He had to take me because I wanted Him. Full of shame, feeling like damaged goods, I felt pity for Him that He was stuck with someone like me. Maybe if I did enough, worked hard enough, somehow He would grow to want me. It became the hope I held to.
We all make our coverings in life. Much like Adam & Eve we turn to things to hide our nakedness and shame. I covered my shame with fig leaves of performance and striving. I became a hard worker for the Kingdom of God and I was good at it. I did things well. I did them fast. You could count on me.
Finally I believed I had found my niche. After all everyone wanted a hard working, religious woman. Maybe now God would be pleased with me. Maybe now I would find a place in His heart. Little did I know it would be the beginning of my demise.
©copyrighted: 2010; Julie L. Todd
Next up: Part Three: Lost in Translation