Have you ever heard someone say something like… “This morning while I was in the shower it came to me that…”? Maybe you’ve had something like that happen yourself; I know I have.
I wonder why that is…
Maybe things like that happen sometimes because we are in a safe and private environment without outside distractions. Maybe things like that happen because we are relaxed, enjoying one of life’s little luxuries, enjoying the sensation of the warmth of the water on our skin as we put the cares of life aside for a few minutes; I’m not really sure, but it sometimes happens that in the midst of this time alone, ideas seem to come out of nowhere.
I recall vividly a time about 20 years ago when I realized that I was praying in the shower; I had started do so without being entirely conscious of it, and then I sort of “woke up” to the fact, and I was shocked at my own lack of reverence, and scolded myself for it: “Oh Lord, I’m sorry, please forgive me for praying while naked!”
That’s when it hit me that I still was… Yikes!
It really bothered me; even more so when it occurred to me that I had probably prayed in the shower many times without noticing my “offense” to God. As it turned out, that was a good thing, for it was the catalyst for my study of this subject. I can’t help chuckling now at my consternation at the thought of studying to figure out just how much trouble I had inadvertently gotten myself into.
As I’ve mentioned previously in these posts, nakedness is as much a state of mind as it is a state of being, and in the context of privacy and safety, it can be very relaxing. Not surprisingly, many over the centuries have found it useful as a spiritual discipline. There is something that takes place when we set aside our protective coverings in God’s presence; I’m thinking this is because we have taken away the last vestiges of separation between us and God in our own minds, bringing about a more tangible form of intimacy and transparency that is difficult to express or quantify. One thing is clear though, and that is that often physical nakedness is just as much a state of mind as it is a state of being. I realize that some, who read this might bristle at the very suggestion. Yet if this is what you’re thinking, ask yourself a question: Why?
If we believe the Bible when it tells us that God created us, and that humanity is the pinnacle of His entire Creation, and that He created us in His own image, body, soul and spirit, then why would we think He would be put off by our physical bodies? Why would we be ashamed in his presence? If He was inclined to be put off by us, would He be more likely to be put off by our nakedness or by our covering our bodies with the fashions of this world?
Now remember, we’re talking about being in privacy and safety, not in the local shopping mall…
Pastor Ed Raby, Sr. has written a series of posts on nakedness as a spiritual discipline, and while he approaches the subject a bit differently than I do, I would suggest that for anyone who is interested or curious about the subject, his thoughts are worth checking out on his blog All Things Rabyd. His index for this series can be found here.
I realize that for some this suggestion may not be for everyone, which is true of most of the classical spiritual disciplines, for God relates to each of us where we are, not at some arbitrary point. Yet I am confident that for many, it would be a worthwhile practice from time-to-time, just as fasting is a worthwhile practice for many at various times.
In our next discussion on this topic, we’ll move into the area of naked before God and others… but don’t freak; we will be strictly back in the metaphorical.