The floor was cold and the walls were high, but at some point they had become transparent.
I do not remember when I moved on from my identity as a happy high school cheerleader with all the friends and the confidence to talk to just anyone to who I found myself to be that night.
At some point I traded the girl that had experienced a great deal of trauma, but had put a skirt on it to one that felt trapped by it all. That girl, she was wearing pajamas.
For years I was able to stuff and pack and hide the things that happened in my home, but as more happened, more knew, and as more knew, there was more to pack.
As wall builders we travel with a lot. First you pack survival things, protection things, and anything else you may need to not feel in the moment, but then as more people get involved, you start packing things like defense, offense, and any other things, be it anger, words, or other’s own trauma, that you may hold as ammunition prepared to weaponize it if you feel attacked.
The sack gets heavy. The walls get high. Pretending it is not or they’re not, only leaves you brick and mortaring your own tower to topple.
There comes a time, I believe, in everyones life where we have a revelation.
Revelation is defined as a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially that is made known in a dramatic way, but it is derived from the latin word revelare and that means to lay bare.
The floor was cold, the walls were high but they had become transparent. I had become uncomfortable in a new way instead of a traumatic one. This unveiling, for me, was the acknowledgement of my own wrong doing. I had spent all of those years hurting others to protect myself, and suddenly, quite suddenly if I’m being honest, I knew that some things were bigger than me and none of them were an excuse for reactive behavior, even if I recognized it as a trauma response.
Trauma built my walls, but God set my boundaries. The two aren’t the same.
Genesis 2 starting in verse 15- “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. and the lord God commanded the man saying, “You may surely eat of every tree and of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.”
God gave man a place and a purpose, but he also gave him restrictions. God set boundaries.
So many think that the church is a reformed way of disciplining people, but in a way that appears less rule-like than actual rules.
God says the boundaries are for the prevention of death.
Genesis chapter 3 is known as the fall. The serpent deceives Eve into questioning what God really said, what He really meant.
Satan’s tactics haven’t changed.
He doesn’t make us draw a line between right and wrong, but right and almost right.
God said forgive, forgive them 70×7, but He had to mean only if they were sorry right?
God said love Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds, but surely He meant when we weren’t busy with our families or our careers?
God said Jesus came to forgive our sins, so doesn’t that mean that even if we do it… we’re good?
He tricked her and she ate; so do we.
“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves lion clothes” ch.3 v7
What are boundaries?
God set a boundary, but no that we may be deprived but protected.
“and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Isn’t it ironic the very thing God forbid them of, they hide in?
Lies, sex, drugs, manipulation, idolatry, status.
The floor was cold, the walls were high, but they had become transparent.
“but the Lord called to the man and said to him where are you? and he said I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
God calls us, but we are not sure we want to answer until we do. God, I’m scared. I’ve done stuff; I’m hiding”
“who told you you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to?” -God
God wants us to acknowledge our nakedness, he wants us to see our sin, and He desires for us to confess it. He knew they’d taken of the fruit; He knows the things we’ve done too, but He will never stop asking us about it, not because He needs to know it, but because we do.
Adam replied, “The woman whose YOU gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”
“God this is your fault.”
I’m naked, I’m ashamed. God, why didn’t you hear me; why didn’t you answer my prayer; God, how could you let this happen? God, why?
“God asked the woman, “what is this that you have done?”
The woman said, “the serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
“God, it’s not my fault; God, I did but…; God they….”
and then there were consequences.
This scripture doesn’t tell us how Adam and Eve reacted here. I wonder if they respond sometimes how we do? It’s hard to imagine that if they did what God told them once, when He confronted them and gave them their punishment, they would say something like “oh okay cool.”
God gave instruction, set a boundary, to protect us. They were naked before they ate, but they knew it after and they hid.
I think we do too.
When things aren’t what culture teaches us they should be… we hide it. We pretend that we have money that we don’t, that our marriage is good when it’s failing, that we’re not depressed but we are.
We stuff, we build, and we’re the source of our own destruction, of our own undoing.
“and the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them”
When Adam and Even realized they were naked, they sewed fig leaves for themselves… so why then, did God clothe them? Weren’t they already covered?
Because walls are not boundaries, and figs aren’t forever.
You can build your walls. I built mine. Convince yourself that you can do it, you can fix it, you don’t need anyone else, or that no one else has to know… but while you can cover it up, you can’t fix it; just because you think you don’t need anyone, doesn’t mean you don’t, and while no one else may never know, you always will.
Those things will be enough until they aren’t.
The walls you think are saving you, are the very ones that will suffocate you because pretending things are pretty will never make them be pretty.
But God made garments and clothed them.
He made a way.
He set boundaries, knowing they would cross them. He gave them an opportunity to confess, but they hid and them they blamed Him for it. He gave them consequences, but He also gave them grace.
You want to learn how to set boundaries? First understand what they are.
They are protection.
It’s black or white. It’s either biblical or it’s not. God didn’t mince rules or standards. There aren’t what-if clauses or but-they-did-first excuses.
Satan is a liar.
You want to know if God really said it? Go read it for yourself.
Separate how you feel from what you know is the truth, and don’t be enticed to make something it’s not.
but when you do… and you will…. you don’t have to save yourself.
The gospel started so early, in the very beginning God gave instruction and we birthed disobedience, He called and we hid, He gave opportunity and we gave excuses.
Even still, He covered it. Then He gave garments, but now He’s given blood… just to know you.
Thank you. Thank you for giving us boundaries, for what they mean God and what they are for. As we continue to discuss these in the weeks to come, I pray that you would be our compass, that you would show us in your word what it means to draw those lines, and how we can be confident in them. Father, thank you for making a way for us in our nakedness, in our sin God. I pray that would spend less time pretending and more time healing, less time hiding and more time being honest, and less time helping ourselves and more time knowing you. God thank you for consequences, thank you for grace, but mostly, God, thank you for you.