I got naked in church yesterday. It wasn’t easy, but I was brave. I decided to bare it all.
No, I wasn’t streaking in the sanctuary. Nor did I go topless to prayer meeting (that’s never going to happen, just to be clear). I only stripped in a metaphorical sense.
I’ve been organizing an art project for the past several months. Half a dozen artists each painted a canvas to represent a different name of God. The result has been eclectic and chaotic and more than a little bit awesome. Each piece is so unique, and listening to the stories behind them has been inspiring.
Most of the artists have snuck into the office with their canvas wrapped in layers of paper and clutched to their chest so no one can see it. It takes visible effort for them to hand it over. I would pat their hand and say something reassuring, all the while wondering what their problem was. These are beautiful works of art… what’s with the hesitant shuffle and apologetic explanations?
Then I decided to make one of my own. Granted, this is not my medium; I am a writer, not an artist. I knew I would be the only novice in the company of accomplished artists. But we are hoping to open this project up to everybody in the church – so someone should represent the regular folks. We all have a voice, and the purpose of this project is to give everyone a chance to worship this way.
I had a great idea. I still love that idea. The final product isn’t perfect, it isn’t everything I hoped it would be, but it’s still a little piece of me.
So now, it’s me sneaking into the office clutching my canvas to my chest, afraid to show a single person. And I realized that this isn’t a new feeling. It reminds me of the way my heart drops into my stomach immediately after I press the “publish” button on this blog.
I write for myself. I enjoy the process. All day long I scribble random thoughts and phrases on scraps of paper. I would probably do it even if no one ever read it. But the minute I put it out there for the world to see I start to feel a little bit naked.
Does it say what I want it to say?
Will they understand?
Will they like it?
Will they like me?
And there it is. The crux of the matter. To quote George McFly “I just don’t think I can take that kind of rejection.”
So here’s me, with a new appreciation for nudists and artists alike.