Sunday, January 19, 2014


{photo by Jennifer}
{this piece has been recorded in my own voice here.}

we live in a place where being naked is forbidden, in the literal sense of sleeves and cleavage and measuring tapes, and the metaphorical sense of words and eyes and thoughts. in fact, I think the fear lies closer to the words than the wardrobe.

it's common knowledge that being covered up to the neck is accepted and seen as the best choice. and if you choose to bare anything that steps outside the line, you risk getting hurt, and it would be your fault. because they told you the rules, and you stepped outside the circle.

it's barefoot coal walking with everyone whispering around you, you're going to get burned, you're going to get burned, you're gonna get burned. someone comes forward with shoes, a pair of socks, nylons. their offerings are well-meaning, but the intent is the same: cover yourself. they're tugging at your ankles, and you're wobbling, clumsily trying to stammer out a plea for them to stop. but then you're face-down on the embers with burn marks on your face, and the chiding comes in thick and fast.

you brought this on yourself, you know. that's what you get for playing with fire. we warned you.

but they missed the point. you're walking on hot coals with your bare feet, and you weren't getting burned until they started trying to cover you. your brave is showing, and it looks good on you. just because your bravery got scorched doesn't mean it went away. it just needs a little salve.

so you arch your neck and throw the socks in the fire-pit, with the shoes and the nylons, and maybe you take off your coat and add it to the pile. and you take a wild step, with the chant pulsing like blood in your veins. it's become your life-source, more oxygen and water than simple words repeated.

your brave is showing. your brave is showing. your brave is showing. 

repeat it as many times as the lies come, and maybe one more so that the brook-stone sinks deeper into the giant's forehead. it's not unladylike to wield a hammer, you builder-woman you.

there's wind on your skin, and it's cold and it'll make you shiver. but you'll take another wild step, and you'll hear the skin-sizzle and smell the smoke, and the flesh of your toes might char, just a little. but that hurt, it's the right kind, the kind that comes when you wake up and everything aches from the pushing and the stomping and the pressing with your back against the stone. the ache that comes when you wake up and find you moved a mountain overnight.

your brave is showing...step...

your brave is showing.... step...

{this post was inspired by my tribe of writers, the ones that hold my hand and my back in a way I've never experienced. want to join us in Story Sessions? there's always room for you with us.}


  1. Dear Rachel
    Oh, dear one, just keep on being brave and totally naked before your Lord Jesus. Can you imagine how foolish it will be for a bride to go to her wedding bed fully clothed. The poor groom would get more than he bargained for instead of the mystical love he hoped for. In the same way we need to enter our Lord's presence totally naked of the things of the world.
    Blessings XX

  2. Wow... what a beautiful picture! To lay your heart and soul bare... <3

  3. "your brave is showing, and it looks good on you. just because your bravery got scorched doesn't mean it went away. it just needs a little salve."

    Sometimes I get my brave on, get burned, and then get fully dressed again because I'm afraid. But then I'm reminded that we're not supposed to live so covered. Being alive means being vulnerable. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of writing and truth. Keep your brave on and laid bare.

  4. How did I miss this? I sent your blog to a friend and was directed back to this post. "Rachel knows something about being naked." Naked is my "word" for the year.

    I have been burned before. But I'm getting back up now, stronger. And I'm going to keep walking. I'm so, so glad that I don't have to do it alone. So grateful that we can be brave -- together. I needed this. I need you.


I look at you and see all the ways a soul can bruise, and I wish I could sink my hands into your flesh and light lanterns along your spine so you know there's nothing but light when I see you. :: Shinji Moon