“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they… made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:7
I, too, am painfully aware of my own nakedness. Like Adam and Eve, my awareness of it often causes me to cover, to hide. (see v. 10) True, modesty does play a part in our wanting to cover ourselves and that is certainly valid. Even after God admonished Adam and Eve in the garden, he made them clothes, wanting them to be covered, comfortable. But let’s just look at the idea of being comfortable in our own skin. After all, isn’t that one of the issues that keeps us stuck in our eating disorders? I remember specifically times when I would think, “If I could just like what my body looked like, I would be able to stop ed.” I thought that if I improved my body image, that would improve my self-image. You see, I had linked the two..body image and self-image, they were the same to me.
As I researched for this post, something caught my attention about the connection with body image, self-image, and eating disorders. Let’s take a closer look at our Genesis passage:
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:6-10
Note here that Eve looked at the food, it looked good, and she thought it would give her something she desired–so she ate it. As a child hearing this story or as a Christian woman reading it I might say, “How could she do that? How could she not follow the ONE rule?! Doesn’t she love God? Why is she doing that?” Yet, was I any different in my eating disorder? Is our culture any different in its quest to be fulfilled by food? Neither food, nor depriving ourselves of it will give us what we truly desire. There is only one way to get that—by keeping our hearts, mind, and strength focused on God and His Word.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
Peace. Isn’t that what we really want? I know that when I was struggling in my eating disorder, peace is what I longed for most. I wanted to be at peace with my body, myself, my circumstances, my life. I felt like if I could only be at peace with what I looked like, if I could gain a little wisdom in how to do that, I would be at peace in everything else. So, like Eve, I took the bait. I reached for what looked pleasing, what claimed would make me wise…those tricks, those plans, those ways that promised a better body, a better life. I tried to conform to the pattern of the world, but this pattern could not renew my mind. Paul reminds us of this in Romans 12:2 stating, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” As long as I continued with this culture’s plan to be at peace, I would never find it. I could not be transformed by trying to conform to the world’s ideas or plans for how to make me ‘happy’ with my body. We will touch on this more in later posts, but for now, back to Eve.
If she wasn’t even at peace in the garden, what hope do we have? Well, Eve was at peace for a time. Earlier in Genesis, we read about it:
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Genesis 2:25
Eve felt no shame about her body, even in the presence of her beloved. She had no shame. Why? I believe it is because she was in a place of complete trust in God. She fully placed herself in the hands of her Maker. She was cared for, protected, and loved perfectly. If that is not the definition of peace, I don’t know what it is!
So what happened between Chapter 2 and Chapter 3? Where did it all go awry? And what can we learn from Eve about thoughts leading to actions? There is much to learn in this story. God’s Word is indeed alive, active, and relevant for us today. In next week’s Out of the Valley post, we will look more closely at all of this. We will delve deeper into Eve’s motivation and our own. And we will search the Scripture for God’s plan to save us from all that seeks to destroy us. It is my hope that in doing so we will find out more about the Image on which we should be focusing….not ours, but His Son’s.
Point to ponder: What if Jesus’ body was the image on which I set my standard for my own body image? What does the Bible tell me about how He thought of, cared for, and used His body? What, if anything, does this mean for me?