A friend of mine uses an HR tool, called a Simmons Survey, to measure emotional intelligence in areas of life, like energy, conflict, detail, work and social scores.
The survey is able to distinguish how you view yourself from how others view you. The read-out of the survey has an “s” and an “o” score for each area… “s” for self and “o” for others.
The greater the distance between the “s” and the “o,” the more energy you are investing maintaining your image. The more energy you spend maintaining an image, the less energy you have left to do the job.
The truth is we all are hiding behind a cover, hoping the worst of who we are can’t be seen by others… meanwhile projecting the best image possible.
Shame is at the heart of it.
Covering the shame is lot of pressure.
It takes a lot of work.
We all want to be covered.
The story of Ruth is a perfect example.
As a Moabite woman in Bethlehem, she was the wrong ethnicity, spoke the wrong language, an outsider, and despised by the locals.
She was from a country considered to be the enemy of Israel and definitely didn’t fit in.
As a widow with no family and no source of income, she would have been viewed as a drain on local resources.
And as an unattached young widow, she might have been viewed with some suspicion by the other women of the town.
There was a lot of pressure to maintain a protective cover!
So, Naomi instructs Ruth on how to appeal to Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi’s, as their kinsman redeemer (Ruth chapter 3). A marriage to Boaz would remove the stigma surrounding Ruth and free her to be all that God planned for her.
So… she followed Naomi’s instruction, and when Boaz became aware of her presence that night on the threshing floor, she appealed to him, “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman redeemer.”
It was a symbolic gesture, meaning that Ruth would be covered, protected, and free of every stigma to function in the town with her head held high.
From that day on Ruth would live under the covering of Boaz.
She would be family.
Interesting that God uses the same imagery to describe His relationship with Israel.
“When I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness…you became mine” (Ezekiel 16:8).
Can you hear the God of all creation speak those words over you today?
Can you feel the corner of His garment cover over everything you have been or are ashamed of in your life?
God covers you!
He created you exactly the way you are for His purposes and glory.
He is redeeming you… including the things you don’t like about yourself.
You can drop all pretense, all posturing.
God has you covered.