… the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ And he answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid’” (Genesis 3:9, 10 — NIV).

Confession — I watch a show called Naked and Afraid, though I don’t know why. I’m not comfortable being naked, and I don’t like feeling afraid. 

Perhaps I believe it will help me overcome my fear of snakes, which are so prevalent in the jungles where this show is often filmed. Maybe there’s something in me that subconsciously enjoys seeing these willful contestants suffer — but that’s sick, and publicly I’ll deny it.

Ironically, I’ve been pondering my fear of snakes a lot lately. Then low and behold, just days ago, we discovered a nest — a momma and her five newly hatched babies — sunning themselves only feet from my garden where I routinely pick berries. Each time I reach into the strawberry patch, this has been one of my worst fears.

You see, I’m terrified of these belly crawlers. It’s not that I want them dead or desire they suffer. The other day, in fact, I straddled one with my van rather than crushing its head. I do, however, ask them to respect my space by maintaining a football field distance at any and every moment. Fully clothed — wearing boots and gloves and armed with hoe — I’m still afraid. 

Perhaps my phobia is due to lack of knowledge — unable to differentiate between the venomous and non-venomous varieties found in western North Carolina. Unlike on Naked and Afraid, it’s highly improbable I’ll happen upon a boa constrictor in my blueberry bushes.

Maybe my fear is heightened by past experiences. Like the time a snake welcomed me from inside my dishwasher as I loaded dirty dishes. Its brief debut remains a mystery. Needless to say, I rarely open the door without remembering that moment — my subsequent guttural shriek and the way the gravel felt on bare feet as I ran outside, as far away as I could, hiding until Hero Husband proclaimed it safe to return home.

I’m afraid the naked truth is this — my fear confirms I’m Eve. Like her, I battle temptation, a propensity toward willfulness and even broader fear. Though snakes remind me of the enemy, they symbolize my selfishness — revealing my frailty, my sinful nature.

Pride is often exposed with an “It’s my way or the highway” attitude — something so contrary to the Christlikeness I profess to pursue. And selfishness separates me from my Creator — the One who walks with me, talks with me and tells me I am His own (In the Garden, Charles A. Miles). It’s only in His presence that I’m most safe, so why ever would I run? Why do I hide?

Only in shedding self and allowing Christ to cleanse and dress anew can one walk in confidence, clothed in strength and dignity — free to laugh at the days to come (Prov. 31:25).

So, NO FEAR — of the future… or of snakes. Although, while wielding my sword of the Spirit, I’ll likely still be wearing gloves in the garden.