Christian Living

The Fig Leaf of Performance – and My Intention Not to Wear it This Year

By Kirrily Lowe

There are moments when truth hits you and instantly you can see.

Then there are times, like last year, when truth must be soaked in. When a lie has become entwined in your being without you even knowing. Knitted to the fabric of who you are without your conscious permission.

It goes on like a Band-Aid, or a big engulfing bandage. Quickly to cover the pain. Then it remains for years embedded into our skin until it feels like it is who we are, so enmeshed in our identity, that we forget who we really are.
Then there are moments, like last year, when the Lord declares it is time to soak. Time for freedom. Time for the embedded bandages to be gently and lovingly removed in an oiled and scented bath of truth.

Some of us call the lies Band-Aids. Some of us call them masks. Last year I began to call them fig leaves. The same fig leaves Adam and Eve stretched out to cover their shame in the first garden known to man.

Fig leaves weren’t bad in and of themselves. They formed part of the beautiful garden of God’s creation. They were just never meant to cover the glory of humanity.

And there is this one fig leaf. It’s a big, glorified one. It’s called performance. So many of us look at it, admire it, desire it. Then in a moment of brokenness, we grab at it. We rip it off the tree to cover our broken heart.

This fig leaf blocks the light, it covers the truth, it hides beauty, vulnerability and humanity.

It covers, but it doesn’t heal. It momentarily looks good, but the price to keep it on is high and will eventually cost you your energy, your joy, your peace, and the unique beauty of who you are.

Performance is not fruitfulness.

Fruitfulness is a fruit, not a leaf.

It grows from within; it’s not grabbed from without.

Fruitfulness doesn’t block our identity; it oozes out from our identity, from who we are in Christ.

The fig leaf of performance must be removed so fruitfulness comes forth.

It hurts. When a fig leaf is entwined in our nature, there are wounds underneath. Old wounds, raw wounds.

The Lord will only strip the fig leaf when He is intent on healing. When it is time for the raw open wounds, to be soothed, cleansed and healed.

Freedom and truth on the other side of the pain.

Battling to trust Him with my wounds, I allow Him to peel off the fig leaf of performance.

I scream a little, shrink back more than a little, but ultimately surrender to His work.

Knowing there is one tree that won’t just cover my wounds, but will absorb my wounds, heal my wounds, transform my wounds. Not a tree from the first garden, but a tree from the second garden.

The tree of the cross.

The only tree we are called to run and hide in.

I run in, and I feel its power. My wounds aren’t covered. They are absorbed.

I let go of the leaves, I step out from behind the other trees, and I smell freedom.

Kirrily xx


Kirrily and her husband Tim are the Senior Ministers and Founding Pastors of C3 Church City. Kirrily is passionate about seeing women released into their God-given identity and is known for communicating this through creative, poetic and colourful mediums, using teaching, poetry and fashion to bring full expression to this message. Kirrily is also the author of The Invisible Tree Series for children. She lives in Sydney with their three boys, Samuel, Harrison and Elijah. Instagram: kirrilylowe. Facebook: Kirrily Lowe

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