We value the woman’s perspective on naturism, which is why we are thrilled to have interviewed our friend, Michelle Miller.She is an online friend that we trust we will soon meet in person. She has a wonderful story, so let’s get right to it!
Q: How did you get into naturism?
A: First of all, I was afraid of being naked my whole life. At the beginning of last year, I began to pray that God would help me love my body. I began to read about body acceptance which led to seeing articles about Christianity and naturism. I was fascinated that people said they were closer to God because of it. This caused me to look up places in my area that I could visit. I called a clothing optional farm and spoke to the owner. She shared her story with me which encouraged me. She also explained that they monitored the guests, explaining that inappropriate behavior was not tolerated and background checks were required. She also explained naturism etiquette which made me feel better. This made me feel safe to try it.
Q: How does it change the way you view yourself, others, and God?
A: How I view myself: After I realized I had always been ashamed of my body, I asked God to forgive me for believing the lies of Satan regarding my body. That was an important step to my healing in releasing those chains. Once I stepped onto the property nude, I literally felt the heaviness fall off of me. I had a deep joy that I had never experienced in my life. I prayed in the woods prostrate in the pine needles. God said He would cause truth to enter every cell of my body from this as in Psalm 51:6. Psalm 51:12- Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit. I feel that this restored my joy that was taken by Satan and that I now have a free spirit because naturism set me free from lies and body shame. I am content and confident with how I look.
How I view others: I was a very accepting person before. But now I am much more accepting of people seeing beyond their outside shell. I have also experienced a deeper love for others. Seeing people naked the first time was a little difficult. But it is just a body. I believe we fear seeing others because of our own fears. When I saw others, I realized in a matter of minutes that they were just bodies. I had anxieties that were built in my mind from society that I overcame.
Q: I know some close to you believe you are in the wrong for being a naturist. What would you want to say to any skeptic?
A: I explain that in my life I have sincerely desired to follow God. He is the one who showed me this path. God brought verses to my mind that very first day I was nude in nature. I have experienced a closeness with God from following Him in naturism. I have also shared that I have met other solid Christians that God has led to this way of living and they all have benefited greatly.
Q: What would be your advice to women who struggle with the thought of participation in this lifestyle or naturist activities?
A: First, ask God to heal you from your negative body image. We were not meant to carry this burden. Ask God to break down any barriers that are in the way and to give you His mind regarding naturism. I would suggest sleeping nude. If able, start by being nude around the house nude. The air feels good on your skin. If you are able, go to a remote place and experience being nude outside. It is exhilarating. You will crave the feeling to do it again. Lastly, if your husband is a naturist and you are not, he struggles with your disapproval. Just try it! I have several good friends that have asked my advice from a woman’s perspective for approaching the subject with their wives and asked me to pray. Two of my friend’s wives have started to join their husband. They are beyond excited that their wives are part of naturism. Even if you have to take baby steps, your husband will be grateful. It will bring you closer together and you will benefit in ways you never thought possible. It is completely transforming! Give it a try. I dare you!
Have you ever met someone in person for the first time and felt an instant connection? I’ve only had that experience a few times in my life. Once as a 3rd grader at a new school, I met my best friend. We are still friends today. The others have been when I have met my fellow Christian naturists. If you have read our other blogs you know we went to Florida last year to a Christian naturist marriage retreat with some other couples we had been talking to online. When we showed up in Florida and were greeting each other, one of the ladies introduced herself and as she hugged us she said a phrase that has stuck with us, “Instant Family”. That phrase has become what we use to describe how it feels we have met others who are of like mind concerning the body.
It might feel this way because, well, they’ve now seen me nude. Although, most of my family hasn’t seen me that way and it doesn’t make them any less my family. And I have friends who don’t yet know about our naturism that I consider family, so I don’t think this is why.
I believe it is more about the spiritual connection. Many of these people we have chatted with online and have built up a friendship long before we have been able to give them hugs in person. We have had silly conversations and joked with one another. We have had deep spiritual conversations concerning many different topics. We have mourned with one another in times of loss and rejoiced in times of celebration. They know things about me that only a few outside of my naturist friends know. When we are given the opportunity to meet up in person it is something we look forward to with great anticipation!
There was a time maybe a year ago as we were really just starting our journey, that because of some internet glitches, we lost contact with some people (one in particular whose story is similar to mine and was helping me deal with the emotions and struggles I was having). I was devastated! I remember telling Phil through tears, I don’t know if I can do this without her to help me through it! She had literally become like a big sister to me! Thankfully, this glitch didn’t last long and we were able to get back in contact, but it did confirm in my heart that there was something special about the relationships we were building on this road.
This same friend was one that met up with us in Florida and after that experience she wrote some beautiful words about the experience. One of the things she said was this, “I am convinced that there is an intimacy that we are missing out on walking around in our clothes. It is an intimacy so deep that we don’t even miss it until you experience it. But it is there buried deep in our core waiting for us to come home…”
We have heard other friends say the same things. That this connection is very rare in the outside world especially so quickly. During these times we can be naked physically and spiritually and emotionally. During these times, I have never been more vulnerable. I’ve also never felt more safe. It’s here that I am accepted for who I am in so many ways. I am loved without having to prove my worth, because to my Christian naturist family, I am worthy just because I exist. God feels the same way about me and you. We don’t have to work hard to impress Him. We don’t have to say the right things, or look the “right” way, or go through the right motions to prove our worth, because in reality we never could anyway. God wants us as part of His family so much so that He offers us a lifeline through His Son. He loves us just as we are and desires a relationship with us that is so deep that we feel safe being vulnerable and naked in every way before Him. We should live in the confidence of His love for us!
Over a year ago, my husband stumbled upon a way to defeat Satan’s schemes by dealing his porn addiction a final blow! In October of last year, after he confessed to me the journey he was on, I started a journey into learning about the image of God in my own body. I’ve done a lot of study of scripture and reading books written on the subject and talking with people who have been on this journey longer than I have. It’s been a combination of very scary and so enlightening and liberating!
This summer my husband and I joined 5 other Christian couples at a villa in Florida. We were putting the things we have learned over the last several months to the test. We were about to find out if ethical naturism could really be a thing in our lives.
These couples all believe in our bodies as the image of God. We all believe in treating people with dignity and respect.
We all believe in monogamous marriage relationships. This is a group of married Christians who believe that non-sexual nudity can be experienced with others of like mind without it causing any of us to fall into sin. Last year I would have thought this was crazy! “NO WAY! That’s not possible! Oh my gosh, those sinners!! I’m too insecure! Everyone will be thinner than me! I don’t look good naked! No way I’m gonna let my husband see other naked women who have better bodies than me!” I would have said, “I will never do that!” Actually, I think the phrase I used with my husband regarding going to a nude beach was, “NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!” Oh and we did that too and it was awesome! At the beach, I had my sunglasses on and the 2nd or 3rd wave knocked them off my head and the ocean took them!
It’s as if God was saying, “No, you won’t wear anything this time, enjoy it as I created you!”
There was a lot of anxiety going into this week, even though I was excited to get away from the craziness of life for a bit. When we arrived at the villa after grocery shopping and putting everything away, it was time to cool off in the pool. I took a deep breath, took off my clothes, grabbed my towel and headed out to the pool where some of the others had gathered. It was weird at first because it was new. It didn’t take long though to embrace the feeling of the water on my bare skin without a tight bathing suit clinging to me. Actually, it was an amazing feeling!! After a while, I climbed into the hot tub with about 5 others and we began to talk.
I can honestly say the conversations we had have been some of the most open and honest and amazing conversations I’ve ever had in my life!
You know what I haven’t experienced? I haven’t experienced anyone acting inappropriately. I haven’t experienced anyone staring or gawking. Am I the skinny one here, no? Do I feel insecure about who I am and what I look like? Maybe a little bit if I stop and think about it too much, but as a general feeling, I am not even noticing it! I’m just enjoying the pool and laying out working on my tan free of tan lines. I’m cooking breakfast nude and eating it around the table with 11 other nude bodies. We are playing games and laughing and studying scripture and praying together and living out Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
We are learning about the Lord from each other and having a great time in the process!
I learned this week that being naked with others of like mind, not only physically but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally is nothing short of amazing! Literally nothing to hide! I never felt like I had to stop myself from saying something I wanted to say because of how it might be perceived. We spoke our minds and our hearts. We let God speak through us and to us. We were relaxed in the skin we were in.
Never in my life have I felt so confident! Even fully clothed!
Nothing could have prepared me for the conversation that would take place in my living room on that October day. It started like any other Friday. My husband works from home on Fridays, so they are generally very laid back. I had been watching a baking show on Netflix and was on the last episode and wanted to finish the season so I grabbed my coffee and sat down on the couch to watch. My hubby made me french toast that morning. It was very thoughtful of him, but looking back, he was probably buttering me up a bit. When he was done with breakfast he sat down on the love seat and “watched” with me. I do recall him being on his phone more than watching though.
When the show was over I started to get up, that’s when it happened. “We need to talk.” he said. My first thought was, “Oh dang!” I sat back down and got comfortable. As stated, I sensed this was going to be a doozy, and I wasn’t wrong.
He took his phone and started reading a script he had prepared ahead of time. The first few sentences out of his mouth had me wondering if he had had an affair. They went something like, “We’ve loved each other a long time. You’re the only one for me.” I sensed a HUGE “but” coming. Then it came. “I’m a nudist.” First thoughts on that phrase, “Duh.” I had known for a long time that he enjoyed being nude. I knew that as a teenager he would streak around his house and sometimes he and his friends would hang out nude. I knew that when the kids were not home he liked being nude and sometimes I would join him. I knew he liked skinny dipping. I knew that when we had gone camping just a few months earlier that he had been nude 95% of the time. I knew all of this about him so why did this feel like a big deal? There had to be more… and there was.
He revealed to me that he was part of an online community of Christian naturists (oxymoron in my book).
I started to feel anger rise up in me. “What does that even mean?,” I asked. He explained that he had become friends with other people who happened to enjoy being nude and who happened to be Christians. He told me that they were actually praying for us at that very moment because they knew he was going to be talking with me that morning. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I kind of felt ganged up on.
I knew he had struggled with pornography in the past, but this was taking it to a whole new level. Justifying seeing naked people because they are Christian naturists. It’s just taking something that is obviously wrong and twisting it so you feel like it’s ok.
I was livid! The tears began to flow because that’s what I do when I’m angry and hurt. He assured me it wasn’t like that, and that it was actually the total opposite. He reminded me how he had struggled with porn for the last 20 years and had tried over and over to defeat it. I knew that, because he had been honest with me about it several times. He went on to say that he had hit rock bottom and in his climb out of the pit he came across naturism. It wasn’t the first time he had crossed paths with naturism, but because of things we were taught in church and in a Christian upbringing he had dismissed it thinking it had to be wrong. He had met a man, a former pastor actually, who had directed him to a website, www.nakedandunashamed.org. Because of this man, and others, and ultimately the Lord working in his heart and mind, the chains of pornography had fallen away. His mind had been renewed and he no longer looked at other women lustfully, but as image bearers of God. He now saw others through eyes of admiration for a Creator instead of eyes of lust. I wasn’t convinced, but I sensed something inside me telling me to remain calm and hear him out. I know that voice, I’ve heard it before. It was the Holy Spirit, so I listened.
He went on to share with me his thoughts that maybe naturism could help me overcome my own body shaming issues.
He told me of a lady in his online community that had just joined their group to catch her husband cheating and ended up becoming a naturist herself after reading all of the Christian evidence for the naturist lifestyle. He thought maybe I could do the same. Never in a million years!
He gave me 3 options to think on. Now that I had this information, here were my choices:
Forbid him from being in the group. He hoped I wouldn’t choose this option.
Allow him to be a naturist and participate in the group, but not participate myself. He also said this would not be ideal.
Check it out for myself, and hopefully join him in naturism.
I told him several times that I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place because I didn’t really feel like I had options.
I couldn’t choose option #1 because that would be like spitting in the face of the fact that he had had a supposed lasting victory over pornography. I couldn’t choose option #2 because I didn’t want him seeing a bunch of naked ladies without me knowing what he was seeing and doing. I didn’t trust him again yet. If I wanted to stay married to him my only option was #3. I contemplated whether I did want to stay married or not. Even though I knew #3 was my only option for a happy and healthy marriage, I wasn’t sure I could make this work or wanted to. We could lose everything after all. If anyone were to find out, our lives would be ruined. After listening to his prepared speech, I hugged him and thanked him for being honest with me. As angry as I was I knew it took balls to share and confess what he had.
As usual on our Fridays, we decided to go to lunch. As we sat and ate, mostly in silence, I began to think of questions I wanted to ask. They weren’t questions for the middle of a restaurant so I waited until we got in the car. I asked if he had shared pictures of himself in this group. He said very matter of factly that he had. Again anger raised its ugly head, but I get quiet when I’m angry. We decided to go for ice cream. Maybe it would help cool me down. On the way home I was hit with what I later started calling a wave of anger and threw my ice cream out the window. We again sat in silence.
The first several days were an emotional roller coaster. The more we talked, the more he revealed his heart and his past. There were hard questions and hard answers. These were hard things. Harder than I could have imagined, but the more he shared the more God broke my heart and opened it to this wounded, yet healed man. I could tell he was different. His spirit felt different. He prayed with me and for me and even cried for me to be free of the scales over my eyes. There was a lot of spiritual warfare going on. Voices in my head continuously threatened me with phrases like, “You’ll never be enough!” and “He’s lying to you.” or “You’re still fat.” and “You thought you could actually do this? You’ll never be free!” On several occasions I would feel a weight on my chest like I couldn’t breathe. I prayed so much!
We read so many things together. One of the resources we came across a website called www.mychainsaregone.org. We read the Bible. The more I read, the angrier I got, but not at my husband. I was angry at the enemy, and his deception, and the lies. I began to feel myself leaning into this lifestyle. I couldn’t share that with him though, because I was afraid he would push me too hard. Besides, I still hated how I looked. There was no way I was going to let anyone see me naked. I might be nude while camping next time, but no way social nudity was part of this for me. Finally I asked to see his groups and some friends he had made and messages of praying for us.
“Could it be real that these people aren’t perverts?”I definitely hadn’t seen anything perverted within his group.
He gave me an assignment of standing in front of the mirror naked and saying outloud to myself, “I am beautiful.” I laughed when he gave me this assignment telling him there was no way I was going to do that. I did though. I sent him a picture the first day with the words “I am beautiful” written on it. He said, “Nice picture, but I don’t believe you.” He was right, I didn’t believe it. I was just trying to end this silly game! I didn’t do it the next day because I thought this assignment was stupid. I did day 3 and then, on day 4 I looked at myself and said, “I am beautiful, I am beautiful.” and it was like a veil was lifted from my eyes. I physically felt it. I got this smirk on my face and thought, “Oh crap, he’s right, I AM beautiful!” For the first time since I can remember, I actually thought I was beautiful… extra pounds and stretch marks and dimples and all. I took another picture that day and sent it to him. This time he said right away that he could tell I actually believed it.
The next night I did something I never thought I would do and only days before I had said never in a million years. I joined that group and told of the transformation that had happened in my mind and heart in only a matter of days. October 18th was the day we began the worst conversation that turned into the best conversation. October 24th was the day I became a naturist by Biblical conviction. Oh, and a week after I threw my ice cream out the window we went back and got some more and laughed and enjoyed the healing that was taking place.