What to wear…

‘What to wear’ is a topical question. With increasing concern about exploitation of both people and planet, questions are rightly being asked about the true cost of cheap fashion, and at this time of year, questions are being raised again about the pressures resulting from school ‘proms’, both financial and personal.

What we wear is something we can have strong feelings about from a very early age.
50 years on, I still remember the discomfort of having to wear a bright pink jacket. As a ‘shrinking violet’ it made me feel uncomfortably conspicuous. What was worse, it was bought for me with ‘growing room’, so as a slow growing child it blighted me for a long time!

Truth is, my desire to be inconspicuous came from a deep-seated lack of confidence. Decades later, an intuitive nun gave me an anonymous poem called Life’s Lessons from a Butterfly:

Let go of the past

Trust the future

Embrace change

Come out of the cocoon

Unfurl your wings

Dare to get off the ground

Ride the breezes

Savour the flowers

Put on your brightest colours

Let your beauty show

Putting on our brightest colours has nothing to do with buying fast fashion, or being the belle of the ball. It is about becoming our true selves and living life to the full, rather than being constrained by self-doubt, fear, guilt, anger or self-pity.

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There are many threads running through the Bible about clothing, and followers of Jesus are urged to clothe themselves in right attitudes. There’s a particularly eye-catching passage in the Bible, which the Message paraphrases:

…dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline… (Colossians 3:12)

That’s a wonderful wardrobe to wear, and as a believer, I trust God’s choices for me.
God knows how we measure up, and will not offer us, clothing that is ill-fitting, unsuitable, or inappropriate. So let’s step into what’s being held out to us…

Truth is… Regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. (Colossians 3:14)

Coming across…

Last week I lost it. I had been wronged and my response was to lose my rag.
Not a pretty situation.
A better response would have been to take a step back,
and then return cool, calm and collected to explore a way forward.
But I was deeply hurt. I exploded, and the adage ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ disappeared in a puff of smoke!

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The turning point came the following day.
Truth is, I was still nursing my hurt, but unexpectedly I found myself humming the melody from a song I learnt many years ago. Then the words burst into consciousness – ‘May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart, be acceptable to you, God my strength and my redeemer’.
I found myself inwardly singing them over and over again, and they became a bridge.
I found myself seeing things from another perspective, and in coming across to the other side, a conversation resulted and we moved on.
This didn’t mean brushing the situation under the carpet, but rather giving the deeper issues a good airing.

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Taking in the broader picture, rather than just focussing on my hurt, was in fact liberating.
I guess because it got to the heart of the matter, and also lined up with my faith as a believer in God.
Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think that Christians should be spineless.
We should value ourselves and not let others trample over us, but how we do this needs to be in line with our faith.
How we come across speaks volumes.

Ghandi said

 “Be sure you taste your words before you spit them out”

I guess it’s a reminder to us all to to stop, look and listen before opening our mouth.
Words have such power – they can build up, or knock down.
May we choose wisely.

Truth is… ‘May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, Lord my refuge and my redeemer’ Psalm 19:14