In a culture that elevates beauty and style, the Christian community is at genuine risk for distraction, even deception. - p 67I struggle with this often. I come from a church tradition of always wearing Sunday best. I wore a dress to church every day of my childhood. It was the one day a week when my mom would curl my hair, she would even paint her nails for Sunday morning. I now go to a church where jeans, shorts, flip-flops, whatever, is the standard. It's almost as odd (culturally contrary) in my current church to wear a dress on Sunday as it would have been for me to wear shorts to church when I was a kid. Usually though I wear my "nice" clothes because if I didn't wear them to church I would have no need to even have anything other than jeans and t-shirts in my wardrobe. Here's my real struggle though: for a church that in it's actions says that particular clothing is not necessary for worship, I've had more conversations on a Sunday morning about clothes (hair, make-up, etc.) than about real heart issues. I have had more people ask me if I made the scarf I'm wearing that day than people asking how my heart is doing with our adoption process, or lack thereof. But before I start feeling all high and mighty, I know I'm the same way. I will comment on a million things I like about your outfit before I ask how I can pray for you this week. Some Sundays I get so concerned about what I will wear that day, and how out of control my hair is, that I end up fighting with my husband about nothing and not even taking a breath until I sit down in my seat at church. Most of the week I have no clue what I'm wearing, but somehow my heart is programed to care on Sundays in an unhealthy and unnatural way. What are Sundays for? Am I there for corporate worship, teaching, fellowship, and love or am I there to make a good impression, to make people think I'm all put together, to be noticed?
I don't know where I fit as far as my attitude about clothing. My current wardrobe is about 1/4 of what I used to have. But there are a lot of days that I feel discontent because I have the same 100+ items to choose from. I have had days where I smell something all day and then realize it's the pair of jeans I've been wearing for so many days that I can't remember the last time I washed them. Every time I sit down with a new knitting project my husband asks if I'm making myself ANOTHER scarf. I have walked away from a $2 t-shirt in the Target sale rack because I can't justify the purchase, but have splurged on a $20 (it's on sale how can I pass up that deal?) purse because I'm just tired of the one I have. I would love to say that I don't care about clothes, but every time my fashionable mom is clearing out her closet I get excited to go "shopping" for new things. I'm so contradictory it's embarrassing. I know I would have a hard time limiting myself to only 7 items of clothing because I would be worried that people would notice my repeat outfits, but if I'm being realistic I think I wear about 10 items of clothing on a regular rotation with very few substitutions. The problem though is that none of this matters. I could have half as many clothing items as I do now and still have a heart that is too focused on outward appearance. I could have twice what I have now and love my neighbor better.
I NEED spiritual clothes more than physical trappings. I need a belt of truth wrapped around me, and a breastplate of righteousness protecting my heart. I need shoes for my feet that make me ready to charge forward preaching the gospel of peace. I need faith that covers me like a shield and protects me from fiery darts of comparison, greed, envy, strife. I need the knowledge of my salvation to protect my mind from doubt. I need the double edged sword of the Word of God to pierce through to the thoughts and intentions of my heart. I need prayer to cover me like a cloak.
This is what I need, but often I feel like Adam and Eve sewing together fig leaves to hide myself from God and others.