Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fig leaves or armor?

Chapter 2 of 7 with Marla and friends, and I am conflicted. I preach to my HS girls often about our hearts, that changing our actions isn't nearly as important as our need for God to change our hearts. I feel like Jen Hatmaker gave me a dose of my own medicine this week. So, since I don't know where to start with this, and usually I can just free form ideas into the madness that is this blog, I'm actually going to follow Marla's suggested pattern for the week.
In a culture that elevates beauty and style, the Christian community is at genuine risk for distraction, even deception. - p 67
I 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.


  1. "I NEED spiritual clothes..." I love that entire paragraph that you wrote. And yes, that's what I need. Spiritual clothes.

  2. Oh, Danielle. I'm with Sharon. LOVE that entire paragraph. I read it twice. God has shown me sooooo much through you. Love you like crazy.

    1. Sweet Marla, you are so kind. Thank you so much for your loving heart and constant encouragement. I am ever challenged by your faithfulness. Love you!

  3. love your honesty in this post. so much i want to say, but i don't want to verbally vomit in your comments. what if we (you, I, anyone who felt overwhelmed by this chapter) took a month and set aside the clothing that we did actually wear and set it apart from that we didn't? something to show us what moderate and practical truly are.