My twin sister didn’t like dresses. At. All.
We were probably five and she fought my mother as Sunday after Sunday we wore dresses, slips, tights, and fake patent leather shoes.
I loved to wear dresses, but most days I played in the dirt and watched ants work. So for a few hours on Sunday a dress didn’t bother me. At least not at the age of five or six or maybe even seven.
Slowly. Something changed. I don’t know if my sister wore down my mom or if the relaxed nature of the church we were now attending or if I suddenly discovered crossing my legs was not fun or some combination effected the change. But by the time I was 12 I was wearing umbro-like (I couldn’t afford real ones) shorts to church.
At some point over the years I began to wear that fact as a badge of pride.
“Yea, I get to wear umbros to church,” I’d boast to friends.
Somehow three-piece suits and dresses with panty hose meant the folks wearing them were judgmental, uptight. I was somehow more mature and free-er in Christ because it didn’t matter if I wore a dress or athletic shorts to church.
And it was my rebellion. I knew my mother would prefer me to wear nicer clothes to church. But I didn’t honor my parents. I honored my rebellion. I fed my pride. And I liked it.
And nearly twenty years later I see it for what it is…I see my clothing as a form of rebellion, a form of pride. And what I thought was freedom in Christ was really a form of self-righteousness. I judged those folks I deemed judgmental. I found myself more righteous than them because of my choice of clothing. And it hit me square in the face. Freedom can be pride if I don’t see it given me by a Savior.
And I look back at myself sitting in church in those athletic shorts and I want to tell myself…
“You don’t have dress-up to please God, but are you honoring God with what you are wearing? Would you wear athletic shorts on a date to a nice restaurant? There is grace. God doesn’t love you more or less because of what you wear. Regardless if it is three-piece suit or pajama pants. Give that same grace to others.”
And maybe that is the problem…Maybe I have I lost sight of my first Love? My Savior? Don’t I want to give Him my best?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t make my kids wear dresses every week to church. I don’t wear dresses to church every week. I even wear jeans at times…
But these questions remain:
Am I giving my best to God – every day – not just Sunday?
Do I look too much at the outside to decide someone’s character or relationship with God? How can I break down those preconceived notions and get rid of my self-righteousness?
Where is my heart as I get dressed for church? Am I trying to make a statement? If I am dressing for anyone but God perhaps it is a form of rebellion, pride, or self-righteousness.
Maybe if I am more concerned about where my heart is as I get dressed then God will give me grace and wisdom to stop seeing what people wear and start seeing what matters most. Their hearts.