I’m dressed, but not clothed.
July 13, 2012 § 4 Comments
I have, what I like to call, “Confident Clothes.”
They’re the garments that never fail to make me feel good, whether they flatter a feature or just put me in a good mood to wear. I can actually tell in my countenance whether or not a certain pair of pants, a particular t-shirt or sweater, is doing it for me.
Now, I’m not talking about feeling sexy. I am not talking about revealing and tight. In fact, those are the exact opposite descriptors that I would use for the clothes I am talking about.
I’m just talking about being wholly comfortable and due to feeling good on the outside, then feeling confident and capable on the inside. And unfortunately, not all of my clothes do that for me, hence the title given to the ones who have this special effect.
And it happens with the oddest things: this old man sweater I got at Goodwill that sits on my shoulders just right, making me feel like a writer. The flowy tank top that hangs in a non-fat-feeling way and is the long length I like. The t-shirt that is the color that makes me happy with the flowers that just get me and with the so soft material that has blatantly been hijacked from pajamas.
These staples that fulfill this need make their way out of my closet more than I care to admit. To my husband, who is no fashion buff by any means, I still occasionally feel the need to justify why he has seen me in the same shirt for multiple days.
“I only wore this for half the day yesterday and the day before that. So I’ve barely worn it.”
“It helps me write better.”
“It’s still clean.”
“I just really like it,” I say as I pull it on, as if answering an unspoken question I think he’s thinking when I know he’s really not.
No, he doesn’t really care and usually looks at me, offering a nod but saying, “Honey, I don’t care. You look great.” Coming from a man who only owns about five shirts and is not exactly the clothing police, this is the appropriate response. But I still justify. More to myself than to him.
The thing is, it isn’t about vanity, but about confidence and it’s an interesting phenomenon. And as I pulled on that particular tank top today because I needed all the confidence I could get, it got me thinking about Proverbs 31 and that darn noble woman who comes to mind constantly as I flail through life.
After going into detail about how she provides for her family, works with her hands, and provides for the poor, it is mentioned that “she dresses in fine linens and purple gowns” in verse 22. But you know that doesn’t really matter. Because a couple of verses later, in verse 25, it mentions what she is really “wearing”: She is clothed in strength and dignity.
Oh, how I love and hate that verse at the same time. Because on any given day, I may be dressed in my favorite top or most beloved pair of jeans, but I am not clothed. I get the feeling that for her, she could be dressed like royalty or a servant, but what matters is how she is clothed strength and dignity. And that doesn’t come from purple linens or a paper bag, but from her identity in Christ and how she is living her life for her family and for others. I get the idea that she could be wearing a muumuu and it wouldn’t change that verse.
So rather than looking for the perfect outfit that will boost my confidence in who I am, I’m hoping to harness my true identity and put it on like my favorite sweater, walking around in confidence that I am Christ’s daughter and what matters is my heart, not my shirt. Of course I will hopefully still enjoy something I’m wearing, but I’m praying it won’t be my everything and a second choice garment, my undoing. This life I’m living is not mine and what should be showing first and formost is Christ within me, not today’s fashion.