Monday, November 2, 2015

You're Not Wearing That, Are You?

Sunday mornings are stressful for me.  Not only am I struggling to make sure I have my lesson ready for Sunday School, my song sheets ready for the congregational singing, my songbooks available for offertories and other Sunday morning necessities, but I'm also performing what has become one of the most difficult tasks for me to complete:  figuring out what to wear.  Those of you who know me will have guessed that I actually take care of most of these things on Saturday to avoid creating more stress on Sunday mornings, but picking out my clothes is something I usually have to do that morning.

The first consideration for choosing an outfit is whether or not we will be coming home Sunday afternoon.  Some days we go over to my sister's house in between church services.  Sometimes, we have lunch with my in-laws and then return to church to catch up on some things that need to be accomplished.  On rare occasions, we come home for a couple of hours of rest and relaxation.  If we're coming home, my options of clothing are greatly increased.  I know I only have to wear the selected outfit for a few hours, so comfort, aptitude for wrinkles and other such considerations are not such a big deal.  If we'll be gone all day, however, the clothing must be comfortable and not apt to wrinkle.  Either that, or they must be easily changed into casual wear for the afternoon.

The second consideration, I'm sorry to say, is the state of my left shoulder.  I have severe bursitis (and who knows what else) in my shoulder.  This causes swelling, pinching, throbbing and a number of other issues that spread from my neck to my wrist.  A shirt or dress that may have fit fine yesterday could be completely uncomfortable on Sunday morning if my shoulder has decided to swell or act up.  Most times, I can tell as soon as I put the garment on that I'm not going to be able to wear it.  Other times, I think maybe the material will stretch or the pain and pinching will go away.  But before long, the garment is discarded and another one is chosen to take its place.  It is not uncommon for me to go through three or four outfits on any given Sunday morning.  This, as you can imagine, leads to tears and frustration--not exactly the spirit of worship one hopes to be filled with on Sunday morning.

You may be wondering why this happens on Sunday mornings and not other times.  To be honest, it does happen at other times, but since I work from home, my work attire consists of yoga pants and floppy t-shirts.  No, I'm not likely to win any beauty contests, but I'm comfortable, and as I sit and work in front of my computer, that's what matters to me.  When I run errands, I usually wear casual clothes that are made to be stretchy and comfortable, so again, the clothing is not as much an issue as it is on Sunday morning when trying to wear dress clothes that are designed to be attractive, not comfortable.

That's not to say, however, that I don't have many days where I suffer from poor-fitting attitudes.  Just like my church clothes, these attitudes pinch and pull.  They hurt and make me uncomfortable.  Why?  Because they don't fit.  I'm a child of God and, as such, certain attitudes simply don't fit the way they used to.  Anger, bitterness, jealousy--I still own them.  I keep them in my closet just in case.  But every time I pull them out and try them on, I realize that I must have grown. . . spiritually, that is, because those attitudes don't fit right anymore.  I've outgrown them despite my attempts to "squeeze" back into them from time to time.  Sometimes I even manage to get them on, but they don't feel right.  They restrict my movement (my walk with the Lord).  They make me look bad (not fat, but undesirable).  They pull at my conscience and pinch my spirit.  And so I'm faced with a choice:  continue to struggle in the discomfort or cast it off and try something else.

I'm a comfort kind of girl.  I like to be comfortable, especially now with my back and shoulder issues.  If I can pull off stylish and comfortable, fantastic!  If not, well, sorry, but the comfort is the deciding factor.  Now if I can just remember that each time I reach for one of the uncomfortable attitudes.  They don't fit, so why don't I reach for ones that do, like peace, joy, goodness and the lot?  After all, they're attractive, stylish, and they fit so much better.  And the crazy thing is that the more I wear them, the better they'll fit and the more comfortable they will become.

We need to be careful to spend as much time dressing the inward man as we do the outward one.  Wouldn't it be a shame to have God stop you during the day and ask, "You're not wearing that, are you?"  He knows it doesn't suit you, and deep down, you know it too.  Choose wisely.  Comfort is not the only thing at stake.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. - Colossians 3:8-14

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