Doesn’t that just sound lovely? No pun intended… originally. Sometimes I surprise myself with my rapier wit. (Which makes me feel badly. I mean, some people out there are a few crayons short of a full box, while I’m like the Crayola 96-crayon box with built in sharpener… Sigh. We all have our crosses to bear…)
ANYWAY. This week (and by this week, I mean last week) I chose this verse in Colossians:
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it… Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.” Colossians 3:12-14, 16 (MSG)
It’s just as beautiful in the NIV too, which you can read here. I love the idea of wearing love. Don’t you?
I confess, I’m quite an aesthetically driven person (if you didn’t pick up on that), which is no less true when deciding what to wear. And I probably spend way too much time on Pinterest adding beauteous, whimsical clothing to my Polyvore board. Half of those pins are probably from Mod Cloth. None of those pins, however, reside in my actual closet… which I made a board for too, for those days when I feel like I have “nothing” to wear, but mostly am just too lazy to be creative and put together an outfit.
(Actually, her dress is supposed to look like this one… which is from Mod Cloth of course.)
I admit- there are times when I gaze longingly through all of Mod Cloth’s dresses and purses (I call that one “Oh my plaid!”) and shoes, wishing they weren’t so overpriced, closely followed by wishing I could go shopping period… BUT. We are not in a phase of life that allows for that kind of thing. And it’s completely ok. Because I wonder if that’s the wrong sort of wardrobe. I mean, I’m not going to grow as a person by having more cute shoes (contrary to what my favorite magnet on our fridge might say…)
I’m not going to powerfully encounter the joy of the Lord by purchasing a new purse. Don’t get me wrong; that’s not to say there’s anything wrong about cute shoes or a new purse. But where we are in life, my desire for real joy, abundance, and peace that really does surpass all understanding just won’t be attainable through a new wardrobe. That’s not the kind of abundance I’m after. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial, like Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 6:12. And whining (let’s call it what it is- I’m a big girl) about not being able to do or have something because of money is the broken part of me talking, not the redeemed part. (Incidentally, the broken part frequently sounds like whining…)
If God really is enough, and if his grace really is sufficient, shouldn’t my heart be satisfied in him? And if it’s not satisfied, is that a problem with me or with God? (And here, I’m going to answer this one for you.) Yup, it’s a problem with me! Well, maybe “a problem” isn’t quite the right way to say it. It’s more a question of going “further up and further in.” If God really is enough and I’m not satisfied in my life, then I must simply not know God deeply enough. The amazing thing is, that’s not a judgment thing. It’s a joy thing. To be hungry for God is- paradoxically- to be satisfied. Joyful. Thankful. To be hungry for the world is to- literally- live in want.
When Want has the run of the house, there is no joy to be found. When Want has control of my mind, my first instinct is usually to lash out at those I love- to speak in whining entitlement, to fling my sharp-edged broken pieces everywhere. Want tears things down. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that a famine of the heart can be the destruction of a life.
So instead, maybe I could choose to live, to be, to wear love. Love is freeing! And when love goes first, it’s followed closely by grace (how I need it!), by humility, discipline, and everything else. Love brings dead things to life, like winter turning to spring. I guess Frozen had it right… (don’t watch this if you haven’t seen it!)
Ahh, Frozen. How my heart glows like a 5-year-old’s in delight at the sight of it…
The amazing thing is, our life in Christ isn’t just supposed to look beautiful, like a particularly well-coordinated ensemble. It is to be beautiful. To be full of beauty itself. Or Himself is maybe what I should say. (And beauty is kind of a big deal for me.) When we wear love, we see beautifully. I would really like to do that.
And I hope you don’t only hear “wear love” in the pretty-words-on-a-poster-at-Lifeway kind of way. I hope you hear it like I heard it- that I don’t have to wear my list of responsibilities, relationships, dreams, desires and all the ways I’ve painfully failed at ALL of them. I don’t have to be among the walking wounded. That’s not how my relationship with God (or anyone) is intended to be.
After all, the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5 isn’t to know about the Lord your God, or try to be worthy of the Lord your God, or perpetually heap guilt on yourself because you’re so far below the Lord your God… It says LOVE the Lord your God. I hope you remember that. I know what it’s like to live under the weight of all those awful things I mentioned earlier- trying so hard to be organized enough, productive enough, pretty enough, healthy enough, thrifty enough, funny enough, mom enough, a good enough artist, tactful enough, smart enough, articulate enough, skinny enough… Yeah. It’s ridiculousness. It reminds me of that scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.”
“Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have,” said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again. (OP21)
…said every woman of every man in the history of everything… Except me. Because my husband is perfect. *Dreamily looks off into the distance* Ok, ok, men- I’m kidding. Kind of. (I don’t know what I’m worried about- I’m pretty sure I don’t have any male readers…)
Aaaaaand we’re back. My point is this: You are not enough. And you weren’t made to be enough. HE is the only one who is. So maybe you and I can stop trying so hard. Maybe it’s ok if our scarf doesn’t match our bag. Maybe we can wear love. If I may say, it looks smashing on you, dahling!