Although we don’t like to admit it, clothes make us feel. And not just in comfort and softness although those are also things we feel. Feelings like; “These jeans make me feel skinny.”, “This dress makes me look taller.”, “This shirt makes my stomach look flat.”. We have feelings about our clothes, and then we also have ways of how we let them make us feel.
When we are buying clothes, fit is essential. The whole goal when going shopping is to find something that fits, that meets the need for what you are looking for, and that the item make you feel good. Many women “hate to shop” because they never find anything that fits! I hear this all the time, and I feel you…It makes me feel bad when things I see that look so lovely on the hanger and then I try it on and it doesn’t fit. The size up doesn’t fit, the petite size doesn’t fit, and the size down DEFINITELY DOESN’T FIT. Finding clothes that fit can be completely traumatizing. The opposite happens when we go in and find something that fits perfectly. The jeans you have been wanting for months, fit like a glove and make everything look ten years younger! The dress you saw in the window covers everything you don’t like and accentuates everything you do like. When we find things that are exactly what we are looking for we feel like we have climbed Mt. Everest don’t we?
But, then we have our closets and dressers full of clothes…oh, the feelings they give us! We have that pencil skirt, that used to be a pencil skirt, but now it just looks like something a college girl would wear to a bar. We have that v-neck blouse that was so flattering, but now it is so tight it’s practically obscene! Then there are those jeans that are your FAVORITE and you slip them on and don’t get them past your hips. The feelings that ensue make us want to crawl into bed for days, or eat an entire pint of ice-cream! (Like that will solve the problem!)
The feelings that clothes can give us are countless. Over the weekend, I got to thinking; how much of these feelings do we ALLOW these clothes to make us feel, and how many of them are true to our heart? I am going to tell you a story and hopefully you will follow my thinking, because there is a very fine line here.
After I had Lyla it took me a while to get back in shape, and most of my pre-baby clothes no longer fit. The funny thing is, I didn’t REALIZE my clothes didn’t fit until I saw a picture. See, I had gone to a weekend retreat in Arkansas and it was a beautiful cabin packed with women with hearts the size of Texas, and we had so much fun. Before we left we were told to pack “casual” because we would be in the middle of nowhere after all. So, everything I packed was very casual except for one outfit that was cute/casual that I would have worn for lunch with the girls on a Saturday. I felt good in this outfit, I was comfortable in this outfit and I wore it and felt happy. (I should say again, I didn’t realize these clothes were too tight until I saw the photo.) I wore this cute/casual outfit because I was going to be speaking on the Saturday of our retreat and any time I am a focal point I feel the need to STEP IT UP. I got up on that chair, and I poured my heart out to these women about my passion for Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and much more…and there were tears. These gals opened their hearts and I gave them a piece of mine, and the confidence that God gave me in that moment was something so special…I will never forget it.
One sweet sister took this photo during my time to speak and it captured the moment so well, but instead of feeling happy…I instantly felt awful. Here are some of the thoughts that went through my head when I saw this photo, “Why were you wearing those shorts? They were obviously too small and too short! You should have had a cami on under that shirt, you can see through it! You shouldn’t have even worn that shirt, it is WAY too tight and look at your stomach!!”
I let one photo, where I didn’t look my best tear down all the confidence and beauty that God had given me in that moment with those precious women. I let the way I look in that photo shape the way I felt. I allowed that image to bring me down. In that moment the picture was taken, I felt; joy, happiness, peace, a sense of community, and love. But as soon as I saw the photo after the fact, I let negative thoughts enter my head, all of that washed away. Why do we do this?
First, I think we tell ourself too much trash talk about ourselves and others. Second, the devil wants us to, he creeps in and makes us feel bad about a beautiful body that God created! Each and every person on this planet was made by him, in his image. And we are all beautiful. I say we stop. I say we let go of the trash talk, let go of making clothes and images take over our minds. I say we let go of clothes that don’t fit. Do you know I found a pair of shorts that I had since MIDDLE SCHOOL? Under what delusional thinking did I think I would ever fit in those shorts again? There is some sweet middle schooler out there who just might love those cut off Levi’s. I should give them to her and let her enjoy them and find use out of them. We should let go of all the clothes we love that we don’t have a NEED for and give them to someone who does. We have stored up all of these clothes that are not being of use, let’s let them go.
“Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is.” (Matt 6:19-21)
We can all have a peaceful heart if we: let go of how clothes make us feel, let go of letting them, let go of the clothes we don’t use, let go of the clothes that don’t fit. If we help someone else by giving them a kind compliment, instead of silently criticizing what they are wearing–we can lift them up. If we help someone by GIVING them something we don’t wear, that they may love–we can lift them up. If we all remember the beauty that we are through Christ, and build and store our treasures in him, his light will shine through us like the beam of a lighthouse.
Let go of the way clothes make you feel, and uplift others today!