I'm a few days late in posting this. I'd like to say that it's because I've been wrestling with what to write, thinking things through for days. But it's because I forgot. Forgot about it, yes. And developed a serious Scramble With Friends habit at the same time.
Just keepin' it real.
So chapter 2 of 7 is about clothes. The fast of the month for the author was to choose just 7 things (not including underwear) and wear only those 7 things for an entire month.
I'm not feeling a nudge to that.
In fact, for a while there I didn't think I had any issues with clothes.
I mean, I wear jeans and sweatshirts most days. The same ones over and over. Heck, I could probably embark on a 7-clothing-item fast of my own and not notice a difference. The purple sweatshirt doesn't even get folded... it just gets pulled right from the dryer and plopped onto my body.
But then I got to thinking...
Sometimes I choose jeans and sweatshirts some days because I'm nervous about making the wrong fashion choice. So it's better to look frumpy (ahem -- CASUAL) on purpose because at least it doesn't look like I tried too hard, and failed.
And then there was that family picture thing. I wanted all three of us to coordinate for the picture we'd use on our Christmas card. I thought WAY too much about which color scheme to go for. I had birthday money to burn and went shopping, but then felt terribly overwhelmed because I didn't know what to choose. I didn't (and don't) know what's in fashion. And what looks good on me. And I was totally self conscious/agonized about that. Why? Because I wanted us to look good. Up to date. Cute. Not too matchy-matchy but coordinating. You know, in the hopes someone would open our Christmas card and remark, "holy cow, look at that attractive, put-together Brown family."
Happy Birthday, Jesus! God put his own Son on the planet so that we could have a relationship with Him, and what do I care about? Someone thinking my family looks good.
In the end I didn't like the colors/clothing choices I'd agonized over, and made the darned thing black and white.
And then there's my own dissatisfaction with my body. You know, the one God gave me. The one that successfully grew a perfectly formed child. The one that allows me to drive and work and cook and laugh and travel and hug my baby. And the same body one that I get frustrated with because it doesn't look like I think it should. All that to say, I hide behind certain clothes because I feel better about myself that way.
Maybe I do have some issues. With approval. With how people view me, and how much I care about that. With where my heart is. Finding significance in things, instead of Jesus.
Why, yes I do have issues with clothing.
First world problems. Right here. Right now.
I have a closet - and dresser - full of clothes, most of which I don't wear. That represents a whole lot of spending. And I regularly buy more. This quote from the author was convicting to me (she was talking about how spending is widening the gap between rich and poor):
I am a part of the problem, a contributing member of inequality. Every time I buy another shirt I don't need or a seventh pair of shoes for my daughter, I redirect my powerful dollar to the pockets of consumerism, fueling my own greed and widening the gap. Why? Because I like it. Because those are cute. Because I want that. (pg 65)
Another problem I have? Not my clothes, but Caroline's. I want her to look cute. I can be super picky about her outfits. I spend way too much time online, browsing overpriced toddler shoes. And although I shop clearance and Once Upon a Child and Target often times, I know there's a part of me that just cares way. too. much.
There is this blog I followed. And the kids are dressed so darned cute every single day. Not in a coordinating Baby Gap way. But in an adorable bohemian way I would never think to dream up. I would look at those kids, and be truly envious. ENVIOUS. OVER KIDS CLOTHES. When my daughter has more than enough to wear. And most of it looks really sweet anyway. I had to stop reading that blog - and following her on instagram. I knew it wasn't good for my level of gratefulness and contentedness.
Issues, I tell you.
Where does this leave me?
I'm not sure.
I really need some clothes for summer. I have zero summer bottoms (capris, shorts, skirts) that fit well. And about that same about of shirts. And I know from experience that when clothes don't fit well I spend the entire day thinking about how it. Pick Caroline up. Uh-oh, I have to adjust my pants. Do dishes. There I am fussing with my shirt. Pull, adjust, twist, adjust some more. I just end up thinking about my clothes, and my distaste for certain areas of my body, all the more when my clothes don't fit. I don't think that's what God has in mind by simplifying.
I don't want to obsess. I want to be more mindful of where I'm purchasing these things. Fair trade? Thrifted? Homemade? And probably some "normal" shopping too. Gratefully I have a sweet husband who likes to shop with me as well as a couple of girlfriends that are willing to help me out, so I don't get so darned overwhelmed. I want to purchase things that are appropriate, well fitting, comfortable, and at least marginally in-style. But I hope to do it in such a way as to not place my feeling of self-worth into those items, or buy more than I need just because I want to and I can.
I also want to start running regularly so that more of my pre-baby clothes fit well again.
Jesus, help me.
In the end...
“What I’m wearing and what you think of it pales next to loosening the chains of injustice and setting the prisoner free.” (pg 56)