Yes, it’s true. In my younger days I spent countless hours worrying about how I looked and what I wore and if it was “fashionable”. Of course it wasn’t. Even though I cared, and tried, I never had the money or the looks to pull off “fashionable”. My grandmother used to kindly say to my girls, “your mom is a handsome woman”. I was a bit confused by her use of a masculine term to describe me and my girls were probably equally puzzled. But she meant well.
I suppose as I look back now, what bothers me is the time and money spent on such a trivial pursuit. And I can’t even fathom the emotional commitment I made to looking good. Everyone rants on about how confident you feel when you are attractive, and how important it is to make a good first impression, and how it changes your outlook. Agreed. But the downside is that you can also feel like garbage on a “bad hair” day or totally lose your confidence if someone you know arrives at a party in a better outfit. You can get so caught up in clothing and appearance that it defines who you are. I guess I’m on a roll this week about identity, but it bothers me to see others, especially young girls, lose themselves to things that don’t last.
Oh, don’t think for a minute that you won’t see me with new spring clothes this week! I went to JCP and did a little shopping. I bought some bright things to help me shed the winter blahs. But my feelings and choices these days are quite simple, and quite different from what they were a few decades ago. I buy things that make me happy! I buy things I enjoy wearing. I don’t shop with the thought that I will look better to others, or somehow be transformed into a swan by what I wear.
The Bible specifically admonishes us not to worry about our clothes. Matthew compares our obsession with clothing to the glorious flowers. They don’t worry and work, they just are. And God has adorned them with loveliness to help them do their work. I watched yesterday as the bees, moths, butterflies, and countless other insects swarmed over the wildflowers I have planted in the back garden. That little plot is a wonderful microcosm of the world at work. Each blossom and each critter has its role to play.
Perhaps our passion for fashion is simply envy. Maybe we are simply trying with all our might to be as beautiful as the flowers of the field. If that is true, then I think we will all fail. Each day I am amazed by the colors and shapes of the flowers in my yard. Some are so marvelous they hurt my eyes. Solomon in all his splendor could not come close to the beauty of an orange tulip! I stare in awe… and wonder why God graced us with the presence of such beauty.
Perhaps just as a reminder of his love.