Before this site came into existence, I operated a portion of the web that revolved more around clothing and less about church. To say that I’ve lived my life mildly obsessed with fashion would be spot on, and the fact that the number of pairs of shoes I currently own has the capacity to make my “servant’s heart” feel a slight level of shame, has not escaped my notice.
I love Jesus more than shoes…but please don’t make me prove it.
So, whether I care to admit it or not, when events are on the horizon, my first area of concern is primarily: what will I wear? Devil be darned, I like to appear more put together than I often feel.
I had a particularly notable moment of slight hysteria, this past weekend, as I did my best to prep for the SheSpeaks Conference I’ll be attending next week. Though there is no “dress code” per say, the suggested wear is “business casual.” Business casual: loosey goosey for the professionals amongst us, uptight for me.
I started to freak out a little. As I tried on more and more outfits that might hit that particular criteria, I began to feel less and less like me. I know two things about myself for certain, and I was bending the rules on both:
1) I am already out of my element and noticeably uncomfortable for most of these sorts of big gatherings, based entirely on the sheer amount of people-ing I have to do and…
2) I don’t like capris.
Those are my rules of life. Give me a good pair of wide leg gauchos and I will show you how to rock that definitely ugly, yet totally legit, article of clothing like nobody’s business. But throw me in a pair of classic capris and watch me take my original fidget spinner, aka my shaky leg syndrome, to a whole new level of anxious.
In preparation for this blessed event and the non dress code I was hell bent on complying with, I bought myself a pair of salmon colored capris from the Loft. And, as you might have guessed, I have subsequently hated them every time I tried them on in an attempt to prove to myself that I didn’t.
Hear me when I say, I don’t give a rat’s tush what you wear and feel good in. In fact, I dare say I like capris on anyone but me. Because it’s actually not about the capris. It’s about how I feel in the capris. And can I say, that’s the point of all of the clothes, really. It’s not the outfit, am I right? It’s how the outfit makes you feel. The way you carry yourself when you are dressed the way you like to be dressed. How your confidence soars when you look and feel like yourself.
Suffice it to say, I do not feel like Noel in salmon colored capris from the Loft.
And dare I venture that the point of going to this event, at all, is to be more of who God created me to be…not to be more like every woman who can somehow make capris look good.
When I gravitated back to what I love, I felt the sting of rejection on the horizon. Surely, if I’m not mistaken, every single person there will be sweet, lovely Jesus girls with darling blouses tucked into flat front capris and adorable penny loafers adorning their tiny feminine feet. Surely, not one other person in the crowd will feel more comfortable in ripped jeans and high heels that entice your father ask you how you can possibly walk in their towering heights.
I must be the only the one. Ergo, I must mask myself to fit in. Ergo, I must make myself someone I am not to be accepted by the people around me rather than just going as myself in a way that makes me feel confident and comfortable enough to focus on the content at the event rather than how I look amongst the crowd at the event.
If you’ve never elaborated on the lies you tell yourself, I highly suggest doing so as a fun little reality check. It’s easy, albeit unlikely, to believe that I could be the only one who prefers high heels to ballet flats. It’s much harder to believe that God would rather I please his people with a unified appearance than please him with an open heart ready to receive. That’s how I get from lie to truth: I make my sentences longer and longer until they are so transparent and ridiculous even I, master of the art of dramatics, can’t buy into them.
And so, much like everything else that pertains to personal assessment in the Christian world, I have to do what feels right to me based on the fact that it doesn’t feel wrong. I trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance on matters like these. If I were inappropriately dressed- according to God, not according to human judgement– I would feel it. And feeling out of place or more rocker-chic than your Princess-Diana-level-classic compadres is not a Holy Spirit prompt of discernment. It is a human level act of comparison.
Plus, how entirely close minded of me to assume that Christian means one way, one type, one uniformed look. I know better. And to quote something I read somewhere: God loves unity, not uniformity. #getoveryourselfNoel
When I brought myself back to centered, I made the executive decision to wear what I like to wear and that which feels dressed up for me; whether or not it would qualify for casual Friday’s at my local Bank of America. I am less concerned with blending in and more concerned with doing everything I can to feel comfortable enough to put myself in a position to absorb all of the knowledge and truth that God plans for me to acquire at the conference.
So, as a nod to my newfound determination to not bend, nor break, in accordance with any of the legalistic shoulds of religion or “religious events”, I wore my tattered black skinnies to church this weekend.
And I fit right in.
What’s your take on fashion and the Jesus crowd? Would you like to hear my take on modesty next?
To be continued…