Friday, August 3

clothed with beauty

I read a blog this morning, written by a man named Hugo Schywzer. The gist of the blog is the idea of clothing bringing glory to God. He mentions the ongoing battle for many Christian women and  their fashion. For most women in the United States, the right top, a million shoes, and dazzling jewelry takes up most of their monthly budget and sits highest on their list or priorities. For some women, this sense of fashion becomes an identity and the right outfit for the right season and occasion is essential.

For some Christian women, fashion is sort of, taboo. Spending too much money on clothes is unreasonable and irresponsible. Because fashion has become more risqué and much more revealing, some Christian women feel that fashion is too inappropriate to enjoy. Now, I didn't grow up in the church, I wasn't a child of church staff, but I also didn't grow up feeling like I had to have the best clothes. Yes, yes I did attend high school and struggled with those self-esteem, good appearance, in-crowd garbage ideas, but I never held too much stock in whether I had the "right" clothes or not.

Now that I work in a church, however, and when I dated a pursuing pastor, I often walk out of the closet and say to him, "is this appropriate today?" You must understand, I LOVE CLOTHES. I can't figure out why. They are, after all, just a bunch of threads sewn together, but I enjoy the idea of a cute new outfit, I love something that makes me feel pretty. And in the midst of my clothes-loving, I have never gone overboard and worn a mini skirt to church, nor have I ever spent rent money on shoes, so where does the guilt come in?

Here's what I loved most about what I read; God understands these loves inside my heart. He gets that when I see a beautiful blouse, I love the idea of dressing His beautiful creation in colors and shapes and patterns. God clothed Adam and Eve because they were ashamed, but later He clothed priests and brides in exuberant colors and jewels, to show the beauty of what He made, to turn something tragic into something beautiful. When I adorn these curves of mine and feel sexy doing it, I'm glorifying the way He made me. When I put on a dress that fits perfectly and makes me feel free, I'm glorifying His perfect creation, His idea of beauty. I’m showing that my fears and worries about my weight, my shape, and my appearance, are far less important when I appreciate His artwork.

What I love most is that I have a God who sees my heart more than my actions. I love than when I feel guilty, I know that guilt does not come from Him. I love that I do not serve a God who expects, but that I can be expectant of. I love that I can desire to be beautiful, I can desire to have children, I can desire to be happy, and He sees those desires as the way I was made and a way to fulfill His promises, show His goodness.

Sure, I may have convictions about buying another pair of shoes when I already see twelve in my closet, because I know there are many people who go without. But that’s compassion, not guilt. And sure, I probably watch what I wear to church more closely than what I wear to the pool, but that’s respect for my husband, not shame.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, God does not make mistakes, He does not make ugly women. God makes everything beautiful, everything glorious, and the heart of a follower of Jesus is good.



Please credit the above ideas to Hugo Schwyzer. I will constantly battle the struggle with fashion and excess, but his kind words reminded me that shame and guilt do not come from God, and being a good steward of His gifts and blessings are what I should truly seek.  

Photo by Alli Dunham Photography.

2 comments:

  1. A friend of mine sent me a link to your post just now, Alyssa -- thanks for such a kind, thoughtful response. And hurrah for distinguishing respect and shame, compassion and guilt!

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and read!

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