I think women as a whole love clothing. If you are like me, sometimes it’s not even about the purchase made. I can window shop, browse, even try on, and not always have to buy. I love the feeling of well-made clothing. The articles you try on and know you cannot live without. They fit perfect. Enhance your appearance. Feel good on your skin and make you feel great about yourself.
As we wrapped up our women’s group last night before the holidays we talked on this a bit. Clothing. We talked about authentic selves and how we oftentimes want to “appear” one way on the outside when in reality our inside is being tortured and is screaming for relief. Women are tough. We tend to hold in a lot for many reasons. Hiding things from our husbands, our children, our families our friends; oftentimes to save them heartache and grief, but also out of pride.
I have been on a quest and in a lot prayer for the past year for authentic relationships with women. Maybe it’s my age, but I know that likely my heart has softened enough and has been reconstructed enough that I cannot stand being inauthentic. I mean..I have pretty much always been this way, give or take the 20’s when we all struggle in this due to not even knowing who we are. I turned a leaf in my late 20’s however, and gave up any false-self. I do not need to compete, feel incompetent, or below anyone. I became immune to jealousy, resentment, and envy. It was amazing to take off those garments. They bound me. Made me itch. Their fabric was coarse and cheap. My prayer is that every woman would shed these clothes.
I heard a quote from a friend last night that said this of women: “We need to stop putting our best foot forward and honor God by putting our weak foot forward.” As women though we oftentimes have a tough time at this. We do not want to show weakness. Allow it, because when you do, it’s freeing. Everyone is in a struggle over something. Everyone. And those that take the time to come alongside others, in love and authenticity, and realize this struggle, gain so much. The curtain comes down and that’s where a life-friendship starts. We no longer feel the need to compete, be better than, slander one another or spread gossip. It’s true. It’s real and trustworthy. It’s pure. It’s beauty at it’s greatest form.
I have had the privilege of leading the aforementioned group of women over the past 6 weeks through a Colossians study. This group of ladies are as real as you can get and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt our friendships are not superficial. We will stand by one another through anything. There is a deep connection there…a soul connection. Ya know why? We got real. We laughed, we were angry, we cried a lot. We dug into the layers beyond what the average person sees. We took off old, ragged, shredded, decapitated, frazzled, frayed and broken garments and walked along side one another to find a new wardrobe. We cleaned out our closets and helped one another “shop.” We opened a closet full of things that were beautiful and graceful. Marvelous and unique. These clothes fit us perfect! The clothing of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We took off the old and put on the new and this new wardrobe is extraordinary!
What is your closet full of?
~But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self which is being renewed…Col 3:8-10