I do not claim to be a person who knows much or puts considerable thought into fashion. My rule of thumb typically falls within the line of: if it’s comfortable, I’m in it. There are these so called ‘Fashion laws’ I remember hearing along the way: “No white after Labor day,” “Shoes match the belt,” “less is more,” “Do not mismatch patterns,” and “never wear navy blue with black.” It seems now we live in a time, where anything goes, where people are more comfortable coloring outside the lines when it comes to wardrobe choices, and where the no no’s of our growing up, seem to be the trendy fashion for kids today. You still probably will never catch me in mismatch patterns, and white after Labor Day? I just choose to stay away from the color period. And I probably will always hold true to less is more. So even though I may not follow these new cooler fashion trends, I do still believe it is important what I put on each and every morning.
For the past year, I have found myself in three separate studies of Acts. I am confident that it is not by coincidence that I have ended up in this book or learning more about Paul’s story. I’ve always been a Peter girl, riveted by this rough and tumble fellow whose emotions often got him in trouble, this man who frequently spoke before he thought, and despite it all was in the inner circle, one of Jesus’ dearest, most loved friends. But the more time I spend in Acts, and in the other books that Paul has pinned, I am finding that same fascination for this man that I could never seem to connect with before, and honestly who I knew very little about.
As I laid on my bedroom floor this morning in defeat from the insecurities that had already challenged my day as I flipped through hanger after hanger of clothing, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the church in Colossians.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NLT)
Paul, a fashionista?? Who knew!
Maybe it did not matter what dress I pulled out of the closest, as much as it did that I walked out of the house wearing compassion. Being available to suffer, moved to the core--in my guy, by a person’s demanding situation or trying circumstance.
Maybe it did not matter what color top looked more flattering, than it did that I got into the car covered in kindness, fixed to lend my strength to whom ever made need it.
Maybe it did not matter what sweater I grabbed for the cool AC filled office, than it did that I drove down 95N suited up in humility. Ready to view myself accurately, ready to approach all who crossed my path today as a friend, and acknowledging what makes me special, is the exact same thing that makes anyone else special—that we are all loved by our Heavenly Father.
Maybe it did not matter what shoes adorned my feet, than it did that I walked through the parking lot clothed in gentleness. Equipped to set aside my strengths, and meet others in the middle of their strengths and weaknesses.
And maybe it didn’t matter what purse carried my belongings, than it did that I walked into that office dressed in patience, prepared to set aside my own pace, and deciding to go the speed of others.
I also laid on the floor this morning in the conquest of feeling misunderstood, walled off and hard hearted toward those who have caused hurt, for those who have failed to understand. I reached for my Bible, and continued to read Paul’s words in vs. 13 & 14 “Make allowances for each other’s fault, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”
It does not matter how misunderstood I feel, or the hurt caused by others, Paul says to throw on the fashionable cloth of treating others, not how they should be treated, but how time and time and time and time again God has treated me.
And over all let love be your canopy.
Maybe Paul’s name will never carry the weight in the fashion world like those of Armani and Versace. Maybe he will never have a fashion advice column in Style magazine. But it’s Paul’s advice: clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love that will be the fashion rules from this point on that I will intentionally try to follow.