When I was in my teens, twenties and early thirties, my identity was found in my appearance. The need for new clothing was a temptation for me that I rarely ever resisted. The reason I got a part time job at 15 was so I was able to buy new clothes. Having a new outfit to layout the night before just made going to school the next day easier. Subscriptions to Seventeen Magazine, Vogue, and In Style were my bibles, before I knew The Bible. My major in college was Fashion Merchandising. When I graduated I worked in the fashion apparel retail world for years. Appearances were everything. Wearing the latest fashions was a requirement of the industry, which suited me just fine and gave a "justified" excuse for my well established clothing obsession.
Thankfully those years and twisted mindsets are long behind me because meeting Jesus in my mid-thirties helped me to see the worth and value on the inside of me. I was set free from needing to pretty up the outside to find my identity and approval. I still enjoy fashion and purchasing a new outfit or accessory, and have even created a fashion pin-board on Pinterest, but my priorities have changed and with the needs of a family to provide for, the opportunity to buy myself new things is much less frequent. I'm creative and have learned how to "make do" with what I've got in the closet. But, every now and then that old ugly temptation shows up and presses into me with whispers, You can't wear what you have, you must have something new.
I heard it last week over and over.
It's Easter, you must have a new dress to wear. Everyone will be wearing something new and you have nothing. You must have a new dress, after all it's for church.
It was tough to resist.
Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to dress nicely for church or buying a new dress for Easter, but this was different. If I'm going to be really honest, and I am, it was about keeping up with the Joneses. It was about not wanting to feel inferior and less beautiful. It was about pride. Pride is ugly and insidious. It slips in quietly and cunningly disguises itself into something that looks good and very palatable, but I felt it and knew the motivation was ugly. I wrestled with it for a couple days.
The ugliness of the motive to buy a new dress was staining the new garment before it was even purchased, blotting out the divine and covering it over with striving.
You see, we like getting something new, it makes us feel good to wear something beautiful. But we need to be careful, especially someone like me, with a past of bondage to appearances. Everyone see the outer garments. They give us compliments that build us up. We can end up striving for them.
I fought the urge to use a credit card to run to Kohl's and buy something "new and pretty".
This all may seem trivial to you, but I knew what I was dealing with was a wrong mindset trying to take hold of me again, so I prayed, asked my husband to pray. Later I felt God gently beckon and remind me of the garments I was already wearing.
Those without spot and wrinkle.
Those purchased at a great price.
Those that all the money in the world could not buy.
You have no need for a new Easter dress. There's only one arrayment that I see as beautiful and it's what my Son gave you...what He won for you.
Nothing you can purchase in this earth can ever compare to the garments My Son purchased for you with His precious Blood.
Then I remember the garments I'm already wearing.
Those of salvation and righteousness. Those that allow me to stand before God the Father, forgiven, because of what His Son Jesus did for me in His dying and raising back to life.
I was already dressed in the perfect Easter dress.
And the spell is broken with His word.
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness... Isaiah 61:10
Do you find it curious that of all the regular days of the year and all the holidays we celebrate, not one of them puts such a focus on wearing a new dress as Easter does?
One that we spend weeks in search of?
One that we wake up early or even stay up late to prepare to wear, ironing out the wrinkles, matching up the accessories?
Could it be because our spirits cry out for the holy arrayment that only comes
from a Life-Given for a life-spared?
The garment of salvation and the robe of righteousness, purchased for us and given without our striving. More beautiful to God than any earthly garment. I was thankful for that reminder.
And knowing I was lovingly covered in those precious garments, I was satisfied with choosing something from my closet for Easter.