Here’s a story about outfits – both physical AND metaphorical. It’s deeper than it sounds.
It starts a few weeks back when I was searching for a Christmas outfit for a tea I was going to sing at. I was pretty excited about it, because I haven’t sang at anything for like a couple of years. And I actually at one point thought, maybe I wouldn’t get to sing anymore, but then God was like, “Okay, breaks over, you can sing again!”.
So, I was really, really excited, because when I sing, I feel like I get to say in my best, most clear voice: who God is, and what He’s done. I can’t explain it super good in words, but I feel like a big part of my soul gets to connect with Jesus, and even join with other people when we all praise the same God. It just feels amazing and I love it. It’s what I imagine heaven to be like in a way.
Singing is also great, because it’s like a very concentrated time of focusing on just God. I can’t think about laundry very well when I’m singing to Jesus, so it’s great for undistracted focus on Him.
That all being said, I was pretty jazzed about finding the perfect “debut” outfit for singing. At this point I thought that was high on the importance level: finding an outfit.
So I picked a dress, but it was more of a leggings dress, so after scouring all the stores, I ordered some cranberry leggings online. I figured once they showed, I could then move onto picking shoes. All the men have just checked out of my story, I’m sorry, it gets better.
Saturday comes (6 days to the tea countdown) and no leggings in the mail. They were lost. Among a few other life stressers, this was topping my list. So when my husband sat me down and asked me what was wrong on a frazzled Saturday morning, and I said my leggings hadn’t shown up in the mail he had a confused look.
I told him they were important. I told him how important my outfit was.
Then he asked, “doesn’t the bible say something about not worrying about what you’re going to wear?”.
Yes it does.
Stinkers, he was right. Again, I am stumbling all over my stupid self. I can’t even get to a tea to sing without bumbling all over about nothing.
So, I prayed with him, and gave my leggings to Jesus. And it was kinda hard.
Then in church that night, in worship, I gave my whole outfit to him again. I felt so much better. I would wear whatever he said. It didn’t matter.
As our pastor was introducing a new series about Being Jesus. He said something like, the reason Jesus was born was so that He could die. The whole culmination of His life was so that He could die on the cross for us. It was his BIG moment.
Then Jesus said to me, “And I didn’t even get to pick my outfit.”
Yes. He said that.
I felt like an idiot. And I was also laughing in my head.
Just to attempt to compare the importance of Jesus’ BIG moment, and me having an outfit for a tea – it’s mathematically impossible, because my life itself in all it’s summation is not even a speck of dust in the entire universe compared to anything Jesus.
And yet, He still talks to me, and makes jokes in church.
Besides, He didn’t even get to wear pants on the cross. AND, they put a crown of thorns on His head. That had to be not only humiliating but painful. Blood was His accessory.
And I was worried about my leggings. And I am lame.
Skip to the tea.
My leggings were re-shipped, I found shoes. Everything was fine.
We sang. People had an opportunity to worship God.
Here is the interesting thing, this is where the other outfit comes in. The metaphorical one.
Old me, old worship leader me, would have sang and felt like that was apart of who I was.
But this time, it was different.
I felt free.
Old me would have wrapped herself in a cloak that said, “singer, or worship leader, or worship team member-fancy pants”.
That cloak is heavy, it’s made of steel and iron. It’s like a magnet that people can throw heavy objects of criticism to and they stick. It drags the wearer down, down and down to the ground. It’s full of judgement, and fear of failure, it’s restricting and limiting, and keeps my head to the ground in hopelessness. It’s also full of pride, and self glory, and it resembles someone else who is an enemy of God. It’s a horrible, dark and ugly cloak to wear.
The original cloak came off when our church closed and I was out of ministry for almost three years. For three years I asked God who I was. If I wasn’t a worship leader, then who was I? Where did I get my value? My worth? What did I DO to deserve Jesus?
Years and years, I built who I was around what I thought I did for God.
After he stripped all that away, I was almost afraid to go back to any of it.
But this time it was different.
This time I didn’t’ put the cloak back on.
How? I’m still not sure, other then Jesus made that happen.
He helped me finally understand that He loves me unconditionally. He doesn’t love me because I sing for Him. He doesn’t love me because I try to be a good christian. He doesn’t love me for my efforts. He doesn’t love me for anything I “do.”
He loved us first. His love is enough.
And you know what else? He took another cloak off me the next day.
My homemaker/mother/wife cloak.
The one where I tied my identity and value to what I do at home. How hard I work all day in my roles as a mother, wife and homemaker. The cloak where I find my value in who I am, based on what I accomplish, how perfect my kids behave, how tasty and on time dinner is, how clean my home is and how organized my life appears.
Realizing that I can relax because Jesus, the God of the entire universe, the maker of it all, loves me just for who I am – His. My performance, success, failure, efforts – none of it are tied to who I am. I am just His.
Do you even understand how chill I have become the last two days? This is THE BEST Christmas gift I’ve ever been given. EVER!
How did this truth elude me for years?
His love, His action of dying for me is enough. It covers it all. He did it. Not me. He does it, not me.
God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light. (Matthew 11:30). That could totally say cloak in another version, I’m just saying (it doesn’t but still, they rhyme.)
He doesn’t want me wearing any cloaks of self identity.
Just walking freely with Him. In cranberry leggings, apparently;-)