It’s Day 5 of the clothes fast, and so far everything is going quite well. To be honest, with the start of term and the return of madness and endless ‘to do’ lists, having virtually no choice about what to wear every day is probably a blessing in disguise!
The weekend was a bit more of a challenge: wet weather and no coat. On the other hand, I was probably in the majority – this being the North East. Only wimps wear coats!
I would definitely have preferred a coat on Saturday. And shoes, rather than sandals. But then, this isn’t meant to be about my preferences. Plus, I did have an umbrella, so it wasn’t as if I got particularly wet.
I was also more bothered than I should have been about wearing jeans to church. I don’t know why I was bothered – our Sunday services are not a fashion parade and I can’t imagine that anyone cared what I was wearing. We had a wonderful service – nearly two hours long! – and once I was there, I was too busy to feel self-conscious.
Of course, I could have worn one of the dresses. But I was on duty as a steward and it was a cafe service. However I felt about them, from my limited wardrobe, jeans were the best option.
I think I spend more time than strictly necessary trying to make sure that whatever I am wearing is appropriate. Packing for a holiday can be stupidly challenging when I’m constantly thinking ‘what if, what if’. Just recently, when I was heading to Texas, I’d been rejoicing in the fact that it was going to be so hot all I really needed was lots of different sleeveless tops and lightweight skirts and trousers. And then, the week before I was going, I discovered it was the wettest August on record. Still hot, but wet.
I made several adjustments to my holiday wardrobe. But, needless to say, on the day when I did get caught outside in a pretty impressive storm, I didn’t actually have my coat with me. And the rain was so heavy it wouldn’t have made much difference anyway! I was soaked to the skin – but it didn’t really matter. I could have got by if I had taken considerably less away with me.
Perhaps I’m learning not to worry so much about stuff that doesn’t really matter. I mean, I don’t think it’s a significant problem for me in comparison with people who are totally obsessed with appearances and fashion – but this isn’t about comparing myself with other people. It’s about learning more about what God really wants from me – and it’s certainly made me think more seriously about what Jesus was really saying when he was telling people that they didn’t need to worry about such trivial things:
“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
(Matthew 6 – The Message)
So, much as I am looking forward to swapping some of my clothes choices, and much as I am taking care to look at the weather and my diary commitments for the week ahead, I am definitely trying to relax about whether my clothes are totally fit for purpose – and perhaps even enjoy the fact that I have an excuse if they are not!