Last week, my Bible study friends cut their food budgets in half or some cases, in thirds, giving the excess to charity…this week they cleaned out their closets and gave away their excess clothes. This is were I come into the picture.
Yesterday, at Bible study, I had the opportunity to share my store of what I learned from wearing one dress for one purpose for six months. I thought you would enjoy reading some of my reflections on my “dress journey”. Maybe it might even inspire you to take your own!
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Today is day 40 of the “Well” Dressed Challenge for me. When I began this challenge, my goal was to give up something I wanted (shopping, doing my hair, Starbucks) to donate the money to Living Water International so that they could drill water wells in Honduras. I am also wearing one dress for six months (180 days) to bring awareness to a problem that is solvable and a problem that if you and I decided to take action on, could change everything for people all across the world.
This week, God has been challenging me with this question: “Will you be like Me, instead of like you?” Or rather, will you act like me, instead of acting like you? The fact is that leading a busy and fulfilling life in ministry does not always mean you to mirror the image of Jesus in your day to day living. Walking the life of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is a day by day, moment by moment chose.
Here are some simple things I am observing about my “dress journey”:
1) Creativity: I have never been a girl who wore dresses. My perfect outfit is a pair of jeans, a white blouse, something that sparkles around the neck, and shoes that make a statement. A dress has always seemed complicated to me. I really don’t know why. But I have found that wearing a dress every day is helping me to become a creative person. I am being stretching beyond who I thought I could become in the area of creativity and am thankful for the challenge.
We are made in His image and God is creative!
2) Freedom: Creativity leads to freedom. I found freedom by breaking out of my Angela-style-stuck-box. And I am free from a lot of unwanted closet clutter that I no longer wear.
Freedom is also found for those who cannot help themselves when each of us uses the creativity and God-given gifts that the Holy Spirit put in us to help another person.
I read that in 1941, the British Secret Service had the game maker, Monopoly create a special edition for World War II prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money, and other objects useful for escaping. The games were distributed to prisoners by charity groups who were really secret service agents. That is what I call using personal creativity to free someone – literally! 1
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…Isaiah 61:1(NIV)
3) Consumerism: Most people will tell me they can’t join the challenge because they have nothing to give. These are hard times. I believe this statement is true. But as I look at the life of Jesus more closely, I learn that if I have one shirt, I have no need for another. God has provided all I need.
Yesterday, I was at Costco when the doors opened. When I left, people were fighting for my parking spot. I couldn’t understand why people were so angry. It is Thanksgiving. I looked at the items I bought, trying to comprehend what they could possibly be in such a rush over and thought, “Do I really need that pumpkin pie or that wrapping paper? Is it worth hating my neighbor over?”
“…’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 (NIV)
4) Awareness: Since we are on the subject of wrapping paper, through these 40 days, God has given me a keen awareness of how much I do not need. When I got the wrapping paper home I talked with my kids about wrapping our gifts in recycled product this year instead of $20 of wrapping paper. They loved the idea. We returned the wrapping paper on our next visit to Costco.
Another area of awareness the Holy Spirit is working out is my ever-ending need for approval from others. Today I had to consider my motivation for wanting to buy $20 worth of wrapping paper. I also had to consider why I didn’t want my picture taken in my dress today when I hadn’t taken a shower – if you are human, you can probably guess why!
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 (NIV)
5) Discovery: I have discovered the true color of my hair after 25 years of color and foils and the verdict is still out on whether or not I like that look or not. But seriously, I am discovering that God not only wants to solve the water crisis around the world, He also wants to refine me and heal me in the process.
Isn’t our Lord amazing that way! He will do it for you too if you will let Him. Won’t you join the journey?
“… in all the land, two parts shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left. And I will put this third into the fire, and Refine them as silver, and test them as gold. They will call on My Name, and I will answer and say, ‘They are My people’; and they will say, ‘Yahweh is my Elohim!!!’.” (Zec 13:9 NIV)
1 Monopoly (Game). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_(game) on November 22, 2011.