Taking off and Putting on
During the last few weeks, I’ve been enjoying my evening walks around our neighbourhood Oval a little more than usual. I love this cold weather. I feel invigorated when I walk around, wrapped in a layer of cool, fresh wintry air, enjoying the beauty of a refreshing wintry world. A world which includes rolling hills and misty mountains, the rippling sea and dancing sunshine, soft cotton clouds, bright stars and dappled moonlight, a world of beauty and order created by a loving Father.
The other day, I wrapped up extra well for my evening walk, because it seemed to be a cold evening. I wore a striped, dark blue long sleeved T shirt and an old, soft white jumper. Over them both, I put on as a 3rd layer; my trusty, light comfortable jacket - one which has seen the glow of many winters. At first, all was well. I was nice and snug. I felt just right! But as my body got heated up by my walking, I started to feel a tad uncomfortable. After a little while, I decided I was too uncomfortable, so much so, that I had to do something about it!
I was listening to praise music on my mp3 player which was tucked into my jacket pocket. My house keys and little torch were in the other pocket. Without removing any of them from where they were, and while still not missing a beat in my walking – I managed to remove my jacket (still attached to me by the wires of my mp3; its headphones stuck in my ears)! Rather an intricate maneuvering it was!
Next, still walking and still holding onto that jacket, I removed my jumper. Thankfully there were no passers by to watch my strange performance. Jumper removed, the next achievement I had to aspire to, was to tie the jumper around my waist. That done finally, I put my light jacket back on once again – very carefully, so as to not disturb my mp3 player. Ah! That was so much better. I’d been feeling too hot. Now? Now, I felt just right! Perfect!
And so I continued on my merry way with one striped long sleeved T shirt and one light and airy jacket. That was exactly what was needed that evening, to have me feeling cool and comfortable for the entire duration of the walk. The jumper had been redundant. Thankfully my waist could hold it. And so I walked on happily again, unencumbered and cool as a cucumber!
Sometimes we put on attire that we don’t need, don’t you think? I am talking of course about emotional clothing that we often wear – not realising how both unnecessary and uncomfortable they are to have on! And how they don’t do us any good!
The hurt that a friend inflicted on me sometimes pops into my head and my heart. I am tempted then to put on that hurt. I wear it for awhile as a garment. I think and ponder over it for awhile. Does it help me? No! It hinders my peace. What does God require that I do? Take it off, of course. Let it go. And so I remove it and toss it aside. And then – just as I enjoyed freedom minus my jumper – this time too, I feel refreshed and much more comfortable. Walking minus a layer of unnecessary emotional baggage is intensely freeing. How silly I was to wear it in the first place.
I put on worry and anxiety sometimes when a situation seems to demand it. Am I helped? Is God glorified through it? Of course not. And so…. I flick them off me too. And yes, I feel much better, cooler, lighter, happier.
There are other ‘layers of clothing’ that hinder my walk with God. Envy is an ugly shawl; pride a choking necklace, anger a heavy, winter coat. They do not become me. They hinder my walk and my talk. And so I know what I need to do. Take them off. Keep them off.
Sometimes I put on fear. Fear is not clothing I’d advocate for any season. It does no good – at any time, day or night. When I go to our Father – He removes that piece of garb from me and instead wraps around me, a tender trust in Him. The trust is all I need.
The clothes that befit me as a child of God are those that wear well and can be worn during every season. Love, compassion and kindness are robes that bring joy to my heart (and God's heart too). Gratitude, helpfulness and goodness are soft, relaxed clothing, which add special beauty to the wearer. Patience, gentleness and self control, are all very comfortable attire that makes one feel light and free. Empathy, faithfulness and mercy never wear out, no matter what the season.
Yes, so often I need to change my clothing. And I instantly feel better for it. My new clothes make me feel relaxed and comfortable. They enhance my mood and add a new spring into my step. Besides, whenever I want to dance in the rain, I put on a soft cloak of faith and my special shoes of hope which make my dancing so effortless and so easy to do.
How about you? Have you found the right clothing to wear today?