My New Blue Jacket
I saw it a month ago when browsing at my favourite clothing store. It was too dear to purchase. 50 dollars was way too much – even for a smart navy blue jacket made in a beautiful, soft velvet-like material. I soon forgot about it. A few days ago though, while doing my weekly shopping, I glimpsed a lady at the shopping centre dressed in one of those stylish blue jackets. I stopped. I looked at her. Yes, it did look lovely. I was tempted!
I had a little chat with my heavenly Father. I’d just received my first salary, so I could afford to buy it. But no – $50.00 was too much. I told God that if it was marked down to $25.00 or less, I would like to buy it. ‘What do you think Lord?” I asked. I believe I saw God smiling in agreement. I got to the store and wandered around for a few minutes looking for bargains, but hunting most of all for that lovely blue jacket. There didn’t seem to be a whisper of it anywhere. However… a very pretty purple blouse grabbed my attention. It was only $15.00– marked down to less than half price.
I tried it on. It fitted perfectly. I liked it. I decided to buy it. As I paid for my new purchase, I looked idly to my left. And then I saw it. Yes, those blue jackets weren’t sold out after all. I walked over and checked their price. Surprise, surprise! They only cost $20.00 each. A 60% discount. I tried one on. It looked great. I confess I bought that too.
The very next day I wore my beautiful new navy blue jacket to work. Dark blue denims, a light pink long sleeved shirt and in contrast, my lovely new navy blue jacket. I looked at myself in the mirror, smiling at my reflection. I liked it. I had another great day at work, thriving on connecting with lots of lovely people. I felt a tad disappointed though that no one commented as to what a pretty jacket it was. They took that jacket in their stride. Perhaps it looked nothing out of the ordinary.
As I thought about it, I knew it didn’t matter. Not a whit. What really mattered was that I liked it. That I felt good wearing it. And that it was very comfortable. In fact, it occurred to me then, that there are other important things in life where what mattered was the kind of person I was deep within – not whether others knew about it or talked about it.
Take for instance the question of Integrity. What’s more important?
1. That others know me as a person of integrity or
2. That I really am a person of integrity?
The answer is obvious isn’t it? My life before Him is all that matters. What I should aim at then, is a life of integrity before God – a life that pleases Him. All else will follow.
Forgiveness. Forgiveness is very important. Right? But often, no one might even be aware that I’ve had to forgive someone who’s hurt me. And that’s perfectly OK. The crucial issue is whether I choose to forgive or not. Not that anyone knows about it.
Prayer. Does it matter if people know that I pray? No. Not half as much as it matters that I pray. Full stop. It matters that I take prayer seriously. That I have constant communication with my heavenly Father. That I care enough for others to intercede on their behalf.
Misunderstandings. There are times when people may misunderstand me. Times they interpret my words or actions wrongly. Does it matter? Yes but also No. It matters because it’s better if I am not misunderstood. Misunderstanding could lead to strife. But on a different level, it doesn’t matter in the least. As long as I am doing the best I can to live and to love well - it doesn’t matter if I am occasionally misunderstood.
Love. Love is the biggie. Love is the way to live. Love is what matters. Ah! But love has different faces Love stands up for its convictions. Love sometimes says ‘No’. Love lays boundaries to protect oneself and to protect others. Love is not always as simple as it sounds. It matters not that I please everyone all of the time. It matters more that I love the way God expects me to love. With abandon. In His strength. And importantly with His wisdom. With the right motives. And the right perspective.
And so, I smile as I think about my new blue jacket. Not only does it keep me warm and snug; not only does it keep me feeling good inside it; my new blue jacket has also reminded me of an important truth.
About living to an Audience of One.
Who is your Audience today?