“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3&4
“I think anything will be fine” was the patented answer from my husband, when I asked about the attire for an upcoming social gathering.
Pastoring in the capital city of the world’s most populous nation provided my husband and I with many enriching experiences. Whether it was a Christmas concerts for ambassadors, formal dinners at embassies, or birthday parties for wealthy businessmen, there was one side of me that felt truly honored to have been invited, but another side of me that felt like a fish out of water.
Leading up to the event, I would stand in front of the closet a week early wondering which outfit would work best. Sometimes convincing myself that a particular outfit would be okay, just to discover myself sweating in front of my closet with just hours before the event, certain that I would be the frumpiest lady at the party. Costume parties were the worst, almost all the ladies would be adorned in tailored made costumes. I just can’t bring myself to pay for a tailored costume that I would only wear once!
On the day of the event my mind would have an internal conversation: One-half of me is whispering “Am I trying to be something that, I am not” then the other half of me is whispering back “I am trying to become all things to all people so that I might win them over for Christ.”
Girlfriends, how do we walk this road with the heart and mind of Christ?
Firstly, If you have the money to treat yourself to something pretty, then do it. Remember, loving money is the problem, not spending it! Myself, I keep a black formal dress in the closet at all times. A black dress with black high heels is probably as versatile as you are going to get. I’ll put a different color of jacket or sweater over it for different times of the year. If I coordinate necklaces, scarves, and shoes, I have a half dozen outfits. You can usually pick them up cheaply on a clearance rack following the holidays or at second-hand store.
And let’s remember girls, it’s not so much as to what you are wearing, as much as it is to how you are wearing it. Remember to stand with your shoulders back and your chin parallel to the floor. Good posture goes a long ways in helping you look sharp!
On the day of the event, put on your outfit, take a spin in front of a full-length mirror, stand up straight and most importantly, remind yourself of the following Bible story.
In the New Testament, John the Baptist had quite a following of sophisticated Jews. They came out in droves to listen to a man who ate locust and honey and wore a gown of camel hair. They were not drawn to his appearance as much as his message. In Matthew chapter 11 Jesus asked the crowd the following rhetorical question:
“ What did you go out into the wilderness to see…A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.”
Jesus’ questioning of the crowd in Matthew is a good word of encouragement to each of us. Well-dressed, sophisticated people don’t really care about what you are wearing as much as what you are saying.
Our savior Jesus stood before multitudes and held the attention of government leaders in a simple woven garment. In both cases, It wasn’t really about what they were wearing as much as the hope that they offered.
I think it all boils down to, do your best, then forget about it! Choose the outfit that you think will work for the occasion, then get your mind off yourself and onto the needs of the people that you will meet. God is ready for you to be His ambassador of hope to all people, no matter where they gather.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Co. 5:20