When I was a little girl, my mother worked nights as an LPN in a nursing home. So she missed out on the mad morning rush before school. My dad would make sure my two older brothers and I were all up and ready to go to school each day. Dad did not weigh in on my clothing ensembles. So wardrobe choices were left to my innocent whims. Plaid with my flowered-print shirt? Of course! Lavender parachute pants with my Rainbow Brite shirt? Why not?!? Ponytails at crazy angles? Check!
As an adult, I hope I have better taste in the way of fashion! However, I have found that there are other ways of dressing myself besides clothing. Colossians 3:12 is a verse I have written down and placed on my computer monitor at school as a visual reminder to myself. It says, “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Clothing myself. Covering my anger, my feelings of self-righteousness or bitterness, my pride, my personal and justifiable right to be right, even my sadness……covering all of that in these wonderful attributes. To be compassionate and kind and humble and gentle and patient is my goal in life. If I can reach those things, I will be more like Jesus. That is what I want!
But the truth is, I have NOT reached that goal at all. Not yet.
The other day I walked into my home from work super stressed and got angry about something my child had done – and my kindness left me. I started thinking about how annoyed I was rather than breathing for a moment, and I felt my teeth grind in my mouth as my gentleness left me. And as I started slamming kitchen cabinets and rolling my eyes, I knew that my patience had left before anything else. When we allow these beautiful traits to leave us, we are exposed as an ugly individual. I FEEL ugly when this happens. I know I want to be better than that.
So, with God’s help, I pick them up again….. In humility, I pick up my compassion and kindness and gentleness and patience. I put them back on. I cover the ugliness of what I would be without the Spirit living within me. And I pray. I pray that I wouldn’t lose that clothing next time I am stressed. I pray that I will become more like Jesus each day, loving each person as the valuable thing they are and learn to deal with problems firmly yet respectfully.
We are all a work in progress. How are you clothing yourself for your daily work? Are you prepared for the upcoming storm? Or will you lose your positive attributes when stressors hit? Remember Colossians 3:12! I will too!