Misfit clothes…

January 24, 2011 at 9:47 pm (Uncategorized)

I hang out at the West Village Starbucks often.  Not so much now as I used to, but still often enough.  As I walk by the amazing, expensive, trendy stores that line the walkway between my car and Starbucks, I often catch a glimpse of myself in the mirrors that are seen through the store windows.  And though it reveals my vanity to say as much, I have to admit, there are times that I have been slightly horrified by the way I have looked in comparison to the others around me.

One day in particular.

Usually, I try to at least appear decent when I go to Starbucks in West Village.  After all, it is in the very center of Dallas Uptown culture.  But sometimes, I really do not care at all what I look like and I just throw on whatever looks comfortable and is lying around my room.  On this particular day, I threw on shorts and a tshirt, grabbed a sweatshirt, and put on my tennis shoes.  I didn’t bother to look in a mirror or anything before I rushed out the door, ready for a day of studying.  Needless to say, I got ready in a hurry and clearly missed that I had put on my shirt backwards.  I had no idea.  For about 5 hours.  It was like it was invisible to me.  It didn’t change anything.  I didn’t interact with people as if I knew my shirt was on backwards.  I just went through everyday life but it was on wrong, for all to see.  All but me.

Which brings up a lot of questions.

Why didn’t anyone mention it to me?  punks.

What are other things that people can see but I’m oblivious to?  uh-oh.

How did I allow myself to get so distracted that I didn’t put the effort into noticing something so wrong?  school is too much.

This happens to all of us in far greater areas than improperly worn clothes.

Too many of us do not have people, or enough people, in our lives who will be honest with us.  And, honestly, it’s probably because we’re not honest with them.  So many of us make the mistake of “craving” real, deep community…yet we are just sitting around waiting for everyone else to crave it too.  I’m afraid that this can’t be so.  We have to want honesty and depth so much that we pursue it, even at the risk of ourselves.  We have to become vulnerable to ever achieve vulnerability.

For some, myself included, this is the hardest part. I have my core small group that I am completely honest and open with, even my deepest secrets.  I would tell them anything, answer any question with complete vulnerability and honesty.  However, my security stops there.  I am afraid of opening up to more than this small group.  Why?  I am not sure.

Though it seems obvious to anyone that you must be vulnerable in order to have honesty and depth, it seems to escape almost everyone.

We are often oblivious to insufficiencies in our lives because we don’t know how to pay attention to them.  We live without focus, without intentionality.  We become numb and see tons of problems out there – but not the problems written all over our, well, selves.  I think this is the religious tendency in us.  We get so good at covering our own weaknesses that they disappear in our minds.  It’s as if we go through life, with our rituals and checklists, judging others but never examining ourselves.

For the love of all that is valuable to your soul, examine yourself.

And lastly, sometimes we don’t notice our improperly worn clothes because we’re distracted.  We have a million other things on our minds, some of them even good things, but they end up distracting us.  I think we could all sit down and come up with lists of the things in our lives that distract us.

But all of a sudden we’ll find that we’re a reflection, quite literally sometimes, of our distractions.  We are no longer a reflection of the heart God is cultivating in us, we’re just a messy, jumbled picture of our jobMinistryFacebookTwitterHabitsRunningKidsChurchServiceOrganizationSchoolActivities.

We don’t even have time to realize that we’re wearing our clothes all wrong, we just keep skating by, one moment to the next.

Even though my memories in the mirror today are an admittedly shallow metaphor, I would say that it reminded me about how ignorant we can be to our own shortcomings.

And whether it’s because we lack others to help us, or we just neglect it, or we’re so busy we don’t notice it, it’s real.  It’s there.

And it’s representing you in a way that you’re unaware of but you’d be horrified if you knew.

The best way to grow into the Body of Christ is through dependence on others, intentionality, and giving yourself adequate time and space to do so.  When we lack these things, we’re not giving Christ the interest He desires.  In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together, he summed it up best by saying, “Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ.”

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