Being a Clothes Horse

15 Jun


When I was a young girl growing up Baptist, our part of Christ’s church went through an unfortunate phase. Though never stated explicitly, there seemed to be an expectation that a woman would marry at around age 18, then proceed to become dowdy. She would gain weight, let her hair and make-up go, and wear clothes that became progressively more baggy and plain-colored. Her husband would not be far behind.

It always seemed to me that people became insecure when they got married and had to ensure that their mates became overweight and plain in order to guard against outside temptation! I am sure that is simplistic and I certainly have friends who have never worn make-up nor had their hair done who are stunningly gorgeous in their natural state, but that doesn’t seem to be what the good folks then were after! They seemed to delight in being dowdy.

I believe Marabel Morgan’s “The Total Woman” (which I wrote about earlier this week) was meant to be a reaction against the general dowdiness of the age. It served its purpose, back in the 70’s, as I said.

I believe we live in a constant state of tension between going too far toward either of two extremes. Those extremes are not always the same in every situation, but there are always two extremes there.

Today, we understand that dressing attractively and attractively presenting the gospel can be two interwoven realities. Today we seem to need to avoid to going to the extreme of making a god of our clothing choices and worrying about small “fails” like gold shoes that don’t match our silver jewelry. At least I do.

In the area of clothing, I just lost 110 pounds and am buying a new wardrobe, while readying my old one to pass along to a friend, in good (and sometimes almost new) shape.

I have always liked pretty clothes. I especially like them when I am thin.

I understand that that can lead a person who is not into clothes, make-up, and cologne to assume that I am rather vapid. Others get to choose how they think of me.

On the other hand, we are made of flesh and many, many ladies whom I don’t regard as vapid at all like clothes, make-up, and cologne. In fact, some sweet fellowship times that glorify God in His presence involve talks or discussions about fashion. Many ladies enjoy those times.

I believe there are various personality types in play here, along with the fact that we don’t all have the same interests. For some reason, the human race delights in disparaging people who differ from us. For Christians, that can involve overspiritualizing our own interests and denigrating the interests of everybody else who doesn’t share ours.

That is unfortunate when you have gifted women who all have leadership qualities sniping at each other because they have diverse interests, like fashion, theology, giving to charity, or music (I have all of those interests, by the way!).

For example, I have seen people use the tack that it is a waste of money to go shopping and buy nice clothes. Others will present it as a waste of time.

Yet no one spends her time 24/7 in Bible study or witnessing to the lost. Nobody spends all of her excess money reaching out to the unfortunate. Those are important areas, but it is also important to realize that many times when we lecture others about them, we only show our own need for growth in grace, as we don’t consistently hit those areas either.

If a woman is an organizational genius and spends her time organizing closets instead of filling them with clothes, that is great! More power to her for being interested in that area.

If a woman is gifted at saving money and turning it into a blessing to her husband (lower expenses) and to the unfortunate (more money to give them), I rejoice with her in her strong gifting and leadership.

However, never did our Lord give us permission to turn our own lives into extrabiblical object lessons for others. Paul told people to follow him as he followed Christ (obeyed Christ’s Word). Paul never told anyone to follow him as he freelanced and made up his own rules.

As spiritual as we can make our language while trying to seem more pious than other people, God never gave us permission to depart from His Word in our teaching.

We are flesh and we live in a physical world. It is possible to glorify God here in many diverse ways.

I, for one, am enjoying being able to use my knowledge of fashion and sales cycles to help others get flattering clothes at discount prices.

I somehow don’t ever see God requiring me to apologize for that.


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