Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fall Fashion Inspiration

I don't know about you, but I've been ready for fall to make its annual appearance. It's time for golden light so thick that you could swim in it. It's time for jeweled treetops, crystal blue skies, and crisp air that sets your heart to dancing.

Ah. Fall.

I absolutely love the creativity our Creator displayed in His orchestration of our seasons. Each one marvels the senses and is a complete work of art in itself, reflecting God's excellence and love of beauty. And there isn't just one beautiful masterpiece of a season, either; there are several!

(Wow. Three short paragraphs, and my mind is already blown. I think I tried to type out at least five different conclusions to that above paragraph.)

So. It's fall. That means a wardrobe mix-up. Yay! While clothes aren't to ever be the focus of our lives or serve as our identity - that God's position - they do give us a fantastic outlet to express the creativity that God built into our personalities. Thus, I rarely tire of sticking this top with those pants, draping several necklaces over shirts to see which matches best, or posing in front of the mirror and debating the flats-versus-heels-and-which-color question. It's just fun! (And let's not forget some fun updos and tricks for my hair...)

When it comes to picking out my clothes for the day, I can get so caught up in looking great and boosting my self-confidence that I often forget that, really, I'm not the center of attention here. The apostle Paul wrote a crystal-clear reminder in 1 Corinthians 10:31 - "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (empahsis mine).

Guess what?  "Whatever" includes what I put on in the morning. Now, that doesn't mean I don a dumpy tee with Scripture emblazoned on the back and a burlap sack as a skirt so that people will only think about Jesus when they look at me. On the contrary. They could be debating my mental stability (or lack thereof). BUT - wear cute clothes, please and by all means! Enjoy expressing your unique, God-give personality through how you dress. 

Nevertheless, consider what people will note about you - or Jesus Christ, Who you represent (2 Cor. 5:20) - by observing what you wear and how you act. Are they thinking, "Wow. What an attractive girl with a good taste in clothing. She's not flashy, but she's looking good - I bet she's a really nice person" ? Or are they too distracted by tight pants or a low top, or some bling that, you know what, is just a little over the top? Allow author, pastor's wife, and speaker Carolyn Mahaney to clarify my point:

"Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn't judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our behavior. People don't necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible. They want to see if what we believe makes a difference in our lives. Our actions either bring honor to God or misrepresent His truth." -Carolyn Mahaney

 How we dress and our motives for doing so really do impact our ability to shine our lights in the midst of a very dark world. If I'm overly focused on my appearance on a certain morning, I've noticed in retrospect that I usually miss opportunities to share truth with someone who really needed it, love on someone who was hurting, or serve as an example for a weaker Christian or unbeliever. Maybe, however, I just throw on an outfit without much thought. Look back at the end of the day, and I might have distracted a brother in Christ from thinking pure thoughts, missed a chance to model the holiness of Christ before an unbeliever, and overall just really messed up my testimony.

So the next time you head for the closet, and before you get excited planning your next outfit, take a moment to commit your wardrobe to the glory of God. Purpose in your heart to model Christ - in all His holiness, love, and grace - through the clothes you wear and your action while wearing them. Let that little light shine, and you might be surprised at just how bright it is.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Thought for the Day

I encountered a pretty powerful thought on Pinterest. (Yes, yes, I was pinning. Guilty as charged.) But I wanted to share it with you.

 "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart."

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Grand Obsession

It's only been very recently that I've joined the great virtual pinning phenomenon known as Pinterest. (Anybody heard of it?) In all honesty, I really do enjoy scrolling through all the miscellaneous photos, videos, quotes, and links that are to be found in its endless archives. Being the EXTREMELY visual person that I am, I get a big kick out of browsing through the mass of digital files. Dreamy photographs, breathtaking scenery, adorable puppies, clever quotes, interior design ideas, fashion that I'll never afford...


*forces attention back on blog post*


Like all the other new trends popping up in the world of social networking, Pinterest has its pros and cons. You can use it as a tool to share God's truth (which, I might add, pertains to every aspect of life) and have a little fun on the side, or you can sit there for hours having fun and subsequently rationalizing your horrendous waste of time by saying you were doing it for the common good (of whom, I'm not entirely sure...). Or, you can kind of skip through it blithely, pinning here and there, enjoying yourself, giggling at the cute puppy faces, sighing at the wedding dresses...

Ah. The wedding dresses. And the guy in the tux. Now comes the entire point of this discussion. :)

Pinterest (and Facebook before it) seemed to brimming with photos from girls dreaming about their future significant other. They might look like this:

 Or maybe they're focused on things a little more spiritual, like this:

Or this:

But they're all pretty much the same. Same overall message: boy meets girl, boy smiles at girl, dear-future-mister, holding hands while the sun is going down behind them...

Now, come on, girls. You know you like this kind of stuff. I'm right there with you. I think it would be AMAZING to have a hidden photographer waiting to snap a shot of the moment when my future husband proposes to me. And I certainly think there's nothing more important in a man than his relationship with God and a love for His Word.

But isn't a whole album entitled "Here Comes the Bride" or "We Can Dream" featuring photos like this just a little...much? Even a considerable smattering of such futuristic pins in any album might be a bit over the top. Think about it. Does the word "obsession" come to mind? For me, it definitely does. We want to find our soul mate, somebody we can love and be loved by, a good and godly man that we can share the rest of our lives with. It's a natural desire and a beautiful one, placed in our hearts by the God Who the very source and fuel of pure, perfect love. Nevertheless, I would suggest that perhaps there's something wrong when we plaster our lives with dreamy reminders of our romantic aspirations - however spiritual they may be.

My father, one of the wisest people in my life, once noted that humans are created to be obsessed. It's built into us just like love and fear and joy and all of the other emotions that make us what we are. We were created to be obsessed with our Creator. However, because our world is fallen and sin has defaced its beauty, we tend to be obsessed with everything BUT our Creator. Like fashion, electronics, trends...our future Mister...

Are you getting the idea? Instead of being obsessed with dreaming about whoever God might have in our future, why not celebrate the beautiful life He has already given us - and be obsessed with Him?

John Piper put it well: "He is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him."

Make Him your grand obsession. He'll take care of the rest.

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