It’s that time of the year when change is a word heard on many lips. Summer plans and graduations are a part of each conversation, and now that I’m home from college there’s so much to catch up on.
In between the coffee dates and puzzles with my brother, I have (in)courage responsibilities and lots of projects for school – no, it never truly ends. :)
At the end of each year I go through my clothes and “get rid of some.” AKA I push them to the back of my dresser drawers or hang them in the back of my closet. Because what if?
I could totally lose 5 pounds and fit into those jeans again. No matter that they’re from high school, I can do it!
Last year I came home and sorted through clothes I hadn’t worn once at college. If I hadn’t worn them all year, surely I didn’t need them anymore. But then I would hold them up, ready to fold and put into a bag to donate…and I’d remember:
Memories, attached with clothing, of times long ago. Shirts from camp when we went out on the dock and told stories, a dress worn at the beach walking through the damp sand on a long walk, shoes (too-small even when I thrifted them) worn to a 90’s party – my first “college thing.”
I didn’t realize how much clothing I had accumulated until coming home for summer, and suddenly I couldn’t hang up one. more. thing. in my closet.
And half of the stuff in there didn’t even fit.
I’ve settled into the fact that I’ll still have the memories without the clothes, and I’ll have less stress and frustration each time I open the sliding doors and reach in to grab a shirt. The clothes don’t define me, and what you wear doesn’t define you, either.
It’s your friendliness we notice, not your top.
Your necklace simply accentuates your beautiful smile.
I’ll see your kind eyes before I ever look down at your new shoes.
We – I – spend so much time on these outward things because they’re a covering, a protection, a shelter.
Maybe you’ll look at my cute striped shirt instead of the blotches on my face…I hope you’ll stare at my headband instead of my hips that are a little too wide for these shorts to be considered ‘flattering.’
I hope you’ll focus on these things and bypass the things I’m not a confident about, and in so doing I care way more about what you think than what He does.
Have you been there? I took a break from picking through clothes yesterday to check the Twitter, and my new friend Anna had just written: “Sorting and getting rid of years of clothing that don’t fit. Pray for me? (seriously) It’s an emotional process for me.”
The thing is, I’m really good at speaking truth to others and then realizing I need to hear it, too.
“Doing the SAME thing today. Listening to a podcast while I work to push the sad thoughts away. We’re more than this.”
You’re more than the jeans that are too snug around your hips. Your worth isn’t dependent on whether you can still zip that flowy blue dress up all the way. No one will like you any more or any less if you forgot to pluck your eyebrows before heading out the door.
You are more than what you look like, because when I meet you I’m looking at the you inside – the you that makes a meal for a new mama, the you who allows your little boy one more glass of water before bedtime, the you who invite the college kids over for a snack and prayer before taking a big test.
You who stay up late dreaming and wake up early for time with Him. You women who face tests and challenges with lists and to-dos and trust in the Plan of the One who ultimately holds it all, no matter the outcome.
You’re beautiful, no matter what you’re wearing today. That spit-stained shirt and your shorts with cheerio crumbs? They’re okay.
You’re okay. In fact, you’re beautiful in the mess, because then you’re relatable, welcoming, real.
As I pack up clothing that will never fit again, I’m reminded that my new clothes look just as good, and no one likes me because of my certain size jeans anyways. The truth is, I’m perfectly comfortable in my own skin, blemishes and all, but the too-small clothes are reminders of what I used to be – reminders I don’t even want.
That smaller girl was insecure, even in her small clothing. She didn’t know she would be loved for her, and she tried to look cute so at least it would appear as if she put time into her appearance.
This girl, the one who stands looking her her closet today and pulling out the old clothes, placing them in bags as worship music plays, she’s more than okay with herself.
Our beauty doesn’t come from our protection, it comes from the kindness in our eyes, the genuineness of our smile, and the sweet words that encourage as they leave our lips.