I was going away for three nights. It was going to be a kid free, session filled few days at conference. I stood next to a giant duffel bag with my head pounding, my back aching and hardly able to breathe.
What would I wear?
This wasn’t like a little bit of indecision, this was a level of panic I hadn’t felt in a long time overwhelming me. Suddenly I felt: what I wear is a reflection of my business. Which then reflects on my choices and style. Which ultimately reflects on me.
The more I tried stuff on and put back, or in the wash, or in the bag, my stomach start to hurt and my chest felt tight.
I crumpled onto my bed in tears.
“What is happening to me?” I thought. “Who am I and what is going on? Since when is what I wear such a life altering issue?”
I was a mess. Trying to clear my thoughts I decided to just go with a few favourite outfits from the last few weeks and forget about it.
We said goodbye to the kids, got in the car and drove away. I was worn out. Completely exhausted from the stress I had felt that day. I couldn’t believe I had allowed myself to get so worked up.
The week went on and it was quickly confirmed to me that no one was there to see what I was wearing, nor did it affect how they viewed my business and especially how they saw me as a person.
I knew that something had to change. Somehow since opening a clothing store that was meant to do good and plant hope, I had become consumed with the pressure of representing my product.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that’s smart business, but this was deeper. I was a carrying a weight that I was not meant to carry.
It was becoming my identity.
I came into the shop one day and collapsed on our couch, looked at my sister and asked “I’m about way more than clothes, right?”
She looked at me with a prophetic sparkle in her eye and began to remind me of them message that I was born to carry and the purpose of why this all began.
I knew right then my fear of blogging that had somehow come into me had to leave. That when I have told God that he has my brave yes no matter what he asks of me, it meant in vulnerability too.
2018 has been one endless lesson teaching me that nothing I do is actually about what I do. I mean, it is, in a sense. But it’s so much more. It’s about inspiring other people to discover that the greatest thing you can give is your brave yes. Literally, if you wanted a brand new start tomorrow, all you would have to do is give God your brave yes to whatever he whispered to your heart, and you would be immediately on the greatest adventure of your life full of fresh dreams, deep healing and renewed hope.
I don’t know if that packing catastrophe was an official panic attack or not, but call it what you like, I was physically sick from stressing out. And that is not what my life is about. Clothes do not define me.
It gave me instant perspective on the verse God had given me at the start of the new year.
Jesus taught his disciples, saying, “Listen to me. Never let anxiety enter your hearts. Never worry about any of your needs, such as food or clothing. For your life is infinitely more than just food or the clothing you wear. Take the carefree birds as your example. Do you ever see them worry? They don’t grow their own food or put it in a storehouse for later. Yet God takes care of every one of them, feeding each of them from his love and goodness. Isn’t your life more precious to God than a bird? Be carefree in the care of God!
Luke 12:22-24 (The Passion Translation)
When I read this at the start of the year I honestly geared up for some big financial difficulties, expecting that he was reminding me that everything was going to be ok. But verse twenty three is what it’s all about: Your life is infinitely more than just food or the clothing you wear.
God was so good to me. He planted an idea in my heart and asked me to see it through, then forewarned me not to let this become everything and to stay true to ALL that he had called me to do, not just a small part.
Well guys, I’m here. I’m back. I’m writing. I’m scared, but I’m brave. I’m sharing the good, the bad and the uglier-than-I’d-like-to-let-you-see. It’s my brave yes. My identity is all wrapped up in Jesus and when I’m not giving him every part of me everyday, my soul suffers.
You can insert whatever it is for you. Maybe it isn’t clothes. For you it could be something completely different, but whatever other thing we let define us ultimately hides us from looking like Jesus.
And really that’s the most important thing that we need to do. Shine like Jesus. That’s all this world really needs us to do.
Jesus, redefine who we are in you.