Tuesday, August 20, 2013

a wardrobe overhaul | lessons in contentment

there's so much bubbling up, ready to pour out onto these pages. i really love writing down my thoughts and sharing them here. sometimes there's just too much to talk about though. i do want to keep track of my contentment journey, so i'm writing the about the latest. clothes
a different kind than you're thinking of maybe. and there's much more to say than i have time to write, but here's a tiny peek into my wardrobe issues. 

"what's the one piece of clothing you cannot live without?"
"little black dress? flirty floral? what's your go-to party wear?"
"what's your favorite date night look?"
"when you travel, how do you choose what to pack?!"

i've heard and read those and similar questions since always. and really, my answers haven't changed much over the years:

"i am not really a fan of any of my clothes, but i am not a nudist, so."
"please, lord. do not let anyone invite me to a party."
"what is date night?" or "whatever has the least stains."
"that's easy. i pack everything i own. with room to spare."

one pair of jeans
one pair capri jeans
one pair too-big-super-lint-collecting cropped pants
one pair of work out pants
one jersey maxi skirt
four button up shirts
two cardigans - cardigans are my fave
one tank top
two comfy tees 
owned, but can't be counted, one pair of 'close to home' jeans-you know the sort with holes worn in unfortunate places you don't leave the house in.

seeing that typed out, it seems like a lot of clothes. and for many, it is a lot of clothes.
even for my younger self. for example, in eighth grade i wore the same pair of jeans everysingleday and rotated my two best shirts-that looked almost identical. except on my basketball game days, i wore a denim dress. it was the most amazing, most favorite article of clothing i've ever owned to date, so i didn't mind that i wore it everysinglegameday. and to church on sunday. every sunday.

i have a trip coming up, and i've planned all along to purchase a couple new items before i leave. my working budget is small for such a thing, but i am a successful deal hunter. i mean, i need something new that i feel cute in. or at least less un-cute. the little i have is faded and spent. mostly because i wear the same things all the time. for a long while, it was a choice, having a slim-stocked closet. it's easier to choose outfits for the day, because chances are, you've only got one clean. and speaking of cleaning, it's less laundry. and it means there's more money to give when it's not used to get that additional wardrobe staple. and really, i want to keep things simple for those same reasons. but.
well, i lost some weight. which means new clothes are necessary. i just couldn't get very much. and that made me angry. angry that i don't have any staples. 
i'm a gaping mess of mish-mash clearance rack wannabe staples. sometimes i chalk it up to time. i have precious little time, and i sure don't have time to go browsing and thinking about clothes. when i have needed anything, i just zoom to the cheapest corner of the store and thumb through for anything that's my size. and make myself ok with it not really being "my personal style". i don't have time to search for the winning pieces. and i guess i don't even know what my personal style is exactly.
until today.

lately my personal style has been ugly. i've been wearing things around like i'm somebody and truth is, they're hideous things to wear. since the lord brought this sin of discontent to my attention, he's held nothing back. so many areas have been infected with my ungratefulness and yearning for other than. today i really thought about my clothes. my janky ones in the closet and how they're palace garb to some folks. and i thought about my other clothes. the ones i wear on my heart.

i'm doing an intense book study with a few dear friends and today's lesson took me to colossians 3. specifically verses 12-17 made me sick. all the things those verses say to "put on" and wear? i have been too often choosing to wear the opposite of those things. and everything i do in the name of jesus in thanks and to his glory? fail. fail. fail. i've been about me. me. me. 

i have been obsessed with my own struggles and ignored ways to relieve others'.
been deliberately snappy to my husband, proving points and whatnot. gross.
pride in myself and my supposed abilities, denying certain sins, obeying the spirit's leading sometimes.
needing to be right and let everyone know about it.
completely impatient. in the grocery store, in my family, with the lord.
hanging on to hurts. like it's going to make it better or make them suffer somehow while i opt out of forgiveness.
i've been stressed and cold hearted, too much seeking to meet my own needs. 
being ungrateful with who i am, where i am, what i have.

as i read those verses over again out loud, i prayed. the sickness and shame evaporated. i was sorry for being so foolish, wearing those raunchy rags when i knew where the finest threads are. jesus dressed me in forgiveness and showed me his style is best. freedom and beauty are in these "clothes". i need to dwell in his word to keep well-dressed. 

putting on these things, as his chosen and beloved:
a compassionate heartkindnesshumility, meekness, and patiencebearing with others and, if one has a complaint against me, forgiving them; as the lord has forgiven me, so i also must forgive. and above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. and let the peace of christ rule in my heart, to which indeed i was called in one body. and be thankful. let the word of christ dwell in me richly, teaching and admonishing me in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in my heart to god. and whatever i do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the lord jesus, giving thanks to god the father through him.

that's what my personal style should be. contentment comes naturally when i wear these things daily as i should. i see things through a different lens, and am compelled to be full of gratitude and sing with joy. it's the beautiful cycle of grace (like a circle of life, if you will). when i'm so unhappy for what i have, in my closet or elsewhere, it's grieving to the lord (and makes me miserable too!) it must not be so.

i'm thankful to god for being so gentle with me. so patient. thankful for the fresh vision of what truly matters. thankful to be reminded that what i already have is the very best there is. the grace of jesus and the good news of the gospel.

i may still go shopping. this time with freedom and joy instead of frustration and disappointment. because if i don't see the right things, i will joyfully wear my faded and worn clothes with a brand new heart underneath.
shopping isn't wrong! it's the motives, seeking better/more/new things for the sake of better/more/new. it's ok to want to look nice on the outside. but it only matters if the inside is properly dressed first, i think.

have you thought about your "heart clothes" lately? do yours need updated every day like mine? 


  1. Well, i have to say thank you for being real. Man i struggle with all these things as well. Especially the proving points.... And being snappy and well all of those things. Thank you for these reminders of what we need to be clothed in! And Praise God that he is so gentle and patient.

  2. girrrrrrrl. you are in my head. THIS is exactly what i have been wrestling with in my life and the lives of my children recently. I laid awake last night from 2:30-5am thinking about this yuck that has been consuming. yesterday i created a new set of those scripture memory cards and included colossians 3:15. naturally i read all the verses around it. it hurt. it made me uncomfortable. it made me reevaluate the things that have taken the high seat in my every day and what needs to change. thanks for sharing your heart sweet friend!

  3. dang. this was sooooooooooo good.

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart and opening my eyes. xoxo

  5. Love this. Amazing. Thank you!

  6. love this so so much, sweet hannah!! you always bless my heart with your honest heart-sharing and your constant faith in our God. <3
    love and blessings to you! <3

  7. Beautifully written, my friend. What a poignant reminder!

  8. This is just great. In every way.thank you for blessing me!

  9. This is me, Hannah. Man, it has been a struggle, but I know I'm finally listening to what He's teaching me about it. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  10. Blessed to have found your blog and this beautiful post! Thank you for the challenge and encouragement!

  11. I feel like I can never hear that passage enough, EVER time I read it, it stirs up my soul. thank you friend. XO

  12. Hannah, I don't read blogs often, but I always enjoy reading yours. It is so different from all of the others. Transparent and honest, filled with God-given wisdom. Words that have meaning and subjects that are important in our everyday lives. Now that's what I need to be reading, and not always just superficial things on the latest fashion, celebrity gossip, etc.... you are a treasure and I always want you to know that we are all a work in progress, and we all make mistakes daily. Let us all encourage each other to keep striving for the best, but also not being too negative when we make mistakes. Love in Christ,