Prissy (my oldest daughter) was once schooling (for a very short season) at Barbizon Modeling School. In her very first class she was taught,
- "A lady should never leave home without her legs hosed! There's no exception, except for the beach, you're never to go bare-legged.
- "Shorts absolutely do nothing to flatter anyone. I can't think of any occasion where you'd ever have need to wear them!"
- "You are never to wear flats or platforms. Always some sort of a heel.. even if it's the slightest tilt. The pointier the shoe the better."
- "Skirts are always perferrable to pants."
- "No denim is to be worn of any kind. Ever!"
- "And for heaven's sake, always ascend (or descend) the stairs turned slightly sideways so as not to expose the bottom as 'a wide-load.' Slightly sideways makes you appear thinner."
I guess you could sum it up to say: Wear those hose.. on tilted toes... smile like you're a girl who knows... and don't forgot to walk sideways so as to always appear thinner! Because for Pete's sake, we dare not want the tush to be rendered as though it's a "wide-load" that we're having to carry!
Shoosh! No wonder we've grown into such weird characters in this crazy world that we live in. We paint our faces. Color our hair, straighten it, curl it, tease it or don't (it depends on the season). Pay to have fake-nails glued on and then polished to please us. Pierce ourselves in strategic places to dangle ornaments from! Bleach our teeth. Tan our bodies. Color-contact our eyes. And wear heels to make us seem taller........... And then some, if they can afford to, tuck their tummies, lift their faces, enhance their boobs, botox heir lips, suck their thighs......... and the lists goes on and on and on, tis only left to the person's imagination. Oh my, no wonder it takes so long to get ready to leave the house in the mornings! But after all that, we often leave depressed, because 'did we get it right' and 'is this outfit flattering on me?'
God has given us a guidebook of rules on how to dress too. He's told us in Ephesians 4:22-24, to "put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires" and to "put on the new self, (which is) created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Colossians 3:5-17; gives a list of things that we're to rid ourselves of and then things that we're to clothe ourselves in. And God's whole purpose is that we're being transformed into His likeness, reflecting the face of our Savior to others (2 Corinthians 3:18;); but instead of all at once, He helps to change us little by little.
Unlike how Barbizon might would like to keep you housed until you've learned to dress correctly, God will let us leave ours houses dressed in whatever pleases us, without wearing all of the things that He's told us to put on (when we are to be representing Him and when we're suppose to LQQK like Him!) and without taking off all the things that He's told us to get rid of. If it were me and someone were walking out their door and they were supposed to look exactly like me when they did; I think that I'd have to stand at their doorway and pre-approve their look before allowing their exit. I can just hear me now in my appallation of some, "Ewe! No! I'd never wear that. Put this shirt on instead. Wear these pants with that. And oh, these shoes look good. Uh, do you mind if I fix the hair a bit before you go? And really... the make-up, here, let me go grab my bag.............." I can hear my holler to them as they walk to their vehicles, "Stand up straight! Don't slouch! Hold the tummy in! And be sweet to people you meet!" And ugh, I'd probably think when they're gone, "I hate that they're making people think that I look like that."
A couple of years ago, the school that my children attend decided to go to uniforms. I absolutely hated the idea! I fussed and fumed for eons to anyone around who would listen. Prissy cried the first day that we went shopping for them; and I'll be honest, I would have cried too. She cried over each new thing that she tried on. It was awful! I hated it as much as she did. She even took one skirt off in the dressing room, then turned around and saw it standing all-by-itself! They were high-waisted and touched their kneecaps or longer, and were obviously scarched to stiff. Khaki (the choice for military uniforms) or plaid (the Scottish pick!)! Are you getting the picture? It was only me and my girls on our first excursion, Tabor had ball practice and missed our outing. By that night we had finally succumbed to the whole ordeal, and my girls put on a fashion show for Tim (my husband) and Tabor (my son). We laughed our socks off! I don't know that we have ever laughed so hard! We were rolling! Needless to say, Ta anticipated his moment.... and could not wait to cloth his bod in what someone else had ordered for him to wear...... NOT! But finally(!), we have bowed in submission to the thought and we don't fight it as hard as we used to. I remember thinking though on that first day when we left to go shopping, that, "Today we'll go spend money to look like everybody else."
Yuck! Who wants to be uniformed? My argument against the whole thing was that God made us all so differently. Different looks, different noses, different eyes, different shapes, different hair, different shapes, different sizes, different DNA, no two fingerprints the same, and even with all of the limited clothing selections that we have to pick from rarely do we ever meet another wearing the exact same thing that we are at any given moment. With as many people as there are in the whole world, we all look so differently. We never meet ourselves! "But surely," I said sarcastically, "if God had of thought of it, I'm sure that He would have dressed us all just alike!" Actually, I think God likes our individuality.
I had a dream several weeks ago that made such an impression on me that it stuck and stays with me still. I can't seem to quit thinking about it. In my dream were lots of people, and every single Christian in my dream looked exactly like the picture of how we've seen Jesus so often painted to look. Basically, once you were a born again Christian, your outward appearance immediately changed to look like exactly Him (or at least the way that Jesus is colored and pictured in all of the pictures that we see Him in). Everyone still knew who you were.... because (though your outside looked like Jesus) you still had the same mannerisms, the same characteristics. You still walked the same and talked the same. You were still called by your same name. Everyone still knew who everyone else was. You had the same likes and dislikes, went to the same places, etc. You were still the very same you, you just looked exactly like that icon that we've always seen Jesus painted to look. Every Christian on the outside looked exactly like Jesus.
The very first Christian that I saw stood there (like I said, looking just like Jesus) and as he was talking to me he was smoking a cigarette (yes, it seemed the craziest look!)...... He kept talking and smoked while he did, until all of the sudden he realized what he was doing and he couldn't in all good consciousness stand there looking like Jesus while puffing on the little white stick that he held. I saw it on his face. And though he never said a word about it I knew what he was thinking. I watched him take his last drag and then slowly put his cigarette down. I knew that he'd never have want to ever even pick it back up again. Next, I saw another Christian drinking his alcohol. He was staggering while swigging on his drink. After watching him for a few minutes he all of the sudden stopped too. I watched that look that knew fall across his face. And so, he too did the same thing, he laid his bottle down. and I knew he'd never go back to it. Because neither of them could feel comfortable looking like Jesus (wearing His skin, wearing His name, pictured completely to look exactly like Him) and stand there perfectly happy still doing their sin.
It went on and on and on through so many people in all kinds of sins (the gossiper, the embittered, the one that raged with hate, the one who's just mean, the one who refused to forgive, the adulterer, the thief, the pornographer, the liar, the.... etc.); it was the most incredible thing. I loved it. For no one could keep doing their sin while wearing their new look in Christ Jesus. It wasn't right. It conflicted, it clashed, it contradicted,.... and in the end the old couldn't be meshed with the new. One look had to go, and the new look was the one that was greater desired by every man that I saw E-V-E-R-Y time! The look of Christ Jesus set the older man free. It was filled with love and kindness and a purity that shone with the Light of God's Glory..... leaving no room (nor want) for the darkness that it once sought after and desired til it chained and held you captive to then steal and kill and destroy you. The total look of Jesus totally set each man free! It totally liberated him. And I woke up thinking: Wow, if only we saw ourselves pictured as we really are, wonder what all we'd be anxious to change?
Unlike the modeling school that's focused to dress the outside, and unlike the school that tries to uniform, God doesn't worry so much about either of those things at all. He didn't make us nor tell us to dress to look the same. Instead, He's given us different looks with different faces, and His ultimate goal in the end (with all of those differences) is hoping that we'll look just like Him on the inside! He's got a really GOoD look, you know? And His look is the look that I'm going for. For after all, He looks better on me than I ever will!