Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Losing to Win I

My wife and I enjoy not having cable TV. In that way, when we go to a hotel, it is a treat to watch instead of the same-old-same-old. We really enjoy the program, What Not to Wear, because it has some deep spiritual truths. In fact, most of the makeover shows have a spiritual truth attached to them. I believe that is why these types of shows are so appealing for so many. It points to an intangible divine yearning we all have.

We all want to be made over. We know that there is more for us than what we see now, but often don't know what that is, nor how to achieve it. The makeover shows promise help from sources we don't readily have available to us. And we can watch with amazement at their successful results, and the very real struggles to get there.

In one episode we watched a woman who previously dressed like a raggedy little girl, but also looked beyond her years. The makeover team of Stacy London and Clinton Kelly came to her rescue. They provided style guidelines, education, selection criteria, and an assertive push. They began by throwing out her terrible wardrobe, and introducing her to a new wardrobe and new ways of thinking.

It is always fascinating to watch what happens. The person invariably is saddened to lose the old ways, even though they know it wasn't working for them. In this particular case, the woman knew she would never find a husband if she continued to operate the way she did. But she couldn't let go. And when the makeover team introduced her to new ways of thinking (and shopping) the woman became literally sick. She was way out of her element.

The episode concludes with her going ahead despite her angst (and maybe because cameras were rolling), and she subjects herself to the final indignity of getting her hair cut and restyled. She struggled greatly with the whole process. But at the end these superficial changes produced great results. She looked more attractive and more her age, and surprisingly, her attitudes begin to shift—especially when she received support from her closest friends and family.

As it turns out, she also discovered that what she wore reflected a deep truth inside her. She perceived herself as unworthy, and there also resided deep pain. She reflected her insecurity in what she wore, and how she acted. The forced outward changes, forced her to confront some of these inward issues. Later, she revealed a confidence in herself and future she didn't have before. What happened? Do clothes really make the (wo)man?

In some ways I would say "yes." The Scriptures implore Christians to consider their old way of life like an old wardrobe, and their new way of life like a new fashionable way of thinking. (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 4:17-5:21; Colossians 3:5-12; 1 Peter 5:5-7) The old way of life had no real connection with God. But in Christ, we have a connection with God that is so close that we are family and intimate friends.

So, how now shall we live? That is the real question, and the real challenge. For it is hard to let go of the familiar to grasp the unfamiliar—even if it is the right thing to do. So, we need each other (in the church) for encouragement—to let go of the old, and put on the new. We need each other to demonstrate for each other how it's done. We need each other to embody what it looks like to live like the King of kings' family member. We need to push each other toward what is good, because it isn't about not doing our old life anymore as much as it is embracing our brand-new, blood-bought, life. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11; Hebrews 10:19-25)

No comments:

Post a Comment