What Are You Wearing?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

I went shopping with a friend this summer. I stayed in the changing rooms while she brought me armfuls of clothes to try: trousers and tops, dresses and scarves, jumpers and coats. It was so helpful to have a second opinion, but ultimately, the decision about what to buy was up to me.

I am the first person affected by what I choose to put on my body. I am the one who will inhabit the clothes. I am the one who feels the texture of the fabric against my skin. I can tell if the shoes are going to be comfortable or if they will pinch my toes. I know if an item fits me well or feels awkward. I make choices to protect my body from injury or the elements with what I choose to wear.

 Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on  Unsplash

That’s why the idea of clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience is so effective.

If I choose to put on these attributes the first person affected is me.

When I have compassion for myself, I feel the way it nestles softly against my soul. Speaking kindly to myself protects me from the damage my inner critic can cause. Being gentle and patient with myself reminds me that its ok to be me, with my struggles and my brokenness, my gifts and my insights, my personality and my emotions. Choosing humility allows me to put aside the ill-fitting attitudes of judgement and shame.

But like an emergency worker in a uniform, putting on these attributes also identifies me as a safe place for other people.

We’re living in a world awash with trauma. There are so many wounds that need healing. There is so much deep-seated weariness from carrying heavy burdens. There is so much personal pain colliding with the systemic injustice that permeates our society. You can be traumatised just by reading the news.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to live in places of such deep need. But here is our starting place, for ourselves and for others: kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness and patience.

Let’s wrap gentleness and compassion around each other, like a soft blanket. Let’s have patience for the broken and the weary. Let’s be humble enough to recognise where our own privilege lies – in our gender, our race, our faith, our education, our family situation – and use it to show kindness to the marginalised and voiceless.

When other people encounter us up close, in person, on social media, at work, in church, at home, let’s make sure they feel seen and safe, protected and loved, heard and held.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

 

 

Abby KingComment