My mom instilled in me at an early age a sense for fashion. And, except for when I don’t, I always like to keep up my appearance.
She believed that clothes should be kept clean (which was no small task for her since she had ten children). So each day my mom would wash and dry the laundry so that once again clothing would always be kept clean and ready for the next event.
Mom instructed me that clothes do make the man and therefore each fall she would take me shopping to pick out the newest style of clothing.
My mom was so in tune with fashion that I had bell bottoms the same season that they first came out in the seventies, along with paisley shirts, vests, bandannas, and tie-dyed t-shirts. She let us boys dress like hippies and the girls wear dresses made from paper.
When this new thing called “disco” came along, she took me to the store to purchase leisure suits with white and brown platform shoes.
Fortunately, I quickly learned that "stayin alive" meant that I should not have anything to do with the whole disco scene, and I got as far away from it as I could possibly get!
Today, I may not always be in style (sometimes one must wait several years for an older style to come full circle), but I do have a sense of what looks good together
My dress shirts are sent to the local dry cleaner to be professionally cleaned; heavy on the starch. After wearing them for an event, I promptly send them back to the cleaners for a fresh start.
My suits are neatly hanging in a closet awaiting to be paired up with a pair of dress pants and a matching tie. My dress shoes are polished and shined to military precision.
I pay attention (and will even ask) if my socks match my pants.
Even when I am casual in my attire I care about whether what I am wearing matches; including when I am just running up to the store or cutting the grass.
Another thing that mom taught me was that it was important to not spill food on your clothing and to always keep it clean. When we were little, she made bibs to cover my clothing as I worked on getting food and beverages into my mouth without spilling.
I’ve worked with quite a few co-workers who could have used this training from my mom. In fact, it seems to me that each time they put on a new shirt, they insist on spilling food on it!
In fashion and food my mom taught me well.
So, you can imagine the horror when I spilled coffee on my shirt!
No, this wasn’t a special shirt, but the idea of staying clean in my appearance was put to the test as I tried to figure a way to conceal the major faux pas in the fashion world. I thanked God that Miranda Priestly wasn’t around!
Quickly I went to the nearest source of water to dilute the stain before it set in, knowing that it would still need to be pre-treated with laundry soap (to attempt) to remove it.
I realize that what I call a sense of fashion has the undertones of OCD; in that clothing really serves a basic need for modesty and warmth. Beyond that is mere vanity and preference.
And the delusion that I can always keep my clothes clean (or anything for that matter) is OCD in full bloom!
As the great comedian Phyllis Diller once said; “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing”
As delusional it is to think that I can keep my clothes always clean, it is even more delusional to think (and believe) that I can keep my life totally clean at all times.
Like a fresh shirt, my life can be an open target of the misdirected things that fly towards me (or out of my mouth) and land in places that puts my illusion of righteousness to the test as I tried to figure a way to conceal the major faux pas to others in my world.
My feeble attempts to stay clean or to even clean up and conceal my mess will always (in my efforts) fail miserably. Simply put, it won’t work.
Like spilled coffee on my shirt, I need to go quickly to the only source that can “dilute the stain” before it sets in, knowing that it will still need to be washed with something greater to remove it.
In Isaiah 1:18 the Lord calls out to all of us who have “spilled coffee on our shirts” (sin) that we can’t seem to remove;
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
The Lord wants to remove ALL of the stain so that there are NO reminders that anything was “spilled”.
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)
We may not be able to start each day with new, or at least clean clothes, but we can awaken with the hope that as we turn to God each day, we will find His mercy fresh and new waiting for us to use. Great is His faithfulness; in that we can place our hope!
Are you ready to get your life cleaned up? Have you tried to clean up your life with no success? Are you tired of trying to do it your way? Call 1-888-NEED –HIM; someone is waiting to talk with you.
All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.