Does What You Wear Say Anything About Who You Are?
By: Sydney Jackson
You may not even realize it, but everything you do, in some way, expresses a piece of who you are. What TV shows do you watch? If you watch sports, it’s a safe guess you’re competitive. If you watch reality TV, you might be indulging in your dramatic side. If you don’t watch TV at all, maybe you prefer a less technology-controlled lifestyle.
What food do you eat? Do you use your hands when you talk? Do you wear makeup? Do you raise your hand in class? Are you a doodler? Every choice you make gives hints about who you are. As Christians, we should always want our decisions to reflect a deep love for Jesus Christ and people.
One of the most obvious ways we express ourselves is the clothes we wear. Consider your wardrobe: if you have a job, you have a uniform in your closet. Maybe you have tons of youth group T-shirts smashed into your dresser—full of church memories. You might have a sports jersey or a prom dress. Your clothes don’t make you who you are, but they do give people clues about how you see yourself. In a lot of ways, clothes can be a window into your heart!
Just like every other decision we make, we should choose our clothing with the mindset of how to best represent our Savior. Think that sounds extreme? Consider 1 Corinthians 10:31: “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” That’s right—even the food we eat can glorify God’s Kingdom! Our whole lives center around how to love God and others better. Clothing is a personal choice that gives us one more opportunity to communicate a clear path to Jesus.
So, how do we decide what clothes are going to accomplish this mission?
Notice I didn’t ask: what is the list of inappropriate clothes to avoid? I also didn’t say: how can we make sure boys don’t think we are cute at all? In fact, I’m not going to name specifics, and I’m not going to make this about boys. The reality is, the clothes you wear reflects your heart and your mind and your relationship with Christ. So, here are a few things to consider as you buy clothes and decide how to wear them:
1. Ask yourself: why is this the outfit I want to buy/wear today? Is it to gain attention for your body? If so, you are missing the point, my friend! Another way to think of this question is: will people notice my body before they notice my beauty? When you try to gain attention based on your body, you are communicating your worth has to do with your skin or your curves. Show others your first love is Christ, and allow them to enjoy your heart!
2. Consider how much time you take getting ready each day. Do you spend as much time in the Word as you do in the mirror? Do you spend more time making yourself look the way you want rather than spiritually preparing yourself for the day ahead? Have you thought of others and how to serve them today before you worried about how people will see you when you walk down the hall or post that picture you really like?
3. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” [Colossians. 3:12] How well are you expressing these attributes? Does this outfit show you aren’t trying to bring all the attention onto yourself? Or are you trying to make the day about you? Are you clothed in compassion and kindness; patience and humility?
4. Does this clothing choice follow the guidelines set before me by my authority figures? If there are rules at camp about a dress code, are you following them? If your parents have rules, are you trying your best to obey them?
The reality is, Christians have never been called to dress in potato sacks to our ankles. We have the freedom to wear makeup. Plus, it’s not a bad idea to run a brush through our hair now and then. (Though John the Baptist didn’t, and he’s got a great reputation!) Along with every other issue in Scripture, what you wear reveals your heart. Don’t trick yourself into making excuses for wearing things that don’t flatter your heart. Try deciding what you wear based on your relationship with Christ! Most importantly, in humility, clothe yourself with attributes that make Jesus shine from within you. A smile, compassion, and patience go a long way!