A while back, Emily Freeman wrote a post about the spiritual discipline of wearing better pants.
How can the pants you wear be a spiritual discipline?
Seems trite, yes, but Emily speaks wisdom into the everyday practice of getting dressed — as she sorts through her closet and gets rid of all the ill-fitting clothes.
You see, when things don’t fit right, they can hurt or bind or itch.
And having to unbutton a pair of too-tight jeans every time I sit down feels like failure.
Clothes that don’t fit make me dislike myself and want to rush through my day. They remind me that I’m not as young or as thin as I once was and I start to wonder what’s wrong with me. Clothes that are ill-fitting burden me and push me back to my native “try-harder” lifestyle.
There is absolutely no good reason I can think of to wear clothes that hurt.
As a girl who’s always kept a pair of “skinny pants” waiting in the wings of my closet, it’s taken me a long time to come around to this way of thinking.
But here’s the thing:
- I am 46 years old and have given birth to and breastfed four babies, including a set of twins.
- I have walked millions of steps in my lifetime.
- I’ve skied down mountains and swam in oceans (but not snorkeled!) and I’ve climbed trees.
- I’ve endured scrapes and wounds and even bad haircuts.
- I’ve marched with the high school band under a hot August sun and I’ve sat snowy days inside college practice rooms working out the right fingerings and vocalizing into the stratosphere.
- I’ve graduated from high school and college and taught a thousand music lessons.
- I’ve sung in front of crowds and for my grandmother in her living room.
- I’ve been burned and rejected and I’ve found the strength to go on.
I’ve even had brain surgery and survived.
I DO NOT need to squeeze myself into clothes that don’t fit any more.
And neither do you.
The Spiritual Discipline of Wearing Clothes that Fit
I’ve made it a personal goal this year to purge my closet of anything that isn’t comfortable and flattering.
And no, this doesn’t mean I’ll only be wearing yoga pants for the rest of my life (tempting as that may be). It also isn’t an excuse to just let everything go and eat all the chocolate I can get my hands on. I still want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I want to look nice, to dress fashionably, but I need to be able to breathe.
And for me, it really is a spiritual discipline. It’s the spiritual discipline of looking in the mirror and recognizing the woman I see as the very woman God designed me to be.
- It’s looking in the mirror and realizing that my body is not 25 anymore. . . and being completely okay with that.
- It’s seeing my body — with all its flaws, scars and imperfections — as a gift that has done amazing things for me.
- It’s recognizing that my life is pretty great and I’ve worked hard to be healthy and that it’s okay to have wrinkles and gray hair and flabby “Nana” arms because I’m middle-aged for crying out loud!
This is a new practice for me and it is all about slaying the comparison monster and being comfortable in my own God-given skin.
And wearing clothes that fit.
What about you? Do you need to give yourself permission to let go of some items in your closet? Anything ill-fitting that’s no longer suited for the life you’re living?