Check Your Lining

Dear Supermodel Saints,

Yesterday, in the middle of Winter, the forecast was sunny and 60+ degrees. So, in celebration of the unseasonably warm weather, I decided to wear a skirt suit (I don’t typically wear skirts to work in the Winter)… a lovely lil gray micro-houndstooth suit (complete with kick-pleat pencil skirt) that I hadn’t worn since I got it out the cleaners in the fall. Although crammed between a rack of other suits, it appeared to be free of wrinkles and ready to wear. Yay! It didn’t even need to be ironed! I slipped it on, zipped up the skirt, buttoned the jacked, stepped into my heels, and sashayed over to the mirror for a last-minute check before heading to the office. Just one teeny tiny problem: my sharp lil suit looked a little… sloppy. How could this be? It looked fine on the hanger… why didn’t it look so neat while draped against my body? Well, the answer was simple: the lining was wrinkled.

As I stood there ironing the lining of this suit I was determined to don (’cause I was NOT about to go through the whole process of deciding what to wear alllll over again!), I thought about how this suit represented so many of the lovely people gracing the face of the earth: smooth on the outside, crumpled on the inside. On the surface, we appear to have it all together- smiling, in control, hardworking, successful, strong, and “perfect”- Supermodel Saints, if you will. But underneath, many of us are quite wrinkled. A power struggle ensues between who we are (the real us) and who we pretend to be (the ideal us).

The real us makes mistakes, doesn’t have all the answers, gets angry and upset, sins on a daily basis, and is therefore completely imperfect. Yet, we pretend that we “got it goin’ on.” And for what? To impress a bunch of other imperfect people who are just as creased on the inside as we are? No wonder so many Christians are struggling spiritually!

Many don’t know how to be both human and Christian, and keep it real all at the same time. Imagine how much more at peace we would all be with ourselves if we knew we weren’t the only ones going through something. But instead, we parade under the facade of “being strong”, not realizing that true strength lies in admitting your weaknesses. Across the Country, we Christians strut into the Cleaners (Church) every week in our Sunday Best (and we’re just as stained, wrinkled and crinkled as can be on the inside) only to strut right back out as if we didn’t need to be washed and pressed in the first place! We’re afraid to be labeled as ‘weak’, or ‘bad’. So we clap our hands on cue, make the right gestures, nod and say ‘Amen’, then leave in the same stubborn condition (if we bother to attend church at all). Pretending to be something you’re not does a disservice to everyone, especially yourself. The fear of being “found out” will eat away at your lining (the real you) and keep you from living a victorious life.

What’s wrinkling your soul? What are you covering up?

In Changes That Heal, Dr. Henry Cloud examines this power struggle. “The ideal judges the real as unacceptable and brings condemnation and wrath on the real.” BUT! “The Bible teaches two extremes throughout- 1) We are made in the image of God, with incredible value (ideal), and  2) we are sinful and broken (real). Both are true and both need to be reconciled into a grace-giving relationship with God and others.” Amen.

My lovely lil suit is not a bad suit just because the lining was wrinkled. It’s just a lovely suit with a wrinkled lining. The lining isn’t bad, it just needed to be ironed in order for the suit to be as fabulous as it was designed to be. And you know what? You’re not a bad person if you’re struggling with something or you’re not as “perfect” as you pretend to be (NEWSFLASH: none of us are perfect!). Don’t allow your past or your present  problems to shame you into living a fearful future. You’re not unworthy of love and acceptance just because you have problems, make mistakes, your marriage isn’t perfect, your kids are off the chain, you had an addiction, you can’t afford to live like a rock star, etc. You’re a good person with a few wrinkles in your lining, that’s all. Happens to the best of us. 🙂

“There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”

~Edward Wallis Hoch

The crazy thing about lining is that even the sharpest suit/pants/skirt won’t lay right if the lining is left unchecked. Even if the wrinkles aren’t apparent to your onlookers, you just won’t be comfortable with what you have on. The lining may pull in the wrong direction or it may start creeping up into the wrong place, at the wrong time. And it’s bound to show eventually. What started off as a minor nuisance that you could conceal may soon keep you from walking right while you try to cover it up.

Quit pretending you got it all together and keep it real with YOU. Take your sharp self to the Master Cleaner, check yourself at the counter (the altar), tell Him what you’re ashamed of, struggling and dissatisfied with, and let Him iron out your wrinkles. So what if others see you crying out to God for help?! Shoot, maybe it will encourage them to get help too! While there are some things you can iron out on your own, at some point your situation will require Professional Care. Only the Professional can straighten out what you are ill-equipped to handle on your own. God is there for you every time you need to be refreshed, renewed, restored, and reshaped. You are imperfect AND worthwhile- a Designer’s original. Allow the Lord to clean, press and steam you into the fabulous person you were created to be- from the inside out. There’s a blessing in His pressing! 😉

Practically Yours,

~The Practical Chick

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