It is slowly occuring to me that i am entirely turned up by transitions, from the cosy-bed-to-hot-shower transition to the you-were-my-single-friend-and-now-you’re-a-married-mother shift. Today, it’s spring, and the changing weather has me standing in front of my closet staring dumbly from sweaters that are too warm to light blouses that aren’t warm enough. i must have changed clothes four times (or five…) trying to find two pieces that kept me warm/cool and actually matched. (Actually, i’m still not sure that everything goes together, so if you see me tonight at church shivering in ill-suited clothing, pay no mind…)
Even worse is when i sense transition but can’t quite tell what shape it’s taking. I am a planner, and I like to control things more than i ought. If i can see the nature of the change, i can prepare myself for it. Like a good Girl Scout, i will have all necessary physical and emotional equipment in place to deal with whatever it is – just hand me those binoculars so i can see it coming, will you?
Right now, though, there’s something that’s afoot… and I don’t know what. For a while now, I’ve thought about what might be next – where I might live, whom I might know, where I might work. Those questions are all still on the table – in fact, more options look concrete than before – but I sense a greater fog than i’ve seen roll through in quite a while.
Like getting out of bed, like changing clothes for the weather, there’s some action that’s required of me. I’m just not sure what. Pardon the direct, obvious metaphor, but i keep remembering Romans 13:14 –
“…clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (NIV)
I keep thinking of this, and thinking of the things i need to take off to be able to put on Christ. Am i actually ready to get undressed?
Am i ready to sift through the things in which i’ve wrapped my self? It won’t be easy… it means I have to sort through this closet to find out what’s really inside. Some things obviously need to go – directly identifiable as selfish… but what of the things that depend entirely on my heart motive? What of the tasks that look like service to the Church, or like good use of resources, that are motivated instead by my pride? They have become my holy grail of “productivity,” that i pursue to justify myself at the end of the day (i cooked! i made things! i helped people! i earned my rest!)? What of the threads of my career, the ambitions that i horde to wrap myself in when storms pass overhead? All these things, these are what i used to make my garments, the layers that identify my self. But their substance makes nothing more than the emperor’s new clothes, and i know it. I can’t keep warm, i can’t stay cool … i feel like i’ve tried to weave denim from fishing line.
On the looms all around me, though, i see women weaving well, making fabric that warms, covers – even flatters the wearer. I watch daughters of God as they receive their warp and their weft from Him and follow His pattern, by which all their cloth is easily identified. The fabric they weave could be none but His, and yet, draped in its length, they are more themselves than ever before.
these women i see – friends from my church, mainly – they have put on Christ. in everyday life, i watch them persistently get rid of old clothes, old sins, for the new garments that the Son is helping them to weave. By His resurrection, He drapes them in His righteousness, received by grace through faith. He would drape me, as well, if i would just stop flipping through my closet for clothes i will never find – if i would stop trying to weave silk from kitchen twine.
In this season of spring, of transition, comes Easter. In the middle of that unknown, fog-filled change that frustrates me so, the certainty that always comes is this remembrance of His walk to the Cross. Smackdab in the middle of my unsure season comes the holiday of His triumphant exit from the tomb. And oh! what a gentle Teacher He is! As I come reluctantly, wrapped in sin, to meditate on His rising, He reminds me that when His disciples looked for His body in the tomb, all they found were the grave clothes He took off.