You know I’m participating in an on-line book group and am reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. In it she fights the encroachment of consumerism on the human heart and behavior in seven areas: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress. She devotes a month to each area and incorporates “seven” into the theme. Month two found her choosing only seven clothing items.

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First recorded reason for clothing in the Bible? Sewed figs leaves to cover shame. Second record of clothing? God making garments out of skin and clothing his children.

Once again, a nugget of truth I have read so many times I simply don’t see it anymore. Two words, so similar I hear myself going “yea, yea, covering, yea, yea clothing.” But they are not the same; there is a distinction between covering and clothing. One out of shame and focused on self, the other on love and focused on provision.

Jen found this month much easier to live out, in general, than eating only seven foods. And it showed in her, um, lack of whining. Wearing an outfit over and over is quite common in China and I’ll often wear the same things for three days in a row. But here is the ugly truth: I often wear the same things because I am lazy. They are there on the floor because I was too tired to put them away the night before.

Here is another painful truth for me to admit. Living overseas, outside of my Target comfort zone (yes, the feelings and the store), has had many powerful positive effects. But when you live in a culture that is a different size from you and you simply cannot buy pants, shirts, bras, even shoes when you don’t have Asian hips, chests, or feet, you keep things because you never know.

Apparently my fear is that I’ll be in need of more than 20 pairs of pants, over 40 shirts and the footwear, don’t even get me started. We walk a lot in China and good footwear is essential. At least that’s what I tell myself.

I just double checked and — this is very hard for me to share (you’ll see right through me and rightly so, since this is covering and not clothing) — I have five pairs of exercise shoes outside my door. Three of them I’ve worn out, but I keep them because you never know. It would seem I do know. I know that if I don’t keep an eye out for my feet, no one will. “No one” could be substituted by God, if I’m honest.

I have decided that I need to get rid of three of the pairs today and an act of obedience and allow Jesus to cloth me. This should not be a bold declaration. The fact that I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I really will do this, shows I have a long way to go.

Lord, please cloth this child who settles for covering too often.

(See related article: The excess in my closet)

Leave A Comment

  1. Erin May 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    Oh, this hit a chord with me. I started a new job a couple months ago and the office is more upscale than my old one. Also, the woman in the cube next to mine dresses quite well. I feel like I have to compete, even though I know I don’t. I just need to be professional and presentable, but I sure miss wearing my practical shoes! I have more shoes than I ever wear, and they are going to be out of the house by the end of the day! Maybe some clothes too. Surely my brothers and sisters can wear some of them!

    • Amy Young May 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      Erin, well I did it. It was hard and I kind of cheated. Turns out I DO wear more of them than I realized, so I chose a total of four pairs of shoes. Good for you on the clothes too! I worked on an office supply drawer tonight, too.

  2. Beth May 21, 2012 at 9:05 am - Reply

    I get this. I’m the offspring of something of a hoarder. My dad was a bargain hunter and stockpiled groceries in our basement way before the super-couponers ever did. :) I think his mantra was “well, you never know …” And it really does come down to trusting in God’s goodness. Thanks for this vulnerable and challenging post, Amy!

  3. Debra El-Ramey May 21, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

    Not to worry Amy. God is always working in us to cut out the excess attachments;-) He chisels here, chisels there… At least, from reading your wellspring of wisdom here, I know I’m not alone on this kingdom path.

    I have a gray sweater that I wear every day when the weather is compatible. I recently bought a new amethyst sweater, but I still favor the gray. I guess I keep hanging on because you just never know…

    Debra

    http://debrasblogpureandsimple.blogspot.com

    • Amy May 21, 2012 at 11:28 am - Reply

      I understand completely! :)

  4. Loren Pinilis May 23, 2012 at 5:41 am - Reply

    It’s funny how we justify things like that. I personally don’t feel that way about clothing, but I think about electronics or tools or money in the bank account – and I can see the same “you never know” thoughts coming up.

  5. LeAnne P May 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Ooh – ouch. I do NOT want to admit how many boxes (as in big, tupperware-type boxes) of clothing I have stored in my Little Rock house’s attic right now (fortunately, we’re friends with the renter who allowed such things to stay put). While packing for China, I was ashamed to find how many HUGE boxes of clothes I had forgotten all about! I gave TONS away but still held on to so many – because “you never know.” Of course, this summer it will be nice to “go shopping” in my stored clothes instead of clothes stores (ha!), but that doesn’t reduce my tendency to hang on. I had to laugh as I read your words and an image of a pale pink JCrew tissue tee came to mind. Said tissue tee has three holes in it. Three. They are not obscure. Where is this tee? In my drawer here. Because JCrew is expensive! Because I have a hard time finding clothing sans teddy bears with blinged-out top hats! Because I like the color! Because you just never know. Did I mention ouch?

    • Amy May 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Oh LeAnne, there are many reasons I love you. Blinged out teddy bears and colors are just two of them :). And the ouch felt round the world!

  6. […] Because you never know {at least that’s what I tell myself} (messymiddle.com) […]

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