Sunday, February 28, 2016

Emptying the Wardrobe

Thursday’s prayer meeting was another adventure into hearing, listening and talking to God.  What we prayed about came out of a time of hearing and listening and writing down words or phrases or drawing, perhaps, pictures of what we saw.

My word was “empty”. I had the picture of a wardrobe.

My husband watches the TV programme “Come Dine With Me”. While the host is doing something interesting with an avocado and rocket leaves, the guests are free to explore the house, open cupboards and stick their noses into various corners.  Wardrobes feature heavily. They make all sorts of about the kind of person the host is from the things that hang in the wardrobe. The sparkly top says that they like clubbing, the walking boots with their crust of dried mud says that they like the outdoor life and so on.  Much of what is said is not always complimentary.  A lot of sneering goes on.

And that is precisely why I will never volunteer for that programme.  My wardrobe is MY wardrobe and no one has access to it. There are one or two sparkly tops that have nothing to do with clubbing – just an acknowledgment that there are occasions that demand a little sprucing up.  There are also walking boots without the mud crust – another acknowledgement that the outdoors are waiting for me.

Many items in my wardrobe are not for wearing but for remembering.  I will most likely never be that slim again, or the fashion may never come around again but I won’t part from them.

The wardrobe I pictured and the word “empty” was all about the stuff we carry inside of us – the thoughts, the prejudices, the lies and the half-truths, warped truths, paraphrases of long forgotten arguments and polished grievances. All of thise things need to come out, so that God can put His things in.

I once did this personality test thing trying to find out how mature and balanced I was.  Right? You do these things too! I wasn’t totally unbalanced. One of the areas of my life that was sadly lacking was labelled “Adventure” – apparently I was not adventurous and disinclined to take risks. I was supposed to sit down with God and thrash out ten things I could do to be more adventurous.  The list didn’t include bungy-jumping or white-water rafting or high risk sports – the best that I could come up with was to buy a colourful scarf! That was my level of risk!

God asked me the other night, “What’s the colour of the robe of righteousness?” Did it have a colour? Red perhaps – the colour of the blood of Jesus?

“It isn’t grey,” said God.

I thought about all the birds, the really colourful ones, the ones that flap their wings, stalk about with beaks held high in a mating dance.  They are out to catch a mate ad they preen and they prance.

Too many churches are grey – not the buildings or the decoration, nor the clothes of the congregation. Their form of Christianity is grey.  Sometimes it’s not particularly vibrant or lively. I am not asking people to flap their arms, or preen and prance in the aisle. There has to be a quality of life that attracts people.  Grey is not a quality of life.

So, I kind of got the message to stop being a grey Christian and add a little bit of colour to my life. The wardrobe with its God filled contents was almost throbbing with life.  The clothes inside were almost begging me to worn.  If I allow myself to keep the old stuff, those old thought patterns and choices, chances are that I will eventually slip back into them.  They are familiar and I know how to wear them. Better for me to throw them out.

Spring is the season of cleaning out the old ready for the new to be given the space to take rot and flourish.  Where better to begin than with my heart-mind-soul-and-spirit wardrobe.

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