All Dressed Up – or Running Around Naked?

I would never leave my house without first putting on a bra. Or pants. Or even shoes. (You just never know when you’re going to run into one of those “No Shoes, No Service” signs!) And let’s be real honest here . . . I don’t even feel comfortable going out without lipstick.
Yet not a week goes by when I don’t get out of bed, leave my house, venture into the world without putting on the armor of God.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17
Wow! That’s a whole lot of protection God has given us . . . and a whole lot of protection I often forget to wear. I suppose it’s similar to forgetting to put on my watch and earrings, but so much more detrimental.
Not knowing what time it is with the flick of my wrist is annoying, sure, but not the end of the world. And feeling naked without a necklace or even a crucial piece of underwear is disconcerting (and possibly alarming to the people around me), but not actually dangerous to my very soul.
Some days begin beautifully, with an early quiet time filled with Scripture and prayer and worship and, well, quiet. As I allow time for God’s word to sink into my soul and take hold of my human nature, I find myself standing firmer and taller, walking in confidence in the Lord. Let the day throw inconveniences and irritations – or even disappointments and dilemmas – my way; I’m prepared to face anything.
But those days? They are few and far between.
Most of my days begin in a reluctant hurry, with a grumpy child or mom (or both) anxious about one thing or another, breakfast on the couch and e-mail on the fly. I toss a frantic prayer or two God’s way, but rather than the peaceful prayers of gratitude and adoration of those other kind of days, they’re mutterings and murmurs that sound more like, “Oh, please help me find my keys!” and “Please, please, please don’t let her wake up just yet!”
On those days? Any little thing can get me down.
The difference isn’t what time my alarm woke me or how obedient my daughter was when I picked out her clothes for the day. The difference is that when I leave my house (or my bed or my kitchen) unprepared and unclothed, life is just a lot harder.
This armor of God imperative for our faith to grow (and our sanity to remain intact), but – at least in my experience – it can be hard to keep it on. Putting it on once isn’t enough. And while this is certainly a daily practice, putting on the armor of God is more than simply pulling yourself out of bed for a morning quiet time. It’s a matter of grounding ourselves in the Word and becoming so entrenched in and covered by our faith that we don’t take a single step alone – or naked.
I’m not what you – or anyone with a lick of sense – would call a fashionista. I gravitate toward solid-colored separates and practical shoes that will match just about everything in my closet. And if I find something I like, I just might buy multiples in different colors.
Several years ago, I did just that. The plain brown mules I found were comfortable and not ugly (yes, I’ve actually set the bar that low), so I bought a second pair in navy. Aside from the fact that I was occasionally wearing navy shoes, this didn’t present a problem. Until the day I wore one brown shoe and one navy shoe.
When I realized what I’d done by dressing in the semi-dark that morning, I was mortified. And while it’s sometimes possible to hibernate in my cubicle and hide my feet under my desk all day, this was not one of those times. I had a meeting that evening with several professional, fashionable colleagues, and I was not about to walk in with my ridiculous mismatched shoes.
So I raced home over my lunch break to change them, desperate for the confidence that comes with wearing comfortable and attractive matching clothes.
I pray that as we begin All Dressed Up, a series about the armor of God, we’ll begin to crave those holy accessories that protect our souls just as we desire to dress up with jewelry, a little lipstick and shoes that came in the same box.
Mary, Giving Up On Perfect
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*A new Tuesday series!*