“Your dress is see through,” the man at the prison gate informed me.
“Are you serious?,” as I scanned the gatehouse for a blanket, a leaf, anything to hide under. God, help me! Was my underwear striped? My husband didn’t say anything about this. Didn’t I just wear this dress to church on Sunday? Whirring thoughts whipped through my mind like a brutal snowstorm slapping at my face.
“What should I do?,” I whispered.
“There’s a Roses up the street, you can buy something there,” the guard directed.
Like a prisoner on the loose, I bolted out of the gatehouse. I slid into the driver’s seat and finally found safe cover, even if only for the few moments it took to drive to the store. Shielding myself behind a clothing rack, I quickly reviewed the options and found one presentable.
Before I put on my see through dress, I thought I had asked all the right questions, spaghetti straps? – no. Too short? No. Too tight? No. Well, all the right questions except one – is it see through? Just then, the Lord got ahold of me, gently – it’s your heart, Aimee. I considered how much time I had spent picking out this dress and my motives for this particular dress.
I thought about the guard who had just peeled back my revealing ways. I longed to disappear. Lord, help me disappear. However, my full transparency began to lead me in an unexpected direction, instead of running away from God, I ran towards Him, towards repentance.
I returned to the prison gate within minutes, my body adorned in my new $5.66 dress from Roses.
I was at the prison as part of my ministry, speaking to both inmates and prison employees about mental illness and how when we are in Christ, we are not defined by our diagnosis, but by our true identity. My main goal (so I had thought), to reveal Jesus to those hurting most, those who maybe had never met my Savior before.
“Well, if Jesus was in me, then I guess I had fully accomplished that!” I didn’t think I was going to be as transparent as this, just real, authentic. Here I had shown my true intentions, to look good, more put together, for the inmates and employees, not to minister God’s truth and love. My heart sank.God cares more about our inward goals than our outward garments. Click To Tweet
Lord, I cried out, I long to glorify You! And as I listened, God spoke to my heart and flesh at the same time. “Aimee, you are more beautiful to me in a $6 dress from Roses with the right heart, than your fancy dress and all made up with the wrong heart.”
I thought if I was dressed up on the outside it would make me seem more likable, more put together – not like a prior mental patient, yet God was revealing to me from where much deeper beauty comes.
True beauty exudes Jesus, it filters from your innermost being, down within your soul and no amount of make-up or fancy clothing can create beauty like this.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says it like this:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
So the question is, how do we adorn our innermost being?
First, pray and be in God’s word. He is changing us daily, and moment by moment, making us more like Himself. It is through that change we begin to see Christ revealed.
Second, be honest with ourselves about our true desires and goals. We need to ask ourselves the hard questions. Am I dressing for Christ’s approval or the world’s?
Finally, God is a Creator and loves creativity. Put His guidelines for modesty and godliness first and the final product will be more beautiful than the expensive see through dress we think is the ticket.
Want to look good, my friend? Forget the fancy dress, and instead, adorn your heart with God’s love and grace. Refuse to listen to the world’s mantra that beauty is about make-up and expensive clothes, true beauty comes from a heart right with the Lord. Embrace your internal adornments and experience godly beauty, a most precious treasure that promises to never fade.
Lord, thank you that you care more about my internal goals than my external garments. You have made all of us beautiful in Your eyes, yet often we cover ourselves with worldly adornments thinking that will be more acceptable. Yet to whom? You, God, are whom we long to impress. Let us dress our insides first, allowing our externals to follow. In Your Name, Amen