If you had told me a month ago that there was one thing I could do everyday that would change my outlook for the whole day, I would have politely listened, but thought to myself that it’s not possible for just one thing to make your day better.
And I would have been wrong. With the new year, I’ve decided to start implementing a habit that I intended to use as an example for my children, but it ended up bringing the most transformation to myself.
That habit: I get dressed every morning.
It looks Different
I feel I should start out with saying that “getting dressed” looks different to different people. It might look like yoga pants and a T-shirt, sweatpants and a sweatshirt. But for me it means putting on clothes that I would wear out in public, clothes that are flattering on me.
I feel I also should say that I LOVE my sweats and as soon as the boys are in bed, I very quickly change into them before relaxing on the couch with my man, so please don’t feel like I am bad-mouthing sweats. I have just found that a different style of dress is more appropriate for my particular daily life.
I am a very reflective person and have often asked myself the question “Why should I take the time to put on “real clothes” if I’m not going anywhere?” I’ve discovered several reasons.
- For me. I have significant body image issues. I’ve always had them but child bearing has only increased them. I have found that when I don’t put much effort into how I look, I become depressed. Because when I look in the mirror, I don’t see beauty. I see me trying to hide the baby weight I still need to lose, the dark circles under my eyes, the whispies (little hairs that are refuse to be tamed.) I know there is a deeper identity issue that I am working on and hope to write about very soon, but the fact of the matter is that my appearance sets my mood and when I don’t put effort into that appearance I have a depressed outlook all day. But when I “put myself together” and take the time to highlight the features I do like, my mood changes completely. I am more confident, more energized, and more motivated to face the day.
- For my children. I have found that when I am not wallowing in self pity over my physical insecurities, I am a much nicer person. I am more gracious to my children and am less impatient with them. I enjoy them much more and am more sure of myself when I need to make hard decisions. I also find that when I’ve taken some time for myself, I’m much more generous when caring for their needs. Not to mention it provides them with an example of how to start their day.
- For my husband. Every now and then on a Sunday morning, I would have this thought: “I put all this effort into my appearance when I’m going to see other people, but I’m perfectly content to look like I just rolled out of bed for my husband.” But I’d soon justify myself with various excuses and not change anything. However we recently had a conversation about some new beauty thing I wanted to try and it became clear that he really does appreciate when I make myself look “presentable”, even if he never says that.
For the Lord
We all know the story of David’s anointing (if you don’t you can read about it in 1 Samuel 16). But we always come away from the story with the understanding that the Lord looks on the heart of a man, not the external appearance.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Ultimately, our looks mean nothing to God. His only concern is your fear of Him and devotion to his glory. And we should strive to keep that in mind when preparing for the day. If you feel you can best glorify him in fluffy lounge pants, go for it! If you find you’re heart sings for joy when you have a full face of make-up, do that! For me, I find I focus less on my insecurities when I am not trying to cover them up. Instead, I find confidence and joy and making myself “presentable” and I believe that is the attitude that brings God glory. Now as I mentioned I am working on having that attitude even when I look like I just rolled out of bed but until then I will glorify God with my attitude of joy when I care for his temple.
So while I practice this habit for the benefit of my family the only Being that I should really concern myself with is my Heavenly Father.