Thursday, March 02, 2006

Wardrobe change

This past Monday I spent the day organizing my closet. The warm weather here in Texas has been a welcomed change. If it's January, I do prefer the weather to be cold but now it's March and I adore this beautiful new forecast. With this change of weather comes a change in my wardrobe! Tank tops, sandals, flip flops, denim skirts, capri pants! Oh how I love Spring and Summer fashion! So while trying to get my closet in order, I packed away the winter clothes and I'm officially done with my Fall/Winter boots until sometime in October.
I am sure there will be more cold days to come before it's all said and done. In Texas I would expect nothing less. However, on the cold days, which always seem to come back, I will just have to make do with the few things I didn't pack away. It may be sixty degrees tomorrow but I assure you I will be wearing flip flops. For a new season has arrived and no matter what the weather does, my wardrobe will reflect a change!

Two days this week we have gone to the park, thanks to my three year old son and his desire to constantly be outside. "Mommy, it's not cold outside. Can we go to the park today?" So we have spent a lot of time on the slides and swings this week. Just this afternoon we went with some friends to a beautiful, popular park in the area. When we drove up I noticed many Moms and kids having picnics, swinging on the swings, walking hand in hand or running around acting silly. The sun was shining bright and the air was warm. What more could you want for a day at the park?! As I stood in one spot most of the time pushing the swing for my daughter, I noticed a small boy standing by the slide that did not seem to fit in. While all of the other kids were dressed in shorts and short sleeve t-shirts, flip flops or sandals, this little boy was not. Instead this rosy cheek little boy was wearing a Winter jacket buttoned all the way down and jeans. The more I looked around at all of the kids, the more I realized how badly this kid needed to take that jacket off and breathe! He had to be hot! His little red cheeks proved it! Then I noticed his mom wearing winter clothes too. I thought cooler clothes would be a non-negotiable for an 80 degree day! But this Mom decided not to reflect the change just yet.

I have written many, many times over the past seven months about the change taking place in my life. I started writing this blog on Monday but I just couldn't get it together. It was like the Holy Spirit kept telling me that there was more He wanted me to understand before writing my thoughts out. Last week I realized God was once again pressing in on me and showing me yet another area that needed change. He showed me that there are things that must reflect the change of season. And some things are non-negotiables! Just as my winter clothes must be packed away, so must many things in my life keeping me from a closer walk with Jesus. So here it is folks! This particular post has been in me for two weeks now and God has finally given me the words. My friends have been praying for me to be able to release this so here it goes. You can hate me, you can delete my blog under your favorites, you can call me a Jesus freak, you can say whatever you want. If you are offended, well you are probably convicted of the junk in your own life. Being a Christ follower requires many things from us that can't be negotiated. What's right for you may not be right for me? What right for me may not be right for you? I am beginning to think that those are just big, fat excuses that many Christians use! Most of us have things in our life that DO NOT match up with who we say we are. Our lifestyle does not reflect a change. He wants us to be Holy! Is that an option?

About a year ago I was at a play group with Christian ladies, in a Christian home, trying to create an Christian play environment for our children. As most of the women chatted about the weather, I listened in on a conversation happening in the same room. "Do you watch Desperate Housewives?" "Yes, I love that show and my husband likes it too!" Here were two Christian women finding such satisfaction and justification as they realized they both watched a Primetime, provocative, immoral show. Then I realized my own guilty pleasure of recording General Hospital every single day and watching it while the kids were napping. After all, I had been watching General Hospital since I was a kid. But the Holy Spirit began to reveal my ugly sin. I found myself rooting for two of my favorite characters that were dating to have sex! "Oh just do it! I want y'all to be together!"
I had these thoughts many times. A friend of mine who adores the show Grey's Anatomy explained a bit of the story line to me. She explained how the surgeon is married and involved with an intern but the viewers do not wish for him to be with His wife, they are rooting for the intern! They are cheering for an adulterous affair! And my current guilty pleasure? Boston Legal! It's a hilarious, primetime tv show that has me hooked every single week. As I meet other Christians that watch this show, I find comfort. It helps me justify it just a little more. One may say, "God knows my heart. God knows I would never do anything like that. God knows I don't support adultery. God knows that I don't agree with homosexuality and just because I watch Will and Grace doesn't make me sinful." Have you said things like this? I have.

"It's Christians like me that keep others from wanting to serve God! It's Christians like me that make people not want to go to church because they will feel that they can't have fun anymore! It's Christians like me that make other Christians seem weird!" Right? If that's what you're thinking, that's okay. I have thought those things about others too. I have been annoyed by Christians like this. I have thought how they are no fun to be with or hang out with. Yes, there are many Christians out there that suffer from a huge case of legalism. I hate it. But, what about Christians that are just pursuing Holiness? There's a price for Holiness and until now I haven't been paying too much.

Some of you won't go to rated R movies or rent them to watch at home but you have no problem watching addictive primetime tv shows. You see the devil is sneaky and it seems he has snuck in to many of our homes and even our churches! We take a stand on rated r movies but Desperate Housewives, General Hospital or Grey's Anatomy is okay. What about those of you that watch The Real World on MTV? How on earth can you justify? You can't! Gossip, lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, all represent these tv shows. We set our TiVo to record, we adjust our schedule to be home, we even eat our dinner in front of the tv in order to see the newest episode. Again, Satan is sneaky! He has used your tv to sneak in and slowly give you a tolerance for your sin. All of it is out of place! It's a non negotiable! This day and age you will have a very difficult time finding a show that does not give way to sin. I'm not saying that we can be perfect. I'm not saying that TV is bad.
But, some things are just too obvious. If it's too personal, if it forces a change of lifestyle, if it makes you feel too uncomfortable then suddenly I become a goody goody or a Jesus freak. Well, the season has changed in my life and it's requiring me to wear a different wardrobe.

It's not always fun taking these walks with God. It's hard. It's painful and it causes others to think you've gone crazy including family members. But, one thing I know for sure is what the Word of God says. It doesn't say for some Christians but not others. It doesn't say if you feel convicted then don't do it but if you don't, it's okay.
So now that my wardrobe is changing, so is my lifestyle. This won't be an easy road for me. And as I sat and talked with a friend today, she said "Okay, so let's talk about that conversation we had last week. You know how I told you that I was trying to figure out what needed to be cut out of my life? Do I continue watching Grey's Anatomy or not? Well, I unplugged the TV. For now, it's off. It's too hard to figure out what to cut out so I'm cutting it all out for now." We have spent many days talking about this and me explaining to her the conviction I felt for judging other Christians that seemed to be so odd. I told her that maybe it was me that just wasn't getting it. Maybe I have become so tolerable, slowly tolerable to this world, that I don't seek holiness. And now I realize that Holiness isn't an option and I must pay the cost to get there.

As the Oscars quickly approach, I wanted so badly to watch the movie Crash. It's nominated for six Oscars. It's rated R and I thought I would watch it anyway so I would know how badly it deserved an Oscar.
And as soon as I felt justified in doing so, I read that the movie has 182 expletives and the f word is used 99 times. Not something that would encourage my pursuit of holiness.

Even as I write this, it scares me. I know my flesh, I know what I enjoy, I know there is more to come that I must do away with. It's a new season and this wardrobe change is a difficult one.

If you disagree with my pursuit, it's okay. If you don't feel convicted, read God's take on things in Ephesians. Some of you, including myself, have stuck out like the little boy I mentioned from the park. You are just like him as you wear a winter jacket in 80 degree weather. You need a wardrobe change and it's required for the season!

Ephesians 5
1Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him. 3Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. 4Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world
. 6Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.7Don't participate in the things these people do. 8For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! 9For this light within produces only what is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. 12It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. 14And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." Living by the Spirits Power 15So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. 16Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. 17Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. 19Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Father, please give me the strength to face this change. It's tough Lord and I am ashamed that it's tough but I know this is what you have called me to do. Father, help me to not be talked out of convictions. I know that thieves will come from within, help me to resist their bargains. Jesus I need YOU, not the ways of this world. Thank you Father for helping me release all that you have been revealing to me. I feel a HUGE weight lifted. I know that I have been obedient. It was your Word that brought it all together for me and I can't deny your Word.


V. said...

Good Work Amanda. You are being obedient and that is the purest form of worship there is...

Galatians 5:25
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.

didja catch that? EVERY detail of our lives.

I'm in the same place (not TV until I read your post(!), but other places), feeling like people won't understand my desires to be holy...feeling like I'll be the 'freak' in the crowd.

All I have to depend on is the unfailing promises in God's Word. We are here for such a short time...I'm choosing to live for eternity!!

Gina Camp said...

Dear Amanda,
God is working from the "inside out".That is where it has to start or it is just legalistic pursuits. I am thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Our tv just went out this week (only 3 years old) and boy what a great week of reading and interacting with our kids! I don't think we will get it fixed for a while. We have enjoyed it off. I am with you girl! But, we can't do without American Idol! (I had to give Scott a hard time about that one. ha)
Love you so much!

Amanda said...

I was enjoying the message so much and then BAM he mentions American Idol! :) His comment was so true though. It made me wonder how much TV I was watching and how little I was praying. American Idol is the only clean one left!

Laura said...

I'm so glad God gave you this one. I'll admit I watch 24, American Idol (I think it's good clean fun!), I did watch the Bachelor, and we do watch some rated R movies. God is letting me see things more clearly now and He is working from the "inside out" (thanks for that one, Gina!). But your so right, Ephesians says it all. Yes...I'm one that's been convicted!! Thank you for being "straight up"! Love you!

Kelly Ann said...

Awesome job! It's so cool to see the 'finished product' of your desire to communicate God's conviction in your own life. You know I am right there with you!! I am glad we aren't alone on this journey to be an accurate reflection of God. It will be hard!! That's FOR SURE!! I'm taking it one day at a time...and He will be there right beside me encouraging me to take 'just one more step' towards Him.

I love you!

Amanda said...

I like that Gina! The more I think about it, the more it speaks to me. Inside out!! Good word!

Gwen said...

Wow! Your courage and strength to post this is amazing to me! As always you have given me much to think about! God Bless you!

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

Love the post and I agree. Did you know my husband grew up without a TV? That's why if you read my post about lent, I am giving it up except very select shows that I thought through watching. It was taking too much a hold on my life. I admit it. Instead I'm rejuvinating myself in Bible Study and prayer! Thanks for a wonderful post.

Christy said...

OUCH... OOH.... this is deep... I am going to pray about all this and let God lead... these are things I think about but never think about and change.... WOW! Thanks for sharing.

Christy said...

I've been thinking about your post alot.. asking the Lord to deal with me and convict me to rid the things that shouldn't be in my life... something else is Music.. especially country... so much of it talks about leaving, cheating, crying... its just down right depressing if you ask me!

Karen Pierce said...

I haven't responded or commented because I haven't known what to say other than, "Ouch, that hurt". Complacency is a dangerous place that all Christians can fall into. I agree with Christy, regarding music. I need to be more careful about the type of music I listen to. I listen to rock, country, jazz and Christian. What a combination. I listed Christian last because that is the last station I check to see if it's playing a song I can sing along with. I bought 2 new CDs this week and they are awesome Christian music. One is strictly Worship music.

What goes in -- eventually COMES OUT.

This was a tough blog for me to read and I know it was hard for you to write. It is so true.

Gina said it so well about the "inside out". That is true holiness and purity -- not legalism. Big difference.

I love you. Thank you for convicting me once again. It really wasn't you that convicted me, it was the Holy Spirit THROUGH you.