My Regular Clothes Are Dirty

I don’t know where the practice emerged but when I was young, whenever I was experiencing sadness or disappointment, or I just wasn’t feeling myself, I dressed up to go to school. Basically, I would wear a dress, or do my hair differently, essentially wore something to look as though I was prepared for picture day. Because kids notice everything, immediately upon reaching school, or the classroom, someone would say, “You look nice today,” or “What are you so dressed up for?” I would respond, “My regular clothes are dirty.” After all, who wanted to share the real reason? Who wanted to be that vulnerable in front of others and admit that the dressing on the outside is a mechanism to cover what is actually occurring on the inside?

Somehow, that practice transitioned from middle school, to high school and to college. But in college, I was smart enough, astute enough to know that I wasn’t alone. I figured out that for others as well, it wasn’t a matter of dirty clothes, but that other people were hurting, internally and doing whatever they could to muster the strength to keep going externally, even if it meant wearing clothes that made one stand out. I wonder subconsciously if when we engage in this practice, we are really beckoning, wishing, hoping, praying that someone will actually see us and be compelled to ask, “Are you okay?”

I imagine given our current set of circumstances and the reality that many of us are homebound, there is since there is nowhere to go, there is little reason to put on regular clothes, let alone dress up clothes. Regardless, “Are you okay?” Perhaps you are the one who has made themself available to minister to folk in your workplace, or perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end, being noticed and invited to grab lunch, coffee, or just a brief visit near the restroom by someone who God ordained to be strength, wisdom and comfort to you, as you mask the vulnerability of your heart until the end of the day.

Although we are grateful for the “I see beyond your regular clothes folk,” it is imperative to acknowledge that no matter if we find ourselves at work in our homes or externally, there is one who doesn’t require our facade. In fact, He is most appreciative when we bring Him our brokenness, fragility and burdened self. We are not required to dress anything up for Him. In fact, He desires the “regular clothed” being – the one in need of a manicure, a trip to the salon, the wax shop and any of the other accoutrements that we use to enhance what we perceive to be the best version of ourselves. He wants us raw. He yearns to see us at our most dolled down replica of ourselves. He doesn’t care whether or not we are rounded to the nearest decimal (for your new found homeschool teachers). He simply just wants our heart.

But as long as we mask, we will continue to distance ourselves from the assistance that we so desperately stand in need of. Psalm 30:11-12 reads, “Then He turned my sorrow into joy! He took away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy  so that I might sing glad praises to the Lord instead of lying in silence in the grave. O Lord my God, I will keep on thanking you forever!” This scripture to be sure is powerful, but if we reach back just a wee bit, we find that in order for this to happen, the scripture in verse 10 reads, “Hear me, Lord; oh, have pity and help me.”

It is unacceptable, better still, useless if we only concern ourselves with our exterior, without admitting to God what we are grappling, struggling or even too upset to confront. It won’t come as a surprise to Him, but He desires to hear our voice. He bids us to come boldly to His throne and ask for what we need. He doesn’t expect for us to walk around in our dress clothes, so to speak, hoping that He will ask us what’s wrong. Whether we are dressed in our finest, or rocking our best pajama bottoms, He is available, but we’ve got to come off mute.

Our usual extensions may not be available to us at the present time. However, God is not on a stay at home order. Unlike us, God can travel to the uttermost parts of the world, and be with each of us concurrently. For those that have close relationship with God, this respite may be a time where God is calling you to rest, for all the ministering you do to the folks “not wearing regular clothes” in the workplace. Perhaps God is using this quarantine to minister to you. For those who have tried to find God, but felt disappointed by “church folk,” perhaps God is using this quarantine to minister to you in a way that “church folk” cannot. For those who don’t know God at all, perhaps this time is designed and orchestrated to introduce you to someone who wants to love you, and love on you, regularly clothed, overdressed or completely naked in spirit before the Creator of heaven and earth. Whatever your lot, healing, restoration, affirmation, assuredness, solace and hope is for the asking; and not just while we are quarantined, but for the daily.

To be sure, we have the ability to engage in activities that allow and enable us to feel more energized. Whether it exercising, cooking, visiting with friends, quilting, each provide some continuity, but if they are being done in an attempt to compensate for our peace then we are selling ourselves short. We can successfully do each of them and seek God. We must. In fact, I enjoy my outlets all the more when I’ve created space to engage first with God. I still like to dress up, but now I do it less as a mechanism to overcome my internal disruption. Whatever is actually dirty in our lives, can be cleaned through the Blood of Jesus. But He wants to hear from us. Even though He’s all knowing, we must know Him.


  • Donnielle A. Jones

    Needed this so much. Thank you.

    • Stephanie

      Thank you so much for reading. Praise God that it was helpful to you. Continue to be encouraged!

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