I like wearing long sleeved buttoned down shirts and you can typically find me in the summer with the sleeves rolled up and in the winter I’ll add a sweater if I need to. I like how versatile a buttoned down shirt can be. I can wear it with shorts and be preppy, with ripped jeans to be rebellious or with dark jeans / slacks to be professional. Long sleeved shirts allow me to take on different persona’s with little work or effort.
But I hate to iron, with a passion.
So most of my shirts will either get a quick steam before being put on or I’ll just leave them wrinkled. Not massively wrinkled but they have that look, like I’ve been wearing them all day, even though the day just started.
This drives my mother crazy. She see it as sloppy and me not taking care of myself. She thinks I’m better than that and should iron them and look my best.
The problem is that when they are crisp and ironed and perfect it’s not me. It’s not me at my best. I am not perfect. I am not crisp. I am not that put together.
I’m wrinkled and I love it.
The hardest thing to be, is me. No one else can do it and even I screw it up from time to time, especially when I try to be something or someone else. When I’m in my wrinkled shirt I’m being me and life is easy. There is no question of my motives, no worries about my actions and no questioning of who I am.
I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to want to please people and I have a very real fear of disappointing others. This causes me to sometimes over react and run away. It causes me to lash out and attack, rather than to sit still, listen and just be.
This fear of disappointing people causes me to add starch to my shirts. It makes them stiff and they don’t allow me to move freely in them. Yes they “look sharp” but they are very uncomfortable. They cause me to grab at the collar because I feel like I’m choking, I want to loosen buttons because I cannot move or raise my arms. I’m afraid to do anything out of fear that I’ll get it wrinkled and lose the perfection.
I allow my emotions, my thoughts and my insecurities to layer on the starch of these shirts. I get to the point where I can’t move and I just react. I lash out and make people around me feel like crap. By the time I noticed what I have done, by the time I noticed all the starch build-up and taken the steps to “change shirts”, the damage is done.
It’s at this point I have to work really hard to repair my thoughtless actions.
I wish it was easy to just take off the starched shirt and replace it with a wrinkled shirt. But it’s not. I cannot just go into a dressing room and come out with my comfortably wrinkled shirt and expect everything to be good. If I keep on the starched shirt it will eventually turn wrinkled and as the starch loosens its grip the shirt becomes more and more comfortable. This however is why I’ve spent the past 2 years discovering myself, to stop waiting for the shirt to change but to change myself now, in the moment.
I have to change in front of these people, my people.
I have to remove the starched shirt and be vulnerable. I have to stand there and undo each button one by one.
A button for my stupid thoughts.
A button for my harsh actions.
A button for my lashing out.
A button because I raced to conclusions.
A button for thinking instead of seeing the truth.
With each button I have to admit my failure, admit my weakness and ask for forgiveness. It is only when I do this that I can start to put on the wrinkled shirt and leave behind the starched one.
Lucky for me I have people in my life who know the real me. People who know, this isn’t what is to be expected of me and they call me out on my actions. I am given the opportunity to change. I am allowed to throw away the stiff, starched shirt and return to my imperfect, wrinkled and comfortable shirt.
I don’t deserve grace like this.
None of us do.
But every single day of our lives, God gives us this grace. It’s not every day you get to see God in your friends but when you do it makes you realize just how amazing He and they are.
1 Timothy 1:14 – The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.