Let me tell you a little story before I begin the actual post. When I was a little girl I was afraid to raise my hands in church during worship. I wanted to, I really did. I was just afraid someone would see me and come up to me after church(as they so often did) and tell me I wasn't worthy enough to lift my hands to God because I had lied that week or I made bad grades on my report card. One day I was in the car with my big sis Sondra. She was my go to when I needed advice and the godliest person I knew back then. I asked her about the whole hand raising thing, really poured out my heart to her. She sat there and said, "well, Melissa, look at it this way." "When we go to church and worship God, he doesn't see our human bodies, he doesn't see what we wear or how many times we lift our hands. He only sees our hearts. And if your heart is right with him and you genuinely worship him with your heart, you don't HAVE to lift your hands. God knows." (do you see why I went to her for advice now?) So from then on and even still today, when I go before God in anything I do, I picture in my mind a clear see through body with a bright red beating heart right in the center and I know that that's the only thing I need to have right. Not my makeup, not my clothes, not even my hair.
Today, I'm going to probably step on some toes and hurt some feelings. Please know that it's not my intention in any way, and this post is not pointing fingers. In fact, I am just as guilty of doing these things I'm about to talk about. I just realized how "normal" it was for me and now that I don't do it, it seems so vain and I wonder how did I not ever see what I was doing.
As most of you know, today is Easter. The beloved holiday where we celebrate the ressurection of Jesus! I know, I'm pretty excited too. I laid in bed this morning and I thanked God for sending his son to die for me so that I can be worthy to enter heaven even after all the things I've done and no doubt will most certainly do in just one day's time. Then I opened up facebook and instagram for my quick morning scroll to make sure no one died and to catch up on any big happenings in the world...because let's face it, social media is a dumping ground for all of our garbage (definitely guilty of this). And the first thing I saw was a picture of a sweet couple headed to church with their little one, the husband had his bible in his hand and the caption read, "I tried to get us to match a little today"..."aww how sweet they look", I thought. Keep scrolling, I see another picture of another family all matching for easter service at church, with the caption, "We would have all matched today, but (kids name's) bowtie didn't come in on time. Darn you amazon." "Such a cute family anyway" I thought. More scrolling, more pictures of matching families headed to church to celebrate this amazing day. It was really a cuteness overload on social media.
So I shut down my facebook, came in the kitchen and made my breakfast and tea all the while reminiscing on past easter's growing up. My favorite thing about Easter, (after I got too old to hunt easter eggs) was going dress shopping and buying that one colorful spring dress that would get me so many compliments from my friends and the adults at church. (because what girl doesn't love shopping for clothes and then receiving compliments for them? I know I do) But then I also got to thinking how I'm not going to a church house this morning to celebrate, and I haven't been in a very long time. Instead I am wearing one of Jose's giant hoodies, in the biggest pair of sweatpants I own, and my hair is in absolute disarray at the top of my head. If someone saw me right now, they would say "Melissa, you look rough." But what if I did walk down to the church up the road from me just the way I am? Pretty sure I would be sent packing right quick in a hurry.
I don't mean to sound condescending, but why do we dress up all matchy matchy for Easter? The last time I checked, Jesus didn't care what we looked like on the outside right? I mean unless things have changed, I have been away from mainstream christian thinking for over 5 years now. <----sarcasm---->
I kind of feel like Easter has become a holiday of vanity. I mean, that's the message we portray when we have to match for church right? Why else would we do it, if not for the compliments of "how cute" "I love your dress" etc. In doing so, we take the focus off of why we really celebrate Easter and we bring it to ourselves. What ever happened to come as you are? When did we start leaving the house making sure our makeup and hair were perfect before we made sure our hearts were right before God? (again so so guilty of this!) Jesus didn't die on the cross dressed in his fanciest suit and tie, nor did he ressurect dressed to the nines. He was naked on the cross. His body and soul bared to the world for everyone to see and mock. He was vulnerable and bloody, not dressed to impress. No other image has ever brought me to my knees in humility, no other face has ever made me feel so worthy of being loved. No other scarred hand has ever reached out to me in my darkest hour and made me feel so whole. It takes all my easter dresses and hours upon hours that I spent in front of my mirror making myself up to perfection, and puts them to shame.
Today as I sit in my living room and I spend time with God, in the mess that I am, God only sees my heart. There will be no pictures of Jose and I in our sunday best posted on facebook, no easter egg hunts to participate in (although, chocolate WILL be consumed at some point today if it hasn't been already...I'll never tell). Just me, raw and real, coming as I am to love on my Jesus and to bare my soul to him as he did for me. Maybe instead of dressing to impress this easter, we can make sure we match our lives to that of Jesus. Starting with the inside, heartbeat to heartbeat.
Happy Easter Everyone. Be blessed today. xoxo