Tonight when I got to church, after the marathon of unloading all the boys and delivering them to the nursery, I went to the bathroom. When I went in, I caught myself in the mirror and was actually pretty happy with what I saw. This unfortunately doesn’t always happen. Usually I find at least something I don’t like that I feel the need to criticize. But tonight, I gave myself an A+. I really liked the pants I was wearing because they are a cute, summery orange color and a linen type material that is pretty flattering. I liked my flowy shirt and my sassy jewelry that matched. I was feeling pretty good.
Then, I turned the corner and I saw it.
My polka dot underwear shining through broader than daylight!
Now this is church folks! Not that it’s cute or appropriate to display your polka dotted under garments to the world in any setting, but I’d say church is certainly at the very bottom of any list you might find.
But, there I was. I regrettably don’t carry around a spare pair of underwear for myself in my purse, so changing was out of the question. There was nothing available to cover my polka dotted tuckus and I had no choice but to carry on. I thought through my options and realized there was only one. Walk out of this bathroom just as confident as I walked in and pray people don’t notice.
Although I was confident, albeit a little embarrassed by my derrier, I was unable to completely shake the knowledge that everyone who looked at all south of eye level would see my underthings looking back at them. It makes you feel surprisingly vulnerable and exposed knowing people can see your intimates. Knowing I was showing a little more than I had originally planned, I opted not to stand during worship so as not to draw attention to my nether regions for those behind me.
As I sat there singing, censoring my behind from onlookers, I realized a couple things this silly event represented.
First of all, worship is supposed to be a time of communion between me and God. A sweet opportunity to pour out my praise to my heavenly father and to open my heart for Him to pour back into me. Music is how God speaks to me most clearly and it is what always shatters the chains of whatever I carried in with me.
I was raised Baptist. As such, I have never been very comfortable worshiping in public with my arms raised. It’s just not how people did things back in the day in my very typically southern Baptist church. I have always been awed by people who glorify God undaunted. In my soul, I’m one of those people. In my spirit, my arms are extended straight up in the air and me and Jesus are dancing; but in my physical body, I sway back and forth with my arms bent comfortably in front of my body. Occasionally, if I’m feeling really bold and extra spiritually strong, (or weak as it may be), I’ll let my hands slip out with my palms facing up, but they’re still a secure, defensible distance from my body. This lukewarm attempt at praise bothers me because as I said, my spirit has my arms stretched high, yet I stay in the safe zone, comforting myself by saying, “Well God sees my heart and knows in my spirit I’m praising Him boldly,” as if that somehow makes up for my outwardly tepid reverence.
Tonight, I had even more of an excuse. “God, people can see my underwear!!! I can’t even stand up!” Isn’t it just so typical of Satan to use anything he can to keep us from unashamedly worshipping our savior? Even if all he has to work with are polka dotted panties, he will use whatever he can to keep us quiet in our praise. To stifle our spirit and keep us in our comfort zone, separated from experiencing the fullness of God because we are too worried what everyone else might think.
What if Jesus had been so concerned with what everyone else thought that he stopped himself from praising God with reckless faith? What if his outward image became more important than his calling? What if Jesus stood in his own way of full relationship with the Father because he was afraid of his vulnerability?
My polka dotted undies represent all the things I don’t want people to see. Underneath our trendy outfits, underneath all of our outer layers, lies our secrets. Our polka dotted pasts. Our spotted souls, broken hearts, and stained lives. Even at church, we aren’t comfortable showing these parts of ourselves to everyone. Its hard enough knowing that God sees all the inner parts we don’t want to look at, much less anyone else.
Much like other polka dotted aspects of our lives, sometimes our outer layers are unable to conceal them. Sometimes what lies beneath the surface bleeds out and the rest of the world is able to see it.
And sometimes, that’s right where God wants us.
God sees everything. Even the things we think we’ve hidden from everyone else, God knows where it is and He sees it all. Best part is, it doesn’t change His opinion of us. While other people seeing my skivvies poking through my pants might have a judgmental thought run through their mind, God doesn’t. All He wants is my praise. He wants me to show up, stand up, and worship Him regardless of my polka dotted inner layers. Sometimes, it is in the moments where we are the most exposed and the most vulnerable that God does His best work.
There are certainly more or less appropriate people and places to share our insides with, but God is always on the top of the list. In spite of my spotted underpants and my distracted thoughts, God moved and reminded me of what He cares about. He is much more concerned with my heart than my exposed behind. It is in our most vulnerable state that God can truly move.
Tonight I exposed more of myself than I wanted to, but God gave me confidence and allowed me to persevere through it.
My underwear are not the only spotted thing in my life. There are lots of blemishes on my soul and there are many things I’d rather stayed hidden. But that’s not where the beauty is. Beauty is in our weakness. Glory is found in our vulnerability. Blessing comes from our unashamed openness. Sometimes, our pants fail us and our underwear is visible. Sometimes the things we use to hide and layer over our secrets can’t shroud the truth. The truth that we aren’t perfect. The truth that we have made mistakes, carry shame, and feel unworthy. The truth that we are human.
I believe it is in our humanness that we find healing, because when we are most human, God is most sovereign. It is in our ability to be exposed and not hide that true freedom reigns. God sees it all, and no matter how many dots are on our metaphorical underpants, He sees the heart. “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13
“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:24
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Let’s let our polka dotted inner layers shine through our faith! ☺