“Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children.”
Today’s morning devotional led me to this scripture in Ephesians 5:1. The Holy Spirit suspended my heart within the words as he painted a picture of a young girl playing dress up in her mother’s closet. I still remember being a child, awkwardly stumbling around in my mother’s high heels trying to emanate her femininity. I never got farther than two or three steps without losing my balance and my feet spent more time outside of the pumps as my size fours struggled to remain grounded in a size I won’t mention. As I think back to those glorious days of exploration in my mom’s closet, I’m drawn to the absence of the one emotion that seems most befitting to the experience. Fear.
In a closet completely packed with things too big for me, I never once felt swallowed. The thought never crossed my mind that I should be afraid of putting on things that weren’t my size. Why? Well, there’s a few reasons.
One: my mother was my safe place. My trust in her far outweighed my own inabilities. If she wore these things, how could they be harmful to me? Two: more than anyone in the world, I wanted to be like my mother and the force of that drive blocked out any would be fears from stopping me. And finally three: running pretty concurrently with my previous reason, I simply wanted to be like my mom and in my childish head, the best way to do that was to imitate her.
God is ushering us to step into His closet: put on the patience you have to hold up as you trip over its length, slip into the selflessness that seems to slow your pace, and try on the kindness that overwhelms your own will. Christ has invited us to put on His attributes as our own and in that invitation lies trust, fearlessness and the grace to don the character of the savior. And hear this, you don’t have to feel capable of being like Christ in order to be like Christ. You just have to trust Christ and take Him at His word. You have been redeemed. There have been many times in my walk with God that I’ve wanted to throw in the towel because being patient, kind, and putting others before myself felt too difficult. That’s because I was trying to wear my own version of God’s character. I felt overtaken by my inability to mirror Christ. Yet, I never left His closet. I never stopped putting on His clothes, no matter how much they hung. I played dress up until the dress fit. I stayed, seeking God and drawing closer to Him as I matured into (some of ) the garments. Just as the little girl in her mother’s closet will one day walk confidently in the shoes she once stumbled in, so can we mature into the articles of Christ’s love.
A final note…
In order to be like someone, we have to know them. When actors take on roles where they have to portray real people, they delve deep into the life of that person. In preparation for biopics, actors will study the way a person speaks, their mannerisms, and they even try to get a grasp on the proclivities of their mind. If people trying to portray other people go to such great lengths for the sake of a believable work of art, how much more should we draw closer to our creator, so that we may imitate Him in all holiness, righteousness, truth, and love?