I had a conversation with a friend the other day as we perused the microscopic, under-stocked men’s section of the local Urban Outfitters.
(Which, first of all… why don’t they have more men’s clothes? Like, it’s practically a 5:1 ratio of women’s to men’s clothes in that place, and it makes me feel like I’ve been duped every time I walk in there. Get it together UO. But that’s besides the point.)
“Y’know, I kindof actually hate fashion these days…”, I say to my friend Drew, as we take inventory of the things for sale, in this already tiny section: paper-thin tees, strangely cropped jeans, clothing brands from Walmart, and a plethora of pre-holed everything. Nothing matched, and nothing really made any sense… but somehow, it kindof did I guess. Everything seemed like its own thing, not really made to match with any other given piece of clothing… and that bothered me so much. I need for things to match.
To give proper context, I’ve really never been a trendy kinda guy. I mean, I did wear skinny jeans before it was cool, and I had the sweet flannels before Urban had em, but… otherwise, I’m pretty much a grandpa. Scrabble and crossword puzzles are my jam, and some smooth jazz in a rocking chair sounds like the perfect way to spend an evening. So naturally, when it comes to wardrobe choices, I’m not exactly trendy. Which is actually a really funny thing.
The term “hipster” was one that plagued me for the majority of my adolescent life. To some, it would be worn as some kind of badge of accomplishment… but to me, it was a distasteful, shallow term. I hated the fact that by liking something, I was somehow lumped into this category, just because I liked it. I didn’t (and still don’t) care so much about trends, because I know that they come and go quicker than life itself.
But y’wanna know something funny? Grandpas really never go out of style.
At some point, dressing sharp, looking well-kept, and generally trying came under the umbrella term of “classy”, and became reserved solely for occasions worthy of the effort. But that’s how people used to dress all the time! I find it funny when people say things like, “Aw man, I wish I was alive in the 20’s… I’d love to wear all those suits/dresses/etc. every day!” …as they go about their day wearing sweatpants and a hoodie.
We’ve been made to believe that the individuality and strangeness of clothing is worth spending more on… but in fact, just the opposite is true — value is found in the things that last. Being different isn’t the true currency… consistency is. To relate back to fashion, wearing super-long tees, riddled with holes is pretty neat and it’s cool for like, five months. But a solid pair of jeans, some good boots, and a good collection of button ups is never gonna lose it’s class.
But what about more than just clothes? How about the way we talk? Our body language? The countenance of our face? The way we interact with others? Again, caring about all of these things have become a rarity because of our obsession with what’s new and trendy. But these are the things that will set you apart as a person, and furthermore, as a Christ follower. When you represent yourself well, you’re representing Jesus well. That’s a stark reminder… when you’ve chosen to love God, you’re not solely your own representative.
Are people reminded of Christ by the way that you carry yourself?
Make sure, whether it’s with clothes, finances, vocabulary, habits, or passions… always choose to invest for the long term, fill your life with the things that last, and choose the road less travelled. Trends and buzzwords will fade away, so make sure that you’re investing yourself in what’s never gonna change. And not just for your own sake, but for the King and His Church that you represent. An eternal kingdom lasts much longer than even the length of our lives, and that’s the reality that we much be practicing for. Make giving your very best, your new normal.
BIG IDEA: Choose to be identified by what’s truly lasting.
I pray that in this day, you’ll let yourself enjoy the little things around you. There are so many things that seek to steal your joy — never forget the joy that’s been placed deep within you by the Holy Spirit. I pray that you’ll have the wisdom and the foresight to really invest yourself into the things that last, rather than being enticed by the simplicities of the moment. Fashion, buzzwords, ideologies, and life itself are here one moment and then gone the next… make sure that you’re not too distracted by the shifting present, that you miss out on a secured future. Let yourself indulge in a few frivolous things… buy that weird tee shirt, eat that obnoxious amount of ice cream, go see that indie movie. But know that you’re a representative for more than just you… the world sees you, and wonders if Christ is the same way. Make sure to give them a good idea of how amazing, loving, kind, and even “classy” Jesus is, by being that, yourself. You’re awesome, friend. Keep moving forward.