Wearing Another's Dress: The Lie of Comparison
My middle school best friend and I had very different personalities. Kristy was confident, sassy, and slightly rebellious. I was insecure, shy, and a “good girl.” She was super cool and liked by all the popular kids, whose approval she could care less about. I lived unnoticed in the shadows and desperately wanted approval. We bonded over band, boys, Pearl Jam, and ridiculous senses of humor.
We wore the same size and sometimes we borrowed each other’s clothes. The first time I wore Kristy’s dress, I felt like a different person. At first it was exhilarating. I felt confident-like I could put on Kristy’s cool demeanor. Nothing changed on the inside. I was still insecure and I still hid in the shadows. I wasn’t filling the dress in the same bold way that Kristy seamlessly pulled off. I felt even more like a stranger in a dress that wasn’t mine.
I can still fall into the trap of wearing another person’s dress. When I see that I am lacking, I put on a false demeanor or attitude to mask my short-coming. I become someone I am not because I don’t want others to see who I truly am.
It begins with unhealthy comparison. She is more liked than me, so I will wear her dress of confidence and maybe I will be liked more. She is better at ministry than me, so I will wear her dress of method and personality and maybe I will be better too. She does way more than I do, so I will wear her dress of high capacity and pretend I can get it all done with a smile on my face.
Often “She” is not even a real person. She is a phantom ideal of feminine demeanor, capacity, and appearance. I easily forget that she lives only in my head.
Her dress may twirl in all its beauty, but the person inside is suffocating and dying a slow death. Her dress is void of grace and mercy. If I don’t meet her standard, then she wants me to play dress-up, but she will berate me later for falling short.
The dress is a lie. It promises to make us extraordinary, but it always disappoints and it quickly becomes a prison. When we’re not living as the person God created us to be-even in all our imperfections and insecurities- our souls will slowly die. When we live as the person God created us to be in Christ, our souls come alive. We are then free to be used by God to do extraordinary things for his kingdom.
God is not looking for people in perfect dresses. He is looking for willing hearts who entrust all their short-comings to him.
David recognized the lie of wearing another’s dress, or in his case, armor. In 1 Samuel 17, David vows to kill the giant Goliath. Saul looked at David’s small stature and decided it was best to dress David in his tunic and armor. Maybe that would make him look a little more terrifying. When David walked around in the king’s armor, he felt like an imposter. He knew the king’s way was not his, so he took off the armor and faced Goliath as the boy he was created to be. He held not a sword, but a stone and sling- the defensive weapons of a shepherd. David knew who he was-who God created him to be. When he embraced this and dropped all pretenses, God used him to take down a giant.
Whose dress are you putting on today? Is it the one God created for you or an imposter’s? How can you entrust your short-comings and imperfections to God today?
I hope today that you will take off her dress and wear your own. God may use you to slay giants.
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