Playing dress-up was not on my agenda. A two-week cold had moved into my body, and it had even picked out curtains. To say I was miserable would be an understatement. So much so, I had second-guessed going out on a date scheduled with my husband.
Grandma and Grandpa had arrived to watch the kids, and I was prepared to leave. Reaching for the door handle dressed as I was, my daughter entered the room. "Can I pick out your dress?" Dress? I was doing well to get out of the house, having taken a shower and sporting jeans and a nicer shirt. Sigh. I could not resist the pretty little redhead staring up at me with big brown eyes. Memories of her own dress up night still dancing in her head, she wanted something special for me. You see, she had just gotten to be daddy's princess at a Father-Daughter Dance. So dress up it was!
A funny thing happened when I put on the dress. I perked up, laughed a little, and was more in the mood to go out. Not even daddy escaped the magic of the wardrobe fairy. Transformed by his own finery of dress pants, a favorite blue shirt, and a classy tie made his mood brighten more than usual. Remembering the special evening with her daddy, our daughter insisted that we take a picture, just as she had done for their dance. When we finally left, we did so gracefully dressed all because a little girl expected elegance for our date.
Taking the time to put on a different attitude, just as I put on different clothes, seems to change the course of my days. No matter what my circumstances, the patterns of my thinking and actions are regulated by my attention to putting on a positive attitude towards things. "Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." ( Colossians 3:12, ESV) These aren’t feelings, they are attitudes God calls me to intentionally choose. Grace, forgiveness, and gratitude can replace the rags of depression, hatred, and the inability to forgive. It doesn't just happen. We must grab those downward spiraling thoughts, and pull them out of the pit of negativism. There are times we have to "put on" these loving attitudes, even if we don't feel like it. "Fake it until you make it" comes to mind in the moments I struggle with trying to reframe my attitude. And, sometimes we just need someone to come in and say, "You aren't going out dressed like that, are you?!"
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Plan an outing this week with a friend, your child, or a significant other, and then dress up for it. Pick a characteristic you want to work on from the Colossians 3:12 passage. I invite you to be intentional as you address the following questions, or you may have some of your own. Notice your thoughts.
What is my current mood or feeling?
How do I listen to the other person?
How do I interact with my surroundings?
What attitude has Christ asked me to put on?
What are the steps I can take to learn more about each attitude I am to "put on?" What are the rewards and challenges to making this a regular habit?
A hike in the woods
Dress up for a night out with your spouse or significant other
Have coffee with a friend
Trampoline with kids (impossible not to giggle)
Listen to a local band
Take an art class together
I would love to hear how your time went. What did you talk about? Where did you go? What was your favorite moment? Did you find that your countenance improved?
Lord, I desire to put on the attributes that make me more like You. Help me to see where I can find joy in difficult circumstances. Amen