Clothing Your Calling

ClothingYourCalling

What hats do you wear? I’m not talking about brand, or from what store. I’m talking about roles you fulfill in life. Spouse? Parent? Employee? Entrepreneur? Chances are you have several hats and are living out more than one calling. It’s not so much a matter of what hat you’re wearing, but how you’re wearing it.

Most Corporate America companies have dress codes. I worked in an institution that required women to wear pantyhose. Required. Pantyhose. Take a minute to thank the Lord if you don’t have to squeeze into a pair of those every morning. The reason companies enforce a dress code, however, is to ensure you’re presenting yourself in an appropriate manner as a representative of their business. They need you to look the part.

Looking the part is important. The phrase “dress for the job you want” drives motivation to pursue your dreams by first presenting yourself already in that role from your image. Actors don’t simply act – they dress the part.

How you look is a reflection of how you’re living.

“Val. Please tell me we are not going to get style advice from you.” Okay – you’re not. Because we all know I’m style-challenged. I’m so thankful for friends who have taken me shopping, answered my picture texts when I ask, “Can I wear this?” (and aren’t afraid to tell me, “No, you cannot wear that. Ever.”), and for companies like Stitch Fix and Missus Smartypants.

I am, however, going to share the importance of looking your part. The importance of clothing your calling.

I work from home, as you know. I love what I do, but around the holidays last year, my passion and heart for my work were quickly waning. I was entering a big work transition during that time, I was stressed out, and I was eating peanut butter directly from the jar. As a meal.

I was gaining weight, losing heart, and wearing sweatpants every day. I dressed up above the waist in case I had video meetings with my clients, but I was in sweatpants and slippers every. single. day. I tried to tell myself I was confident enough and didn’t care who saw me that way. The truth was, however, I did care. I cared enough to stay home so no one would have to see me that way. Or any way.

My thinking was backward in the sense that if I had to go to the grocery store to do some shopping in a sea of strangers I’d most likely never see again, I’d put on “real” pants, and makeup. For the people I cherished most, however, I’d give them less than my best in my physical appearance. I was getting dressed up (or dressed, period) for complete strangers who didn’t care one little bit about me.

It got to the point if I put real clothes on, my daughter asked who was coming over. Or where we were going. I realized I was bringing up my daughter while living (and leaving) a legacy I didn’t necessarily want her to exemplify, or even pursue herself.

I wasn’t being a true representative on the outside of who I was working to be on the inside.

I hailed myself an author, speaker, Harlynn’s Heart leader, wife, mother, virtual assistant – but I looked the part of tired, bored, passionless woman. I wasn’t representing any of my callings or any of the hats God has allowed me to wear in life.

I finally had a realization I was dressing, and certainly living, well beneath my personal potential. This had been a struggle most of my life, and I was tired of feeling like less. I told my husband “I want to get dressed every day.”

Can you imagine verbalizing that goal to your beloved spouse? He was supportive, of course, but it truly took me making a hard and fast DECISION to get dressed. Every day. Really dressed. If I was going to wear these hats and live out the callings in my life, I needed to look the part.

I hit Amazon and filled my cart with clothes that looked nice, and fit nice. And they were delivered right to my door. (Yes, please!)

Fun fact: Do you know the Bible has a lot to say about clothing your calling? Far more than I’ll even share here, but I’d encourage you to start by looking at these:

Matthew 6:25-34

Colossians 3:12-14

Colossians 3:23

I underwent a complete personal transformation, simply from getting dressed. I became more productive, more focused, I felt better, I stressed less, I was always prepared for outings or visitors, I no longer felt ashamed or embarrassed to be out and about, and I finally – finally – felt like I really was who I’d been telling everybody else I was. I was completely available to fulfill my calling, and my closet no longer stood between me and what I represent.

I want to leave you with two points in clothing your calling. First, realize what you do is not who you are. But who you are is poured into what you do. Pour the good stuff. Even in choosing what to wear for the day.

Secondly, remember you’re clothing yourself with WHAT matters for WHO matters. Your calling is your purpose. Your passion. Your life’s work. Make sure your actions and appearance complement the many hats you’ve been called to wear.