Secondhand Has Got To Go

2thriftClothes. So much clothing. Not enough space. Not enough days in the year to wear it all. Drawers overstuffed and bags of ‘other season’ clothes overfull. Clothes I love and clothes I liked but never wore. Clothes that are so flippin cute but don’t match anything else I own. Clothes coming out the wazoo. Or whatever that phrase is my mom always said.

This probably accurately describes my wardrobe currently (let’s be honest, I only inserted the word ‘probably’ to make myself feel better.)

And it may surprise you that I’m not a shopaholic. I rarely go shopping and I also rarely spend money on clothes… (insert some sick false humility here and then quickly take it out because that’s just wrong).

My passion? (Ok passion is definitely the wrong word, a better word would be something like obsession, or addiction…but I would rather avoid those terms)

Secondhand clothing. 1thrift

And I’ll just tell you I have absolutely no problem whatsoever – (if I stopped that sentence right there I’d be in denial)  with wearing clothes that complete strangers have worn who knows where. And I’ll make a confession right here and now that I’m sure the majority reading this will be like, You’re disgusting. But I really don’t care. My confession is that I also have no issues with wearing secondhand clothing without washing it first.

Yup. I said it. Why, you may ask, do I not really care if I wash it first or not? Well, maybe it’s partly due to having been in Africa and wearing the same clothes for days and being in grosser things than developed countries could bear to think of, or maybe it’s because I’m just so excited about my ‘new’ old clothes that I’m not patient enough to wait for the wash. Or maybe, and I just may be hitting the nail on the head of this little problem of mine, I’m just lazy. Did I just admit that? Ew.

And sure, it’s just clothes and I haven’t picked up any diseases so really why am I admitting this and what’s the point?

Because I realized today that I can treat my life like someone else’s broken in Converse or already stretched-to-fit-me skinny jeans that I was just blessed to receive for free.  And I can easily get used to that. (the ‘free’ I’m referring to is the clothes swaps we have at Sisterhood here at Hillsong College…this is where my wardrobe comes from)

What do I mean by this? I like to be comfortable. No, white that out. I love to be comfortable. Actually I even did this Core Values finder ‘test’ a couple times during my time here in college and I’ve realized Comfort is actually one of my core values. Now, that can be a good thing in that I love making others feel comfortable, feel at home (hospitality). But there can be a downside because while we are all grappling for comfort and going to such great lengths to be comfortable, we are missing out on the character building moments and God encounter moments we could be experiencing on the brink of the unknown…in the face of discomfort.

How does that relate to clothes anyway?

Now, I don’t know about guys, but ladies will understand me when I talk about breaking in new shoes. _____(insert painful sounds there). Sure,  I may have only experienced this personally once or twice in my lifetime #secondhandforlife, but I know that breaking in new shoes isn’t comfortable. In fact, I don’t even like breaking in new jeans. They’re tight, the waistline is uncomfortable, and this is one reason I enjoy wearing other people’s pants. Ha.

But someone has to experience walking in those stilettos for the first time. And someone has to walk some miles in their shoes in order for them to become used.

Character doesn’t just happen, and it certainly doesn’t come through comfort.

Today in chapel a student said this: ‘sometimes the waves require great faith because they’re terrifying, but sometimes the waves require great character because they’re unappealing.’

Sometimes in life our next step is honestly a bit unappealing, and looks uncomfortable, and like a lot of hard work.  Like for me, staying in Australia longer than I originally planned in order to get a degree sounds a littttle bit unappealing. Especially when my plan was to go straight to Africa.

For me, my comfort zone is change. And it’s funny, because it’s not even that I love change (I’m realizing that a lot of change at once can be overwhelming, but praise God for His grace), but I’m familiar with change.  Changes, resilience, flexibility, different places and different people is what I’m used to. And familiarity is what we crave. And since God told me to stay for another year and half to get a degree that I don’t really care about (that’s changing, don’t worry…I care about Africa and I care about His people, so this causes me to start caring about getting a degree), I’m suddenly very aware that the upcoming season will require character…and my willingness to break in a pair of shoes that I wouldn’t have picked for myself.

I’ve also realized that I can’t live on secondhand ANYTHING. But to actually work hard, to seek God, to encounter Him intimately, to be His hands and feet, it will require me getting uncomfortable.

And yeah, it would be a whole lot easier to live off the fruit of what someone else worked for, but what am I contributing?

And breaking in new shoes will be painful, cause some blisters, and it may take some time, but when something has cost you something personally, your own sweat, your own tears, your own money, you value it.

I was just reminded of a passage in 2 Samuel 24 (read the whole chapter for context) where David goes up to buy a threshing floor from Araunah…

23“Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.”24However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.
The whole story is kind of intense when you think about it, but I admired a trait in David that he showed here: He refused to take the easy way out.
All my life I’ve been prone to doing the bare minimum, taking the road most travelled, and doing the easiest, most efficient and most comfortable thing- but I know God is calling me out of my comfy, secondhand clothes and asking me, “Are you willing to pay the cost?”
And flip, I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, but I’m trusting that God won’t let go of my hand as I follow His lead. What aspect of your life or your calling are you settling for mediocrity in that God wants you to start sweating for? And I’m not implying anything about working to earn anything from God etc, but God does tell us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling in Philippians 2:12. And right after that he tells us that it is GOD who works in you to will and to act according to HIS good purpose.
He doesn’t expect you to work in your own strength, but He does expect you to put your hand to the plow and not look back. (Luke 9:62)
The hard work will be worth it, and the only thing we will ever regret were the times we chose comfort and familiarity over taking on new challenges and experiencing the unknown with God.
He’s got so much for us to experience, with Him, and with others, but we’ve gotta drop the secondhand clothing attitude. He has some new shoes for us to break in.

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