Sunday, March 4, 2018

My Sunday Best, Volume 96: Clothing Judgment

Happy Sunday! Less than a month until Easter!

John Paul sang in the choir this morning, so I took Peter, Mary Claire, and Cecilia to Mass. I wish I had gotten a picture of John Paul's outfit, he was QUITE proud of it.
I was praying and praying for no meltdowns during Mass, especially since Mary Claire and Peter are often bitter enemies... We made it through unscathed, though!

Let's talk clothes for a second, shall we? A friend brought up the discussion in our parish mom's group Facebook page - are we judging what other people are wearing to Mass? Are we spending too much time thinking about what we're wearing, to the detriment of our actual worship? It's a valid question, I think, and one worth discussing.

Here are my thoughts: 

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What you wear matters. That said, there are seasons in life when it's really, really hard to look put-together and presentable in your everyday life, let alone for Mass. Sometimes you wear the same pair of yoga pants for the last month of pregnancy (been there!!) because literally nothing else fits. God sees your heart. And I bet the majority of the people you encounter aren't even thinking a tiny bit about what you're wearing! We tend to focus on ourselves more than others.

If you have a tendency to think to yourself, "Oh sheesh, she looks like such a slob! Wow, didn't they know this is MASS and not the pool?" or other such lovely thoughts (guilty in the past!!)... I've made it a general rule in my life to always assume the best when it comes to the intentions of others. It helps a LOT. And I'm not the first one to live by this rule!

Both justice and charity demand not only that you keep from judging the actions of others, but also that you interpret their actions in the best possible light... In imitation of God, you must learn to interpret the motives and actions of others kindly before you can arrive at perfect love of your neighbor. 
(The Hidden Power of Kindness, Lawrence G. Lovasik, page 54 - I HIGHLY recommend this book)
So one of the first things we can do is to stop judging others, but also to cut ourselves some slack! Those same excuses you make for other people can go for you, also. Maybe that person has a broken washing machine, or a crayon went through the dryer with all their best clothes, or they weren't planning on going to Mass but made a split-second decision as they passed the church... There are countless explanations for less-than-optimal Mass attire, and I seriously doubt there are any people who are purposely dressing in a less-than-optimal manner in order to show disrespect. 

Second, I often hear that it's shallow to show any sort of concern when it comes to outward appearance. That we're worrying too much over material goods. And while I think that can be a valid point, I don't think most people are obsessing about their Mass attire. We want to show proper respect for the Holy Eucharist by dressing a little nicer than usual. I think we can take a little bit of our mental energy and expend it towards finding 2-3 outfits that work well for Mass, keeping a "uniform" of sorts in our closet, and making that extra effort to dress a little better than your everyday style. For me that means I always put on a little makeup, try to wear a hat or a veil, and set aside a few dresses/blouses/skirts that I don't let make their way into my regular wardrobe. 

Years ago I started changing my wardrobe as a whole so that I could feel more put together and wear clothes that fit me in a variety of sizes & stages, and that's helped a ton. I've blogged about that some, and I highly recommend trying either ThredUp's new "goody box" service or taking advantage of Stitch Fix and asking them to find you a couple outfits for church. While we shouldn't be worrying excessively over outward appearances, taking a little time to focus on what you're wearing is respectful both to you and to others around you. 

Your turn!

Post your outfit details & links or not, regale us all with your children's antics, reflect deeply on the readings, or just do a straight picture post - anything goes as long as you actually wore your outfit to church. The link-up is open until Friday, so you've got plenty of time to add your post!

Just a few ground rules before you link up:

1. Please include a photo of what you wore to church this week.

2. Please link back to this post in the body of your post, so your readers know where to find other posts (posts not mentioning "My Sunday Best" or not linking back to this post will be subject to removal).

3. Please visit some other posts in the link-up & leave a nice comment - this is all about affirming each other and building community, not just link dropping :)

4. Make sure the link you add is a link to your specific post or instagram picture (hashtag #mysundaybest and mention me in your caption, @rosiehill425 so I don't miss it!), not just your blog address.

5. Enjoy, and thanks for linking up!
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