Not long ago I received coupons in the mail from a local department store. And they were great coupons… $50 off a $50 clothing purchase, and $35 off a $35 accessory purchase. Hello?? That’s $85 of good stuff FREE! 

I am all about FREE!

You can bet I took advantage of it. I came home with five pieces and spent $16.84.

That’s my kind of bargain.

Shopping like this reminded me of my younger, newly-married self, and how I once hid behind my closet full of clothes. I would find myself drawn to the latest styles, to the current clothing trends, to the newest fashion for the season. And I would go out and purchase new outfits to “fit in” with what was current.

I justified my shopping by telling myself, “You deserve it,” or, “You really need this for ____ event,” or, “You won’t be happy until you get it.”

Shopping gradually became an addiction, so much to the point I would purchase clothing pieces, hide them from my husband in the back of our closet for a week or two, and bring them out to wear as if they were there all along.

Getting down to the heart of this issue, I began to realize all this shopping wasn’t making me happy. Sure, the rush of a good deal was fun for a moment, but it became a never-ending cycle of let-down. Until I came to grips with the truth: My clothing wasn’t me.

I was hiding under looking great, looking hip, looking put-together, and trying to become someone I wasn’t.

I looked like the real deal, but was actually far from it.

real deal ::  A person or thing considered to be a genuine or supremely good example of their kind.

the real deal

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Stripping this habit from my life (and I mean painfully ripping it out!), I began to see myself in a different light. I chose to examine the real me, and allowed myself to embrace who I really was.

I gave myself permission to get real with myself. To refuse false pretenses, to reject fake personal charades, and to run from hiding behind masks (or the latest trends).

To allow me to be me.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I pray this isn’t something you struggle with. I pray you are well on your way to accepting your real self. But just in case you find yourself one day dealing with the thoughts of trying to become someone you’re not, may you be reminded you are a masterpiece, just as you are.

You are a masterpiece

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

You are the real deal.

You don’t have to fit in a mold, or dress a certain way, or do a certain thing. Hiding behind masks, or anything else isn’t you. Your job, your car, your house, your education isn’t you.

The real you is who God made you to be. And when you and I live in this realness, we experience freedom to grow, to flourish, to be fulfilled in life, and to follow our individual callings with joy.

And when we are the real deal, I imagine it must make God smile.

You are free to be you. I am free to be me.

There’s no better person to be.

I’m glad we can be real with each other here.

Much love to you,

Julie

 

Today is Day 24 of 31 Days #CelebratingWhoYouAre. Let’s encourage each other to continue being the real deal, with each other, and within ourselves. I’m celebrating who you are today, friend! (Linking this post with Barbie for #WeekendWhispers.)

31 Days Celebrating Who You Are

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