Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"You Live for Fashion!"

Current InStyle
The title comes from an episode of Sex and the City called "The Real Me" and is spoken by Charlotte York to Jen Savery, I mean, Carrie Bradshaw. 

The September issue of all fashion magazines is the largest of each calendar year. Vogue's September 2007 Issue weighed nearly 5 lbs. The current InStyle for this month is 652 pages. Fall is, as you learn flipping through pages showing how to wear cheetah print boots and burgundy skinny jeans, not for the fashion fearful.
InStyle is my favorite magazine.* Colorful, well organized, diverse pieces and smart pairings for real women, it sings a seductive siren song of all the things, literally things, missing from my closet and therefore, a higher quality of life.

But does owning -------- (insert current item of lust) actually improve my quality of life?

2007 September Issue 
The ad below unapologetically flaunts what all ads, what all secular culture tells us-- this will fill your void, this will satisfy your desires and longings and you will never be the same after.

I admit that I have fallen for this trap far, far more than I would like to admit. And if you've seen my closet you'd think I was filled up by now.  I own more shoes than anyone I know. I am talking Toto, we aren't in double digits anymore-- but than why do I keep looking at fashion magazines?

Because fashion can quickly become my idol and, thus, my sin.

Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Cheif of Vogue. Oh, you devilishly stylish
woman, you.

When discussing my long hiatus from blogging with a friend she suggested I write more just about food and clothes, less about "your life. I mean, I really like what you wear and when you talk about food." She did not mean this to hurt my feelings or to say my life isn't important, but let's be honest-- if all I am good for is fashion and food, it isn't.

That void I mentioned earlier, the one people try to fill with a purse or a drink or a one night stand or a bit of gossip, can only be filled and satisfied by God. We are guilty of becoming "culturally Christian," meaning we choose social practices that seem Christian, but we end up becoming judgmental and  complacent. Our idea of morality is defined by comparison. Good is subjective to what it is being compared to. Francis Chan really nails this one on the head in his book Crazy Love. We accept and even embrace our sins so long as we aren't "as sinful" as someone else. Abstaining from drinking, cussing, premarital sex, murder, drugs are not what make us Christians. Only through recognizing (read: loving as He did, talking about, praising, living as an extension of Him, loving, loving, loving, loving) Christ as our savior are we actually Christians. I have let myself shop because if that's my weakness, it's really not as bad as making alcohol or sex or drugs my idol. I don't intentionally hurt anyone, so what's one more pair of shoes?

If I am not wearing my faith as prominently as the red soles of my Christian Louboutins, I am the worst kind of sinner of all. St. Augustine, who was quite the partyboy, wrote "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." Translation in modern vernacular: Lord make me sinless in your eyes.... unless sinless means seeking your glory before my selfish desires, than in that case maybe just kind of sinless.

Those red soles are among the most brilliant marketing
 techniques in fashion history 

The Chic-Fila controversy aroused emotional reactions from all different sides. People who side with the franchise lined up to buy chicken sandwiches and those who disagreed, boycotted. (By the way, I am remaining impartial on the topic, this is to prove a much bigger point.) I saw a picture in Facebook that had a caption reading something about there have never been that many Christians lining up to volunteer at a homeless shelter or food bank. My thought process here was 1) That was a rude caption, especially considering the controversy surrounds equality and rights and my faith is a reserved right 2) At the same time, that people had more to say and stand up for over a fast food restaurant than they do for their faith-- no amount of chicken sandwiches will outlaw gay marriage, nor will the plummet of chicken sandwiches sales legalize gay marriage.

When asked if I am a Christian, I am not being asked if I eat at Chic-Fila or or if I own cross jewelry or have a fish bumper sticker or if I even go to church (My list inspired by Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman).

I am being asked if I love Christ and if I live to glorify God. 

I like love hearing people say they love my outfit. It totally validates the time spent picking it out and making sure I have the right balance of color, texture and coverage. What this really means is I need to spend more time being a Christ-like example in an ever-darkening world than I do selecting my clothing ensembles. 

John 20:15 (NAS) Mary is searching for Christ Easter morning. Before she recognizes him, he asks, "Whom are you seeking?" When translated into Greek, seek is synonymous with crave. This conjures not only images of delicious cupcakes, but all the material things I have saved to my Shopbop WishList. 

So here is the challenge to myself: No shopping in September.** None. Instead, working on making God what I crave.

What do you crave? What do you fill your life with?

* I enjoy Vogue, but there are more ads than content in most issues. Ahhh, the symbolism. 
** THE  fashion month. As in, fashion's birthday...basically. 

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