Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Adult Halloween Costume

Halloween is approaching.  
And the cutest little 32-inch giraffe is currently running around our home.  

Last year, it was a monkey.  

The year before, a bumblebee.  

It makes sense why kids (and adults) love Halloween.  There's something appealing about dressing up as something that you're blatantly not -- pretending to be a 20-foot giraffe when in reality, you can't even reach the top of the kitchen table.

Once I reached high school, I declared my trick-or-treating days over.  It may have been because my mother always made us reuse the same costumes each year in new and creative ways, and my creative juices finally ran dry.  (Sorry, mom.)  Or, maybe I was just a little too old, too mature, too sophisticated, to parade around in some whimsical outfit, collecting candy from people who never even got a glimpse of my actual face.  I'd rather be the real me.

Yet even though I've long since retired my dress-up clothes, it's in my nature to don a mask and try to fool others into thinking I'm someone else.

Ready for my costume?  Here it is:

*I highlight to others all of my successes as a mother, but tend to avoid discussing my failures.
*I tell young women how their hope and security must only be in Jesus, yet I constantly chase after my own worthless idols.
*I struggle to ask forgiveness from my family, because aren't I always right? 

Really, we don't ever outgrow "dressing up."  One honest, self-evaluative look at our hearts leads us to despise what we find.  And so we spend our whole life pretending to be someone we're not -- pretending to have our act together when really we're just a mess.  Pretending like we're "good enough" in front of a God who can see right through the façade.

In fact, Christians confess all sorts of failures...yet in the arena of parenting, we're tempted to pretend we've got it all together.  We justify our decisions, condemn books that disagree, tell other young parents the "do's and don'ts" of caring for children, and ignore the wisdom of older generations.  After all, parenting has changed in the last few years.

But deep down inside, we all know exactly what we are.
Broken people playing dress up. 

But there's hope for people like me, people like you, people who can't get their spiritual act together but pretend they're fine anyway. 

Jesus Christ came, clothed in garments of perfect righteousness, and His inside matched His outside. He pleads with me to discard my costume, my meager attempts at self-sufficiency, and instead take HIS clothes - His perfect record. 

Jesus has come for those willing to say, "enough with my paltry costume - my pathetic pretending!"  He's come so that we may rest -- wholly and completely -- on His perfect, and finished, work on the cross.

The gospel frees us to be ourselves.  The gospel frees us to shout this is the real me!  And the real me is impatient, and angry, and selfish, and stubborn.  But the real me is also covered in the righteousness of Jesus, the One who is making me patient, and kind, and sacrificial, and humble.

So go get dressed up in costume.  Dress your kids up.  Your cat.  Enjoy the one day where it is socially acceptable, expected even, to exchange the real you for a 20-foot giraffe.

But the other 364 days, know that you who were broken, God has clothed in the spotless garments of Jesus Christ.

You can take off the silly costume now.

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