Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC
A Comfy Sweatshirt Way of Life
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
We are quickly moving in to “comfy sweatshirt” weather in my area of the country. The temps are beginning to drop into the 50s and 60s some evenings, but it’s not quite cold enough to turn on the furnace, so a comfy sweatshirt is a necessity for me. Fun fact, I am someone who HATES to be cold. Ok, not really a fun fact, but rather a helpful fact to know if you are someone in my day-to-day life. Here’s why… Cold weather makes me mean. Seriously, if my hands or feet take a chill, it’s over. My ability to be nice goes right out the window until I take a hot shower and get my core temperature back up. It’s a problem. During this time of year, it’s not at all uncommon to see me walking around with a hot mug of water in my hands. No lemon, no tea, just a cup of steaming hot water. I’ve got to get my water intake in and there is no way I’m drinking anything cold these days. Plus, I’d be a ball of nerves if I drank coffee all day. So, hot water has been a saving grace as it keeps my hands warm as well as my inners. It’s a win-win. As much as I lean on the hot water, nothing makes me happier these days when a chill is setting in than slipping on a comfy sweatshirt. Usually, it’s oversized and fuzzy on the inside, feeling like a giant warm hug that envelopes me as I pull it over my head. This feeling makes me so happy and definitely makes me nicer to those around me. This imagery of a “comfy sweatshirt” is what God brought to mind today as I read Colossians 3:12.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
In Greek, the phrase “clothe yourselves” in this verse also means “put on” and more specifically, the idea of “sinking into a garment.” This is where the “comfy sweatshirt” imagery comes into play. What if we as Christ-followers saw clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience not as something we simply do because God tells us to? What if, instead, we saw it as a comfy-sweatshirt way of life? One in which we are enveloped in God’s love and grace every time we choose to slip-on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience in our daily lives. What if we saw this way of life not as obligation or duty but one of living in the warm embrace of our Savior as we love others? Being kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, and patient is easy under the right conditions. It’s easy to love the lovable. However, when we rub up against stingingly cold and difficult people, it’s a challenge. When those days come, and they will, don’t let the cold make you mean. Slip-on whatever “comfy sweatshirt” God is asking you to put on and trust him to envelope you in his grace to love well. It may be difficult to wear the “comfy sweatshirt” of kindness or compassion in certain situations, but regardless of the outcome, you still get God’s hug in the process. It’s a win-win. For Your Reflection… God’s word gives us such beautiful imagery to understand the lessons He has for us. For me, I remember my favorite sweatshirt when I’m in a situation where I need to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience. What item in your life can remind you to put on these same traits when needed?