There’s a lot to love about January.
A new year. Fresh start. Renewed motivation. Crisp cold air that keeps us snuggled inside by the fire. Snow days. Clearance sales.
Wait! What was that last one?
I confess. I am a shopper. I like to buy clothing. Too much. I’ve never met a clearance sale I didn’t like. January’s one of my favorite months for that reason.
Clearance racks exude a magnetic force that draws me from the front of the store to the back, where they hide. They make me grab random marked-down garments and put them into my cart.
“Stocking up for next season!” I say to myself as I reach for a few more pieces in sizes that are “close enough” to mine.
What a bargain!
Sadly, I’m also a quantity over quality type of gal. In my mind’s economy, the bigger the wardrobe, the better. Because I find such “great” bargains, I usually justify my purchases by thinking, “Well, one regular priced shirt is $30–so, I can get all three, since they are only $8 each, and still be saving money!”
I’ve noticed something odd over my decades of cheap garment hunting. My bulk bargains have transformed my closet into its own a sort of clearance rack. I have dozens of pieces that don’t necessarily go with anything. I don’t love (or even like) many of them anymore and I usually end up giving them away after a few years of non-wear. I always accompany that last gesture with the following mental sentiment, “Oh, well. I think I only paid $8 for it anyway.”
The Anti-Clearance Rack Girl
In college, I had a friend who didn’t even know that stores had clearance racks. She shopped at the front of the store, picking out items that she liked–or needed (novel, I know)–from the racks of clothing that matched the current season. Her closet looked empty compared to mine, yet it was filled with garments that she loved, that looked good on her, and were of high quality. She never complained about not having anything to wear. She liked the selection of clothing she had, even though it looked bare to me.
Today as I sifted through my closet of dozens of inexpensive shirts (that don’t look nearly as cute as they did when I first put them in my cart), God revealed something to me about my clearance rack habit. It relates to my struggle to understand my value.
The crux: I have wrestled to feel like I’m good enough to buy the nice clothing from the front of the store for my body. Wearing bargain clothing suited me better. I hoped my body would change anyway, so why invest a lot of money in a size that I prayed I wouldn’t wear for very long?
Clearance rack clothing is all my clearance rack body needed.
Someday, maybe someday. (Hopefully someday!) I would have a body worthy of the dress on that store window mannequin.
But when you battle your body image, that day never comes. Body image battles have very little to do with one’s actual physical form.
Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not against a good sale. There’s no reason to pay anywhere close to full price, ever! So if you can find what you love with a red sticker on that price tag, Hooray!
But, if your issue is a little deeper like mine—if you wrestle with a clearance rack mentality related to your body image—here are three reasons that, I hope, will change your perspective on your value.
Reason One: God has a great purpose for your life, and he created your body with that purpose in mind. Maybe God didn’t give you the body of a Victoria’s Secret model–but that’s okay. It’s likely he didn’t have modeling in mind for your purpose here on this earth. He didn’t have that in mind for me either! It’s only our culture that says we have to be built in a certain way to have value. Each of us has been given the gifts we need –physical attributes included — to do exactly what God has called us to do. You can clothe your body with whatever garments you choose, but don’t choose inferior ones simply because you don’t think your body deserves it. Size twenty or size two, God still has a purpose for you.
Reason Two: Robes of righteousness aren’t clearance rejects. Did you know that there are several verses in the Bible about what we wear? One in Matthew six reminds us not to worry about what we’ll wear—God clothes the fields well so he’ll also take care of us. I especially like the verses that talk about God putting on us robes of righteousness. After we’ve asked him to forgive and cleanse us of our sins, he covers all of our shame and our guilt with his garments–sometimes these garments are illustrated as wedding apparel even. Hmmm . . .
My wedding dress is one thing I didn’t buy on a clearance rack. I bet there’s a truth hidden in there. As a daughter of the King, perhaps it is okay to believe that I’m valuable enough to wear nice clothing. Not that I have to wear the top brands or spend way too much to have the right label on my jacket, rather that it’s okay for me to dress nicely in a way that compliments my body, even if it’s not the size or shape I want it to be.
Reason Three: Jesus Paid Full Price for You. Four years ago at an outlet store I paid full price for a black jumpsuit. I had always wanted one and I loved the way this one fit, so I bought it. The truth is, out of the mess of clothing hanging in my closet, this one black jumpsuit has been worn more than any other. I wonder if I value it more because of the price I paid for it?
This reminds me of just how valuable I am, and you are, to him because of the price he paid for us. Jesus paid full price for us. That should be the only reminder I need to know my value far exceeds the clearance rack.