This week’s wittily named post is written by LifePoint Band member Heather Gilion. Heather and her husband Dallas have been serving in the musical worship ministry at LifePoint since its beginning in 2004. They have two awesome kiddos and live here in Ozark. Heather has also co-authored the book Dancing on My Ashes: Learning to Love the One Who Gives And Takes Away with her sister Holly. She and Holly blog regularly at dancingonmyashes.com
I had my airline ticket in hand, and bags packed neatly. I may have looked like I had it together, but the moment when I pulled off my boots EVERYONE knew the truth. I always forget to wear good socks when I’m flying. It’s one of those things I don’t think about until I’m at the conveyor belt chucking all my belongings into those plastic bins. Then I reach for my boots. “Oh shoot, Heather! You’re wearing your Christmas socks!” (And yes, I talk to myself. Don’t you?) These uglies were never meant to see the light of day, with stretched out reindeer, whites that aren’t white anymore, and an almost completely worn out heal. They were supposed to remain my invisible boot socks! (These things are probably a decade old, people! I need a sock intervention.)
Up until that point I may have “looked” like I had it together, but in reality… it was a façade. Right there among strangers, I was exposed. This time around I got extra attention when a security guard called attention to them, “Sweetheart, you do know that Christmas is over.” Now I’m seriously contemplating which would be grosser: walk barefoot around where thousands of other people do or just endure my walk of shame. “Thanks, security guy, now that you’ve called attention to my stretchy reindeer, others that had been busy with tasks like NOT noticing my socks, are taking notice.” Nice. I thought maybe this time I’d get lucky. Negative.
I know what you’re thinking; nobody really cares about my socks. You may be right. The fact is, in that moment, I was probably not the only one sporting ugly socks. Honestly, if I think about it, I hadn’t even checked out what my neighbors were sporting because I was too consumed with my own uglies. So after security went through my bags (and they almost always do, I assume, to look for more ugly socks) I got to slip my boots back on and head off to pretend again that I have it together.
That moment made me think about church. If I can use my reindeer socks as an analogy, we come into church looking “put together.” We fear moments of anything less than perfect. What if they see my… “socks” (a.k.a. what’s underneath?) What if they notice I don’t have it all together? What if others see what a mess I’ve been this week—what a mess I’ve made of things this week? We assume that others aren’t wearing “ugly socks” and we start believing we have to put on a front. We have to wear a smile, we’re Christians for Pete’s sake! We put an impossible weight upon our shoulders—we must be picture perfect.
But the freeing truth is, we are all wearing ugly socks. No one is perfect, or has it all together, or is free from messing up their week. We all come into church with some sort of ugly, but the beauty and freedom lies within the exchange.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10 ESV)
When we come to know Christ, He gives us amazing clothes in exchange for our old ones: garments of salvation and robes of righteousness. We get to trade in our ugly socks! His rescue of our soul becomes the very clothing we are wearing. And God Himself, no longer sees us, He sees Jesus, His Son. God looks at us and sees His righteousness draping over our shoulders like a blanket—covering our mess, our shortcomings, our faults, and even our shame. He exchanges the hopelessness we feel when we don’t measure up, the anguish we carry on our backs when we focus on our imperfections, the dejection we place on our heads when we assume everyone else sees our messed up life. Jesus has come with good news, “I’ll take your spirit of despair and I’ll give you in return a garment of praise.” (based on Isa. 61: 3) And our response? “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God…”
We praise Him! We sing. We worship. We lift up His name. We enter into the house of God with such anticipation of joining with others who are covered in these same robes and we join together with one voice—thankful for such grace!
No need to look to the right or left, comparing our socks, wondering if our ugly is better than someone else’s ugly. There is no fear we are going to be found out. In freedom we rejoice that we are ALL in desperate need of this Savior to clothe us.
Sometimes we may struggle when we take off our boots and our ugly is revealed… but as the body of Christ we are not in competition, we are in communion. We are ONE. Be at peace, friends. Nobody is looking at your socks. Let us gather to stop looking down and start looking up, setting our gaze on Jesus. And when we do, our only right response is praise to the One who sees us just as we are and loves us just the same.
Come to His house, wearing proudly His garment of praise. His robes of righteousness. His garments of salvation. Open up your mouth and love on your King that is worthy of our praise! So this Sunday, set your mind and heart on things above! Sing of what our King wore in our place:
Behold our King victorious
A Crown of thorns upon His brow
His broken body glorious
His love for sinners pouring out
Oh King, awesome in power
Worthy forever; lifted above
Oh King, glorious in wonder
Beautiful forever with scars of love
Here’s the list of songs we’ll be singing this Sunday. Use these songs to prepare your hearts as you come.
Call to Worship: Psalm 111:1-3
Confession & Assurance: 1 John 1:8-9
All Glory (*no link available)
Benediction: Numbers 6:24-26