The Costumes We Wear
I love trick or treating with my kids. It’s heart-warming to see how proud they are of themselves… proud of how they look and “who they are”. On this one day each year, not only are they allowed to dress up as anyone they want, but they are encouraged to do so. People all around them – even total strangers – pay them compliments, play into their make-believe worlds, and affirm how “cool” or “scary” or “pretty” they are.
I doubt that there is any child that loves being in costume more than my 6-year old, Will. Every day, not just on Halloween, he goes into character for at least a little while. When he dresses up like a pirate, he IS a pirate. When he dresses up like a spy, he IS a spy. My least favorite character (I’ve got the bruises on my legs to prove it) is when he BECOMES a ninja! But my favorite is his fire-fighter costume that he likes to wear to Target. When he has it on, he minds his manners and walks upright with his chin held high. Inevitably, someone comments on how “brave” or how “big” he is, and I can spot the big grin he’s trying to hide tightly under the surface of his cheeks. It makes me smile. And just yesterday on Halloween, he was an Air Force Pilot. As we walked around the neighborhood, he held my hand and said, “my favorite colors are red, white, and blue because they’re America’s colors, and I love America.” In his mind, he WAS serving his country, even though all he was actually doing was getting free candy.
Even though his imaginary worlds aren’t real to us, they are quite real to him. He uses his imagination to explore the world and to help discover his identity. As he absorbs the reactions of those around him, he begins to understand how “who he becomes” changes how he feels.
And I wonder – am I so different?
What costumes have I been wearing? Have I been dressing up just to gain approval from others or because I have a mission? Do I work hard to prove my worth or because I believe in a cause? Do I build a bigger home to show my financial success or because my family really does need the space? Do I buy a nicer car just to fit in and feel “cool,” or because it serves my life?
Am I more concerned with who I am or who I appear to be?
What about you? It’s a question worth considering. In this social media society, it’s easy to get sucked into buying things and ‘becoming’ things just to forward the guise of who we appear to be.
So, as you peruse Pinterest and Houzz, or watch Fixer Upper dreaming of your next home, ask yourself this question: “am I trying to impress other people, or am I trying to speak life into myself and my family?” The answer to this question may alter your vision – because only one of them brings lasting satisfaction. Some practical questions to think on are:
- After paying for this home, will I still have money to enjoy other things in life and to help other people?
- After working for this, will I have time to serve my community and spend time with my friends and family?
- Will this floorplan bring our family closer together or create more distance between us?
- Am I choosing this plan because it fits my stuff, or because it fits my life?
- Do I want a particular style because it is trendy, or because it is what makes me happy?
- Do I want those nicer appliances because they are a certain brand name or because I really do cook like a gourmet chef?
- Does this house feel like home?
I urge you to create a practical, timeless home that gives you comfort at the end of the day, not clout. Create a home that exhibits your personality. Plan a home that serves your needs well, so that you can serve others well. Ask yourself, “am I here to love and serve others, or am I just in it for the candy?”