Safe and Beautiful {The Problem with Costumes}

The problem with Halloween is not the costumes we wear. No, the problem is the costumes we wear the other 364 days of the year.

Sometimes costumes give us freedom to be whom we know ourselves to be deep down. Over the years, my go-to costume is has been Lucy of the I Love Lucy fame. I’ve got the large curls, red-haired wig, the polka-dot dress, and the white apron. Even better, my klutz quotient is off the charts. I don’t much have to try to act like Lucy, all I have to do is be myself and I will say the wrong thing at the most wrong time, being a living antonym of graceful.  Costume or not, I am Lucy.

Other costumes might give us an escape from the person we wish weren’t. When my boys were little, they would love to dress up as super heroes. It wasn’t uncommon that a visit to our house would find two small toe-haired boys dressed head to foot in borrowed strength.  Wearing the cape chased away their awareness of fear and fragility.

It’s obvious how costumes cover the real on Halloween. No wonder we’re not content to limit our hiding in them to just one calendar day a year. In them, we are safe.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” Galatians 3:26-27.

I’ve been meditating on this verse for the last week.  “…have clothed yourselves with Christ.” I keep coming back to this phrase. If I’m clothed in Christ, then the costumes must come off. And while I find this exhilarating, I also find it scary. You know, to be so exposed. There are no hiding layers underneath the clothing of Christ. He starts from the deep inside places and works His way out—so what you see is what you get.

I want the seeing what you get! I want to offer that to the others in my life and I want to find it in them.  But that ‘me’—it doesn’t seem safe and frankly, sometimes that ‘you’ doesn’t either.

So I often costume my scary self. I wear shades of shallow conversations. Shoes of quick get-a-ways and avoidance. I have a variety of hats filled with information on diverse subjects to fool you into believing I am smart. I let hip and trendy t-shirts promote my mission, so you’ll never notice that I don’t live it.  I dress myself up in all kinds of things that hide me from you, for both our sakes.

The beautiful truth of this verse is that Jesus is always safe and beautiful. If we clothe ourselves in Him, I’m safe and beautiful. You’re safe and beautiful. There isn’t any scary shadow-person lurking in the deep, dark places of who I really am, waiting for just the right provocation to pounce on you. In the shadows, it is just Jesus—safe, beautiful Jesus—shining His light, filling the inner being with His love, wisdom, and truth so that the outer man is no mere costumed figure, but a flourishing, deeply transformed expression of God’s image.

There’s really no such thing as costumed-Christian. Only wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing. True Christians don’t need to dress up…they are already dressed in Christ. So get rid of the costumes—the keeping up appearances—and allow Christ to dress you from the inside out.

Today I am sizing myself up in the full-length mirror. “Clothed in Christ.” Yes, clothed in Him and He is looking good. What will you wear today?

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