The last few weeks I’ve been talking to women who are serious about ditching their “funeral suits.”
Oh, they looked like they were just drinking coffee and catching up, and I’ve had a blast meeting with them at homes and cafes. But what they’ve really been doing is digging into what God has to say about becoming new women with new clothes. Through intentional Bible study using my book as a guide, they’ve been exchanging old habits and hang-ups (those “funeral suits” I mentioned) for life-giving ways of relating to God and other people. They’ve laughed over a few crazy metaphors I wrote, but they’ve also internalized the truth behind them. To you amazing people, I want to say this:
You’re the real deal. You aren’t just playing dress-up. You’re putting on love and stepping out with courage into messy situations and hard things, and I’m cheering for you because what you’re learning about God and His Word will help you change your world.
For those I’ve gotten to meet, you’ve heard me say that the “little pink and green book” is just a tool for your tool kit, meant first to be useful to you but then to be a practical help as you encourage others. I can’t wait to hear how you get out there and live what you’re learning!
For those who don’t know much about New Woman, New Clothes, below is an excerpt from Chapter 1, “The Funeral Suit.” May it bless you and spur you on to learn what it means to deep-six your own funeral suits.
I have a confession.
I’m not sure if you’re like me, but somewhere in the back of my closet is a black suit that I know doesn’t even fit. But I’ve rationalized keeping it, saying at least I know it’s there in case I need it for one of those suitably sober occasions. I call it the funeral suit. Kind of makes me want to listen to quiet organ music and speak in a whisper when I see it back there.
What’s interesting about this particular black suit is that it comes from a very different time in my life. When I bought it, I was doing high-tech marketing for a Fortune 500 firm. That outfit had a different name back then: Power Pantsuit. I loved that thing! It made me feel confident and competent. It fit well and made me feel like a million bucks with my cute little heels and a pretty blouse. That’s what good clothes can do, can’t they? And it traveled well, coming out of a suitcase with hardly a wrinkle, so it was quite practical for my job. Back then.
But later, job changes and children coming into the mix sent me into a completely different wardrobe, and that black suit would only come out for things like classical concerts or fundraising banquets. Eventually, it didn’t even come out for things like that as it began to go out of style and not fit quite so well. It got relegated to the position of the funeral suit, that one black suit that might be useful. Maybe. If I had it let out and found the right scarf.
I did manage to squeeze myself into it a few years ago and it fit…barely. The hook and eye closure on the side embedded itself into my hip, and believe me, I had on some serious shape-smoothing undergarments as I wriggled into those pants. So why do I hold onto it, this pantsuit of days gone by? My guess is because for me it still represents something about power and confidence—and maybe wrinkle-freeness? But hanging there in my closet, it is giving me none of that, is it?
And here’s a good question: even if I could make that suit fit great again, even if it became all the rage again style-wise, would it fit the life I have now? Or would it still be a remnant of an old life and highly impractical for what I do every day?
It’s the same thing with our spiritual life, and nowhere does this become more apparent than with our relationships. Often, we recycle old ways of relating to others, and we find our methods just don’t work.
I want you to think about an important relationship in your life. Maybe a marriage or parent-child relationship. Maybe a friendship. Maybe an employee connection. Think about moments that you’ve had or maybe that you’re in the midst of right now where somehow the way things are working is just NOT working at all. Things may have been so good once. But something changed, and now you can’t figure out how to make things go back to being peaceful or fulfilling or just plain old good. It’s like you showed up in your funeral suit to a backyard barbecue—something is awkward and doesn’t fit.
But here’s the good news: God has provided a whole new set of spiritual garments that let us get down to the business of building relationships instead of tearing them down, of healing wounds, of letting things go forward instead of stagnating and dying. More than that, though, these garments let you be who you really are: no more hiding and hating the unique person God has created you to be.
You have the most perfect, well-fitted, wrinkle-free outfits hanging in your spiritual closet just waiting for you to take them from the hanger and put them on. They travel great, and they can even handle stormy weather. Paul describes them like this:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Knowing that God’s word says I have full access to supernatural compassion, patience, forgiveness, and especially love means I can have the courage to face even the toughest relationship issues. Knowing that God’s word also says this is about clothing the entire body of Christ, not just individuals, means I don’t have to face those issues alone. We get to do this together, outfitted head-to-toe in gracious, godly attitudes that can change the world around us.
Excerpt from Cassia Glass, New Woman, New Clothes: Outfit Your Soul to Live, Lead, Love (2017), available in paperback and Kindle eBook from Amazon.com