This is my "AFTER" photo.
Unfortunately, I'm still very much in the "BEFORE" phase, and I know ain't nobody wanna see that photo, so I borrowed this one!
But I have a secret weapon in getting in shape:
Every day I'm able, I wear workout clothes. The tank top and yoga pants remind me of who I am: A girl on her way to getting in better shape. And just that one simple thing reminds me to be a bit more active, less sedentary. I'm more mindful of what I eat throughout the day, simply because of what I'm wearing. I'm dressed for the part. And it's working--I'm actually even down a few pounds!
I feel like I'm in another "BEFORE" phase, but longing to be an "AFTER." I want to be a picture of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And Colossians 3:12 says to clothes ourselves with these very things--to dress the part, so to speak.
But I think we're called to dress the part before we've really got all those things in perfect order. Perhaps we're to get up every morning and put these things on, even if we feel stuck in a "BEFORE" phase with a long, long way to go. Because when we clothe ourselves with those things, they remind us of who we are: The sons and daughters of God who want these things to be the mark of our lives.
COMPASSION. Checking apathy at the door. No more refusing to be unmoved when others are hurting or doing without. It means setting aside judgment and simply loving on people in need--emotional need, relational need, financial need.
KINDNESS. You don't GET to be rude to the checkout clerk or the sound guy, your friends, or even your spouse, with whom you're the most "real." It means being considerate -- considering others just as you consider your own needs. I love the saying "A person who is not nice to the waitress is not really a nice person" because I think there's actually a lot of truth in this. Kindness is kindness across the board.
HUMILITY. Someone else gets to go first, have the spotlight, even be right. It definitely means apologizing when we've been out of line. And not simply regretting it, but making it right with an "I'm sorry."
GENTLENESS. When something needs to be dealt with, responded to, or reacted to, there is nothing for us but to do so in gentleness. Our approach has got to be drenched in grace and understanding.
PATIENCE. It means that whole Hurry*Hurry*Hurry thing has GOT to stop. A demanding attitude--whether toward our spouses, children, or even God--should have no place with us. Understanding must be the mark of our lives, knowing that others have to exhibit patience with us, too.
To be honest, I don't really care if I never look just like that picture above as long as I'm healthy and in good shape. But it matters a whole heck of a lot to me about living out this picture in Colossians 3:12--even though I have a long way to go.
So which of these jumped out as your weak spot? Mine is patience, specifically in regards to being patient with my children. I don't always show the grace they need me to show them. But oh, how badly I want to grow in patience with my son and my daughter whom God has entrusted to me.
If we want the Colossians 3:12 "AFTER" picture, we need to dress for the part--but it'll be totally worth it.
Because it looks a whole lot like Christ.