Letting Go of the Matchy Matchy

7:43 AMHeather

So here's the deal.

I grew up all matchy matchy. My mother, the only girl with three younger brothers, rather enjoyed dressing my older sister and me in matching outfits. Like we were twins, born three years apart.

Exhibit A:

I do believe she's trying to strangle me. Passive aggressive--it's what siblings do. 

OH, HOW CUTE, you say? Such sweet Easter dresses with the little bunny booties.


Apparently, I was a hoochie mama at age 4. Because that dress is NOT fingertip length and I would for sure be sent home if I wore that to school.

Further proof of questionable clothing choices...

...A precious photo for posterity of four generations all together. And two little girls wearing midriff tops and hot pants?

Not to worry. Modesty did finally hit the 70's clothing trends for girls.

To the floor! Showing no leg here...(This was the Christmas we got MATCHING big huge black digital watches to complete our feminine look).

Precious! More floor length dresses...

And, I sum it all up with my all time favorite.

The orange, floral polyester moo moo's. 

We did actually live in Hawaii then. So the moo moo thing was sorta acceptable. It's what we do in the tropics.

Oh, yes. We children of the 70's knew how to make a statement.

I'll let you in on a little secret.

When you are the younger of the dynamic duo, here's what happens. You get hand-me-downs. So I actually sported this orange polyester look for approximately all of elementary school. A dress to match and then a spare to wear when older sister outgrew hers.

I must be quick to jump to my mom's defense--because I, too, am guilty of dressing my children to match in their younger years. It's cute. It's just so presh. Not as easily pulled off with two little boys, but with much angst and lots of shopping hours, I usually scored cute plaid overalls or at long last, I had to learn to be content with matching polo shirts once they got bigger and a baby sister arrived. Matching colors was about as good as it gets when you have boys AND girls.

It was a major milestone that nearly broke my heart when the boys said enough already. 

Then, I remembered all the photographic evidence above.

Okay, okay. I give.

So obviously, I've proven my point about my matchy matchiness. I lived in a land of matching and categories and black and white. My maternal grandmother was a proper Southern Granny, and she meticulously spent hours on Saturday nights changing out her purses. Because her shoes for church HAD to match her purse, as well as her clip-on earrings and her big beaded necklaces. 

You wore black accessories or brown accessories. Neither the two shall meet. And you never, ever, ever--for the love of proper etiquette--wore white before Easter or after Labor Day.

Matchy, matchy, matchy.

I also grew up matching people in neat little categories. Good Christian people do this, but not that. And those people over there...well, God bless them. They just fit over there in that category. So you do the proper Southern thing and say, "Bless their hearts. They don't have it as together as I do. They really need Jesus." Then you straighten out your little red necklace, grab your red purse, and walk straight into church in your red shoes. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and sometimes even on Wednesday night.

Neat and nice and orderly.

Except for one thing. Except that the older I got, the more gray I saw. The more I realized how unneat the world is. How untidy life can be. And how short sighted my Matchy McMatcherson viewpoint was. I was missing a lot out there. Because things are really not that cut and dry.

And heavens to Betsy, I've learned how very messy life is. I've begun to see how very much Jesus lived in the "gray" during his time on earth. He, in fact, left a perfectly pure and orderly Heaven in order to become a baby whose messy diapers had to be changed by a human teenage girl. He walked dirty roads and marched himself straight into the biggest messes he found.  

He cast out demons into pigs of the crazy wild man whose chains couldn't contain him. He talked with the "less than" Samaritan woman at the well. He dined with tax collectors and prostitutes and the religious self-righteous Pharisees who loved their matchy matchy world of rules and regulations. He healed the woman who had bled for twelve long years and went into the rooms of the dying and sick. He touched the lepers hands and healed the blind. He sought out the broken and the marginalized and the needy. He got in the middle of messy storms and calmed them with his word. He told a story of a loving father who welcomed home a son, caked in the mud and muck of a pig sty.

Jesus loved the messy. And everything he did and said and taught turned the matchy matchy laws and regulations of religion on its head.

Because his ministry said there's so much gray. And grace is required. Grace, not rules. Grace is the approach to embrace all the gray.To embrace all the people. Who are all messy. But he loved them anyway.

And so, I'm learning. I'm learning to think in gray instead of black and white. I'm learning to major on grace and minor on rules. I'm learning to let go of the matchy matchy.

I've even worn brown boots with black jeans. 

Listen, in my Granny's world, that is a sign of serious rebellion. So, yes. Yes, in fact. I think I'm a rebel. A little anyway.

Because I've also worn white. Before Easter and AFTER Labor Day. I live in Texas, after all. Where it's summer 10 months of the year. Although that never swayed my Granny from her strict white-clothing rules. 

I don't match my jewelry to my shoes anymore. I even mix the metals on my bracelets and earrings and necklaces. Gold and silver TOGETHER. 

I know. I'm a wild and crazy girl.

And I'm learning to embrace the mess. I'm learning that it's okay to admit I'm a mess. Because we all are.

And God is well aware.

That's why he sent his son to enter our mess. To take on our flesh. To pour out grace on all the gray. And cover the matchy matchy and the messes all alike. 

I love the lyrics of Amy Grant's song, Better Than a Hallelujah:

We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

That is indeed, the good news of the gospel. That God saw our mess. He chose to enter our mess and he poured out grace to cover it. So we can quit hiding it and feeling the need to be all matchy matchy.

We can just pour out our miseries in the safety of His love. We can be honest with him. And honest with each other. 

The gospel says we can rip off our masks. We can trade out our perfect matchy clothes--orange polyester or not--and we can put on his robes of righteousness.

So let's stop the twinning masquerade.

Let's embrace the messiness of life and find the beauty of a Savior that loved us to death right in the middle of it all.

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