“The Blingy Pastor”
It was a Monday I will never forget. My husband wanted to take me shopping. That right there made it a worth while day. I had no idea that a simple encounter would turn my world upside down. It was profound.
So we walk into this new denim store. I saw a pair of jeans that made me sing on the inside. I think my husband could tell because of the number of passes I made by them. I kept circling around the store and came back to pick up these glorious jeans! I touched them and felt the crystals all over the pockets. Crystals were not only on the front pockets but the back pockets too! And…..did I mention the big, fat, white stitching that these jeans were trimmed in? Oh beautiful!
So when my husband asked me to try them on and I said no, he was perplexed. He asked me several times to which I would keep answering, “No, I can’t”. Finally, he asked me to try them on for him and I agreed but insisted that no matter how good they looked, I was not going to get them. I saw him scratching his head at my comment but I just went in to try the jeans on, as he requested and with no explanation of my remark.
I came out and he asked if I liked them. Well of course I did, they were glorious! But…I was not going to buy them. Finally he said, “Penny, what is the deal? What is wrong with you?” My delayed response was, ” I can’t get them because I am a pastor’s wife and people might judge me for being too “blingy”! That’s why! I don’t want any flack for it and if I wear these jeans I will get flack!”
Just then the store clerk said, “You are Troy and Penny Maxwell and you pastor Freedom House, right?” Aww man, he heard me, BUSTED! He heard me say that and I’m feeling quite vulnerable now! I didn’t know he was listening! He went on to say, “I send people to your church all the time because you guys are hip and you are just so real. Don’t stop being that because someone else might not like it. Not a week goes by where I don’t tell someone that they need to check out Freedom House and I tell them they won’t believe the pastors! Some people might give you some flack but most of us are like, finally, real pastors!”
What does a girl say after that? After being lovingly rebuked by a 20-something year old store clerk? I took a big gulp because I knew what he said was the truth. My husband chimed in with, “He’s right, when you stop being you so someone else can be happy with who they are, then we got a problem.” Ouch, that hurt too but in a loving way.
You see, when I think back to my childhood, I was the 5-year old girl running around the house with the hot pink boa and the high heel shoes. I was the girl at 10 that was doing makeovers on people and styling their hair. In high school every job I had was working with clothing, make up, and really anything fashion related. I was the college student majoring in fashion design and trying to get a job as a buyer. Anything and everything that was bright, cheery and fun is where my eye would go. It totally matches my personality. Give me hot pink over neutral tones any day of the week! 🙂
So, why do I try to dumb down who I am because I happen to be a pastor/pastor’s wife? It is beyond me! Whatever role you put me in, whether it is a fashion buyer or a pastor, who I am is going to come through. No, everyone may not like that. But God made me who he made me and I’d better be ok with it. But… I am not always and I am working on that. My husband let me know that I have given a few insignificant voices more power than I should. Actually, when he reminded me of who the voices were, I felt foolish because they were not voices that mattered in the first place.
So what am I saying? I realized I was letting someone else (and I hate to admit that) have power they should not have in my life. The thing that is the most bizarre is that the voices that rise up and say uncalled things that like, are usually from very insecure people who need everyone to be like them so they can feel good about themselves. I actually think it is cool God made us all different. How boring this world would be if all our personalities were the same, if we all dressed the same, if we all looked the same. In other words, I was letting someone else’s insecurity become my insecurity. I am glad that my husband and a 20-something store clerk did not let me get away with my erroneous thinking.
So did I get the jeans? NO! Honestly, I was so much like a deer in headlights after that encounter, I had to just process everything. I am still processing it all to be honest. It was a powerful moment for me.
So your conforming may not be because you left the sparkly jeans at the store but I think many of us change who we are, maybe even in small ways, to make other people more comfortable. I mean hey, if what you are doing is sin, by all means change. But, if it is dumbing down who you are because they have issues, that is so not cool! Just ask my husband and the 20-something year old store clerk at the denim store! They will set you straight, too!