I got off the phone with my mom a short while ago. I felt led to call her and share with her the contentment that I found in the Lord. My testimony left her in tears as she was on her way driving to work. She got off the phone praising God for what he had done in my life.
I shared with her how before I became a Christian, I was so caught up in the world. I wanted to be validated by people and I was seeking to win man’s approval. When I was in middle school, I didn’t have to fight so much to fit in, because everyone was assigned to uniform (khaki Dickies and navy blue polo shirts), but in high school, that’s when the door creaked open for individualism and personality. And so the rivalry began.
In high school, everyone wanted to stand out and make a name for themselves — so they dressed with unique “swag.” I, on the other hand, would always get talked about because I used to wear “fake shoes,” that is, shoes that looked name brand but were imitations. I didn’t have a job at the time and my mom couldn’t afford to buy me the authentic $79 Nikes and $129 J’s, so I settled for imitation Nikes and J’s. I used to always tell people that it doesn’t matter what I am wearing. Shoes are just for my feet. But they insulted me anyways, saying I need to wear name brand because wearing imitation shoes would get me “roasted,” or picked on. The only name brand shoes I owned were Adidas and Reebok, but I was told that these shoes were out of style and to never wear them again because I was only embarrassing myself by doing so.
I hated being picked on, but because I couldn’t do anything about it, I took my anger out on my mom and began to hate her. It was her fault that I had imitation and out of style shoes. She was the one who said I should shop at the flea market because I can get two pair of shoes for just $25. It was her fault that these kids were picking on me. I began to grow ungrateful and discontent for everything that she did for me. Nothing she did was good enough. Nothing she did was enough to satisfy me because it wasn’t enough to satisfy my friends.
When I got into college though, things began to change. There was this girl who stayed in the dorms with me and she was a fashion fanatic. She lived in the mall. She knew exactly where to shop and when to catch a sale. She even knew how to find coupon codes for online shopping. She shopped until she dropped, and oftentimes, until she was broke. She shopped when she was happy, angry and depressed. And when I met her, her spirit of vanity transferred over to me.
“Why do you dress like that, Davon,” she would ask.” “I don’t care about my clothes or how I dress,” I told her. And even though I really didn’t care, the more she made me feel bad about my dress code, the more I was beginning to care. “You need to step your game up sweetie. You’re in college now. I’m going to need you to update your attire. It’s time for a new look. I’m going to take you shopping.”
This girl would take me shopping every chance she could get. She took me to every major mall in our area and taught me how to color coordinate and how to bribe the store clerks to get a good discount. She filled my closet up with Aeropostale, American Eagle, Urban Outfitters and Fox Head. She took me to Marshalls to find a deal there. Then she took me online to Finishline.com and taught me how to shop for name brand shoes for a good price. My closet was stocked up with Nike, Air Force Ones and Converse of all colors, both high top and low top. I owned a couple Sean Jean and Polo shirts, Levi’s and some jeans from Macy’s. Then she began to seduce me into spending my money on her and buying her clothes and accessories. On top of that, I found a job at the mall at a place called Ruehl No.925, an upscale American lifestyle brand store, owned by Abercrombie & Fitch Co. I couldn’t wait to get paid on Fridays! I didn’t love the money. I just loved the things that money could buy me. I was soon “branded” by my job and would spend all the money they paid me on clothes from their store. I idolized all of my clothes and shoes, and I didn’t want anyone to borrow them. They belonged to me, and only me.
I wanted to look good. I wanted to show off. I wanted everyone to see how nicely I dressed. I wanted compliments and stares. I wanted attention. I wanted validation. I wanted approval. I grew so vain and conceited. And vanity and conceit soon turned into pride, because I began to look down upon and laugh at others who didn’t dress with name brand clothes. And just like my friend, I began to shop when I was happy, angry or depressed. It was one of the few ways I tried to cope with myself. Clothes seemed to be the only thing that I found love in. I was addicted. But deep down inside, I was still broken, empty and lost. I loved clothes, but clothes were incapable of loving me back. I was wearing clothes that had other people’s names on them, but I didn’t have an identity of my own.
But once I found God, I realized that I didn’t need all these clothes. Name brand clothes can’t deliver me from my heavy burdens in life, they just cover them up, if anything. And if people can’t love, respect or support me when I am wearing generic brand clothes, then they aren’t my real friends. Christian rapper, Lecrae, helped me to see the bigger picture. He said it best in a song:
“I’m not the shoes I wear. I’m not the clothes I buy. I’m not the house I live in. I’m not the car I drive, no. I’m not the job I work. You can’t define my worth by nothing on God’s green earth. My identity in found in Christ, it’s found in Christ.”
My mom used to always tell me, “Davon, you can’t live your life trying to please people.” “Count your blessings, son.” “Be thankful for what you have, because some people don’t have that.” And also, “You brought nothing into this world, and you can take nothing out when you die.”
Proverbs 1:8 says, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
When I realized this, I got my deliverance. Shopping for name brand clothes literally broke my pockets. And although these clothes look fashionable and have good quality, you’re not really paying for the style, you’re paying for the name. But when I became a Christian, I didn’t want to pay for anyone else’s name except for Jesus Christ. I don’t want to support this world and it’s system of things. Style and fashion changes with every season. And what’s in now will not be in tomorrow. You will be going in circles and will stress yourself out trying to keep up with the latest fashion. I stepped off the band wagon.
God made me an original, and I refuse to allow the world to turn me into a copy. I am a leader, not a follower. I threw away a lot of my clothes that had carnal and perverse logos and designs on them, and I gave away over half of my closet full of clothes and shoes to my Haitian friends so they can ship them over to their family in Haiti who really needs them. I didn’t even wear half of those clothes anyways.
(This is a confirmation, because God showed me a dream a few months ago of me taking the clothes off my back and giving them away to someone who was asking me for them.)
Now, I don’t care about clothes anymore. I really don’t. I haven’t shopped for a new pair of shoes in over a year. I brought a pair of jeans the other day though, only because I needed them. I’m content with what I have and I take care of what I have so my possessions can last longer.
My mom was glad to hear that her only son, who she could never seem to please, is now finally content with his relationship with God.
Name brand clothes, necklaces, watches, rings and etc., injected pride into my veins and it robbed me of every ounce of humility I ever had. But now, my closet is just full of Christian T’s from C28.com and testimonial T-shirts from P4CM. I got my humility back because I clothed myself with Christ. I don’t want to wear the world anymore. I only want to wear Jesus Christ. I am an EX-Idolater
(Proverbs 13:7 , Matthew 6:19-34, Matthew 16:26, Matthew 19:16-24, Luke 12:13-34, Acts 4:32-37, Philippians 3:7-9, Philippians 4:11-12, Galatians 1:10, 1 John 2:15-17)