I really don’t like dressing up

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As a kid, I used to hate dress up days. In fact, I remember in vivid detail one day when I was in Grade 2 and we were supposed to be having a dress up day at school, but we woke up in the morning to deep snow – which was highly unusual at our place.

We lived near a windy road that went up a mountain, and the police had closed the road from the nearby town of Kinglake, to a few hundred metres past our driveway meaning that we couldn’t get the cars out and couldn’t go to school.

It was awesome not having to go to school that day so we could play in the snow at home, but I remember it being distinctly more awesome because I had managed to dodge the dress up day and didn’t need to wear a costume to school.

My kids, on the other hand, really enjoy dressing up.

One day on the last school holidays we spent the whole day trying out different star wars and Mandalorian inspired hairstyles – mostly because my eldest daughter is a bit of a star wars fanatic, but they both get a thrill from dressing up as someone they admire or copying the hairstyles of their heroes.

Kids aren’t the only ones who like to dress up – whether for fun, or to fit in with a group.

I remember going for a second interview for a graduate engineering position with a very large company in Melbourne when I was in my final year of my bachelors degree.

I had made it through the first round of the process, which involved a 2 hour interview with a recruitment firm and this next round was actually a full day of hanging around their corporate offices with a few other prospective graduates, spending time with engineers from different parts of the organization to see what sort of work they were doing and get a feel for which division we would prefer to end up in if they were to offer us a position.

Well, from the second I walked into the lobby’s atrium rainforest, through the glass doors which were all gold embossed with the organisation’s logo I knew that this was the sort of place where you needed to be a snappy dresser to fit in.

As I followed the group of prospective employees into the lift I told myself, sure, their reception is flash, but I bet the offices upstairs where all the work gets done are far less formal.

For the rest of the day, as we rotated through the different departments, I was amazed.

This was the sort of office where high heels and fitted skirts were the norm for the women who worked there – or rather the expectation.

All of the men were wearing expensive suits with cuff links.

Every floor had gold embossed logos, and while the people we spent time with were – on the whole – quite friendly, there was a formality to everything that for me, made it an uncomfortable place to be.

I knew from my vacation placement that I loved the informality of mine sites, and was more than comfortable in steel capped boots and workwear.

Sure, if this company had offered me a position I could’ve got myself a new wardrobe – but it still didn’t feel right – and I doubted that I would be able to do my best work if I felt like I wasn’t comfortable – so the next day I rang them, thanked them for considering me, and asked to be removed from the process.

My kids like dressing up like their heroes, it’s almost an attempt to spend time ‘in their shoes’ and the people in the head office where my interview was seemed happy enough to be dressed to fit in with organizational culture.

We wear the player numbers of our sporting heroes as we support our teams and we copy the hair styles and clothing worn by celebrities.

So dressing up like our heroes is great fun – but I certainly didn’t want to dress up to fit the culture of the company I interviewed for – so what was the difference?

I guess on some level, I felt like the cultural fit of that company wasn’t going to be healthy for me – so I was totally lacking in motivation to even bother trying.

It was exactly the same for my dress up day way back in Grade 2 – I had zero motivation to dress up. That’s because we only imitate people we admire.

Believe it or not, there are a few different passages in the bible that encourage us to imitate others.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1 says to be imitators of him, as he in turn imitates Christ. 3 John 1:11 warns us “do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God, the one who does evil has not seen God.”

So imitation itself is not a problem, but we need to make sure that the focus of our imitation is the focus for the right reasons.

I encourage you to spend a few moments thinking about who you been imitating lately

Who have you been admiring and why?

Remember that we don’t just imitate people when we dress up like them.

We imitate them when we follow them, when we do the same things as them, for the same reasons.

Do the choices you’ve been making show that you are imitating the things of this world?

Or are you imitating mature followers of Jesus?

Are you imitating Jesus himself?

Are you imitating what is good?

Are you stepping into the ways of the kingdom?

Until next time, blue skies!

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