I once mentioned to one of my friends that God helps me pick out my clothes in the morning. She said, “I wish God would do that for me–especially when it comes to socks.”
Before you think I’m a bit crazy (or shallow) for elevating what I wear every day to a status so great that God must be consulted, let me say that clothes matter very little to me. In fact, 95% of my wardrobe is comprised of “hand-me-downs” of some sort, from people who care about clothes more than I do, from friends and sisters, from second-hand stores. I spend very little time thinking about clothes (but quite a lot of time wearing them). One of the reasons I spend so little time thinking about them is that, as soon as I open my closet every morning, the choice for what I will wear that day is immediately apparent without any forethought; I see the item, and it feels “right” and off the hanger and on to me it goes. This is similar to the certainty I feel in other moments — much bigger moments, with much bigger decisions — when I feel as if God is guiding my path.
I could make an argument that what I wear is indeed a crucial decision, as it determines the message I’m projecting to the rest of the world on that day. Using this line of reasoning, it might be vitally important to my life’s path to wear a certain thing on a certain day; perhaps a parent of one of the girls I work with wouldn’t feel comfortable approaching me if I wasn’t dressed conservatively; perhaps a closeted teenager needs to see my “Gay? Fine by me,” shirt to get through the day. There are also days when I feel immensely grateful for what I happen to be wearing, days when I dressed up a bit more than usual and ended up meeting unexpectedly with someone who I’d want to have a good first impression of me, such as a potential employee. I don’t discount that little things can make a difference. But even though I can make the argument, ultimately I don’t think what I wear each day is really important enough to warrant Godly intervention.
The parental metaphor has been used often for God throughout time and culture. And one thing parenting experts say is that a parent must be receptive to their child’s conversation about “inconsequential” topics (what she saw on TV, who she played with at school) so that the child later feels comfortable bringing bigger issues to that parent. Similarly, parents are advised to allow their children to have decision-making power over small decisions that eventually grow to bigger decisions to instill a sense of independence and empowerment when the child is faced, as we all are at some point, with a big decision.
Perhaps God works the same way. Perhaps the running commentary with God over inconsequential things has prepared me to remember that God is there when I’m faced with much bigger things. Perhaps all those years of listening to God’s input on what I’ll wear each day has prepared me to recognize God’s voice when I’m making much bigger decisions, such as the one I’ve made recently to leave my full-time job to pursue freelance work full-time. It’s terrifying and sometimes I think I’m crazy for doing it, especially since I really like my full-time job. But deep within me, I feel that same “rightness,” that reassurance that I have come to recognize as God, saying, “It’s OK. You’ll be OK. I’m with you. This is right.” And in moments like this, I feel glad I’ve had so much practice responding to what I can only describe as divine suggestion.