All of us have probably had one before, a hat, shirt, a pair of shoes, or some other piece of clothing that was sufficiently worn. We had taken a good, long time to get it to the state that it was at and we wouldn’t relinquish it any time soon.
You know what I’m talking about. Remember that pair of shoes that you wanted so badly and when you first put them on, you wondered whether you could break them? Those first few days or weeks were painful. As much as you liked the shoes, there was something to be said about taking them off at the end of the day. But slowly, you began to feel the difference as the leather gave way to the form of your feet. As your feet pushed against the leather, the leather didn’t push back with such force, it began to form to your feet.
Finally, perfection was achieved. The shoes were sufficiently worn. In some ways, it was as if they became a part of you. They were no longer two, feet and shoes, but they seemed to work together as one. How much more could they accomplish together? There was no fighting or painful digging, there was just collaboration.
Maybe it wasn’t shoes. Maybe it was a hat. You know, the hat that’s been through everything. The sweat stain is so pronounced that you couldn’t get it out with the most aggressive laundry detergent. But you wouldn’t trade that hat for the world. Just like the shoes, it became a part of you.
Becoming worn is a process. There’s a give and take on the part of what is being worn and the wearer. One has to endure, one has to give in. They both have to meet somewhere in the middle and hopefully, in their design, they have come to the reality that compromise is necessary in order to come to a place of usefulness. If there is no compromise, it’s all about everyone else conforming to rather than meeting in between.
I often wonder how many of us act as if we are made up of inflexible material, not changing anything, but asking those who “try us on” to change their ways to us. We refuse to allow ourselves to be formed instead trying to force whatever is “putting us on” to change.
There is a mutual trust that is required in order to become worn. The wearer needs to trust that the material he or she puts on will be flexible and give in over time. The shoes or hat or whatever it might be needs to give way to the form that fills it. Though the materials are unthinking, there is change in them and they can be formed and shaped to whatever is wearing them (but this is where the analogy breaks down for we as people have the ability to think and reason).
If we want to be worn, if we want to be useful, we need to be willing to compromise, we need to be willing to be formed and shaped. We are the shoes, we are the hats, or the gloves. We are “put on” by the Master and we can either allow ourselves to be shaped or we can resist. If we resist, it will be painful and our effectiveness will be limited. If we submit, if we allow ourselves to be formed and transformed, how much more effective can we be?
So what will you do? Will you be shaped and formed or will you resist?