This article is all about learning how to discover your own conviction within certain “grey areas” in life.
I used to think that when people wanted me to be “comfortable with grey” it was because they were trying to woo me into their own dysfunction; into the lies that they themselves have embraced. I believed they wanted me to suffer with them by believing what they themselves have been fooled into believing.
But I want you to get used to grey for just one reason:
The pathway to restructuring your framework to become something that you have chosen for yourself is by going into the unknown; balancing between order (what you’ve known to be true in your life - your comfort zone) and chaos (what you have yet to discover). Think of grey as a warm blanket that wraps you up in both comfort and possibility.
God is bigger than our framework. Our upbringing, our parent’s dysfunctions, our circumstances, our coping mechanisms, the things we feel shame about, the things we’ve never confessed, are all components that make up what we believe to either be true, untrue, possible, or impossible.
God is constantly exposing us to further truths. However, we will never be able to see them if we are married to our rules. We have to be married to Spirit, instead.
So what does this have to do with crop tops?
People of faith have historically and repeatedly fallen into a major problem with creating rules, regulations, and laws over advocating for a personal and trusting relationship with God.
I won’t be unsympathetic; I can understand why this would happen. When something works well in our personal or religious/political life, we want to do everything we can to stay in that healthy, looks-good-on-the-outside place. So we create rules, laws, and regulations. We also feel that we are serving ourselves and our community best because of it. As long as everyone listens and obeys, we can all live good, peaceful, and godly lives.
The problem with laws, especially “spiritual” laws, is that when we are no longer able to express our thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and questions because of the fear of looking less “Christ-like”, we are not actually getting rid of the questions in our hearts, we are simply shoving them down. And when we shove anything down, what we are doing is placing them in our unconscious, where our minds will constantly be trying to solve this problem, while the conscious mind is completely unaware.
This is a huge problem, and let me tell you why.
When we do not allow any part of ourselves to be expressed in a conscious way, we are sabotaging ourselves in a truly destructive manner. You will begin to act out your hidden desires in a way that is hidden even to you. For example, if you were never allowed to talk about your sexuality while growing up, you will most likely have hidden sexual tendencies, desires, thoughts, and very likely, a shame spiral that keeps you from ever being able to express your experience. You will also have sexual experiences and exchanges that you don’t even realize are happening, all because your unconscious mind is still trying to get the answers it’s looking for.
So what does this mean for us now? It means opening up, asking all the questions, and letting your wonderful, beautiful, and pure child-self speak. Nothing that crosses your mind is shameful until we label it as “bad” and tell ourselves that there is something wrong with us because we had a certain thought.
However, just like a child who is out in the world experiencing life and society for the first time, you have all kinds of questions in your heart. We all do! Which is why religious laws, rules, and regulations do not work. They do not work because we hold them too tightly and slap “holy” or “unholy” on every other thing in life.
So - crop tops. Crop tops are a great example of this because in normal everyday life, crop tops bear no response, they are just another piece of clothing. However, for a Christian who grew up in a more conservative church or community, you may not have such a simple response. The thought of showing any amount of midriff is terrifying. “People will lose respect for me”, “What will so-and-so think of me?”, “I’m bad and dirty because I showed my belly button”.
In all actuality, there is a laundry list of absolutely unnecessary items that we, as Christians deem as “bad” or “dirty”. But let me tell you something - it really doesn’t matter. God doesn’t have a list in Heaven that says, “this is good” or “this is bad”.
We were not created to live under a law. We were created to know Him. “Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” (Mark 7:14-15)
So, thinking about buying a crop top or facing any other question you may be holding in your heart? Do it! Try it! And track what you are feeling and thinking and bring it all to Jesus. If you feel any amount of shame, that’s a good sign that there are some areas of freedom in your life that are yet to be discovered.
What I’m not saying here is to run wild and do things that Jesus blatantly warns us about, rather, I am referring to those subtle grey areas where we are still holding fear around. The things that we assume a lot about because of the angle that the Church has displayed but we still have yet to decide for ourselves.
What's important is that you find out how you feel about it and that you acknowledge your individual opinion on a matter. The law teaches us not to think or question anything. But I'm here to tell you to think! Question everything! God is not intimidated by your intelligence!
Don’t shove down your questions anymore - I beg you! And if you don’t have anyone to talk to, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be more than happy to talk and hear you out without an ounce of judgment.
No question is dumb. No question is taboo. No question isn’t “allowed”.
If you ever feel unsure or insecure about anything in life, it is only an invitation to get closer to Jesus, lean on his chest, and let Him teach you. The more you get to know Him, the more you will get to know the real you. Invite Him into every area of your life and let the Shepherd come and take His place, replacing the law with something 1000x better - His presence!