Sometimes the everyday things can stick with you for a long time. A comment from a friend years ago has been troubling me: ” I buy cheap, value soap and just keep topping up my Molton Brown bottles with it!”
At the time I didn’t give it a second thought but recently I’ve started to wonder why we try and repackage our everyday selves into something more impressive.
There is very little to distinguish Molton Brown bottles from the hundreds of other soap bottles on the market: they are no work of art; they function no differently; the only difference is the name – and the price tag!
So why do we want people to think we have paid extortionately more for our labelled brands? Certain labels do offer superior and reliable quality but I doubt this is always the reason they have risen in line with challenging economic times. Designer labels can signal wealth, success, maybe even a subconscious pinch of superiority. I’m not immune from buying them myself but I do find myself questioning why I buy them and sometimes I even feel embarrassed by wearing/ using them.
Even being mindful of why I make purchases, pride creeps in more often than I would like to admit. I was scrambling under the stairs for a plastic bag to put some things in to give to a friend before Christmas. The first bag I put my hands on was a Wilkinson’s bag. No, that wouldn’t do! The search continued until I came across a House of Fraser bag – far more appropriate! Pride is insidious!
I signed up for an ‘Ignite’ course run by my church last September. It’s a 10 month discipleship course to help get to know myself, God and the bible better. It’s purpose is to help individuals grow and realise their full God-given potential. It is an accredited course and the academic side is taken seriously but the focus is seeing peoples heart change.
My first term has been a revelation in so many areas of my life and faith. I have been a Christian since I was 14 but possibly the biggest impact the course has had on me has been the authenticity of the leaders and other course members. We are a very diverse group: we’ve all come from very different backgrounds and upbringings and are at different stages of our walk with Christ. Knowing what God can do and seeing what God is doing are very different things and its a real privilege to journey with them.
One of the things all participants have to do is to share their own life stories in the form of a timeline with the rest of the group. We are encouraged to be as honest as possible and present it warts and all! This leaves you vulnerable and believe me, it’s nerve wrecking! However, once I started to peel my protective layers away it was truly liberating.
As others sweated their way through their timelines you could see how love drives out fear. No one was judged or felt judged during this arduous process. These could be big, obvious fears but sometimes very subtle. However, the more we offered up, the more God flooded in and the closer we became to both God and each other.
Imagine if everyone could live their lives the way God created them to be: free of fear, free of criticism, and free of judgement. Only Gods love can fully offer that. It might not be a world that the media or advertisers would relish but it’s one that God freely invites us into. The more I’ve witnessed this, the more I want others to have full freedom in Christ. I’ve seen God break down seemingly impossible barriers and turn lives around.
I’ve always believed in being yourself but the course has opened my eyes to bringing this to a whole new level. We need to remember that our contents are worth so much more than our packaging! Everyone is unique, God has created us that way so lets live in a way that embraces who we truly are and not try to be concerned about what we display our soap in!!