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Monday, November 5, 2012

Dress For Success

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 13:14

In the 80’s, I was a young female corporate executive leading mostly men. In an effort to be successful, I read the book “Dress for Success.” The primary principle of the book is power dressing – dressing in a way that is most likely to give you the influence you need to be successful. As soon as I read it, I rushed out to buy expensive navy suits, white blouses, maroon bow-tied scarves, and simple navy pump styled shoes. It really did seem to make a difference.

When I went into ministry, I quickly learned to dress another way. If I wore my navy suit while evangelizing in a mall, I would intimidate everyone I was talking with. A navy suit speaking to a group of young Christian mothers simply didn’t work. I started studying what worked with my new calling. Dressing casually for evangelism was best but if I didn’t wear makeup and jewelry, people assumed I was homeless and were scared of me. I check out the “dress code” for the churches I speak in. This includes issues like theological views on makeup, dresses or pantsuits, and unbelievably, even panty hose. My rule is to respect the belief’s of those I’m serving. However, I still have clung to the basic rule of “dress for success.”

Recently, I had an epiphany. I’ve had many powerful Divine Encounters stretched out on a massage table. Trust me, on a massage table, I’m not “dressed for success.” I have a couple of physical problems that massages help with. My calling is often very physical so Bob and I have decided to budget for everything that keeps me moving and that includes occasional massages.

My most recent massage was at a resort in Coronado Island in California. I always go into a massage hoping for a quiet relaxing time. Sometimes, God has other plans. Resort massages are more expensive than I am comfortable with but I was in pain so Bob and I decided to book a massage. As much as I was paying for the resort massage, I really hoped this would be one of those “quiet times.”

When I went in, we exchanged introductions. She asked why I was here and I answered that my husband was at a conference and I had joined him to do ministry. She didn’t inquire about what kind of ministry and I didn’t elaborate.

The first half of the massage was what I had hoped for. She carefully and quietly worked out each sore spot in my body. About half way through the massage, she asked, “What kind of ministry do you do?”

I felt it – the surge of the Holy Spirit. I knew right then, covered only by a sheet, that the Holy Spirit was already at work. This woman and her husband were saved before they were married. She knew she was going to heaven and why. They had never gone to church since they had been married. Their oldest child was 10 years old and she was feeling very guilty about not taking her children to church. Not only was this a Divine Encounter, it was the hardest I face – exhorting.

“Your children don’t know Jesus,” I said sharply. “You do but they don’t.”

“I tell them about Him and take them to church on Christian holidays.”

“Have they invited Jesus to be their savior?”

“No,” she said. “I asked them about going to church but they don’t want to go. I keep telling my husband we need to take them to church. They are so busy with competitive dance and sports that I hate to force them to do another activity.”

I was firm. “Do you give them a choice about school?”

“No,” she said.

“Knowing God is way more important than school. I used to teach music and know the advantages to competitive arts events but teaching our children about Jesus affects their eternity. When your son turns 16, you are going to need a good youth group to help him because you may not be able to influence him. Trust your mother’s heart. Yes, I know you want your husband to lead spiritually but trust your heart. Your children need Jesus and church. Nothing is more important than that.”

My words hurt her – but in a way I knew was effective. There on that table, without the benefit of my power suit, I wielded the power of the Holy Spirit exhorting one of His beloved children. I only told her what she already knew – she admitted to feeling guilty about not going to church. She didn’t say another word and I knew I didn’t need to say another word. We finished the massage and I paid her. All she said was, “Thank you.” The painful but true words were still doing their work in her soul. Yes, when I evangelize, I give the Good News of the Gospel. Speaking to Christians not living for Christ is entirely different and often God calls Christians to deliver tough words of exhortation.

I still believe in being dressed for success and will still respect the cultures of the places I speak, but for Christians, being dressed for success means being clothed with Christ Jesus and giving His message.

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  1. Thank u for telling this story. It is confirmation and encouragement to me.

  2. Wow! I'm so glad I found this post! I literally just finished writing a post on why I wear skirts and dressing modestly, wondering who may (or may not) respond. You being "unclothed" and being able to share the gospel really touched me and encourages me to keep sharing my thoughts on what God is working out in me!


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