Friday, March 2, 2018

Devotion: Dress Code

Rusty A. Lang (Pseudonym for Marlene Anne Morphew@AnneMorphew)

Joel 2:25
‘Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.’

Fifteen years ago I was recovering from an emotional breakdown.

The church I attended was helping me back on my feet. Their ladies group, a fledgling ministry, met once a month in different homes as a form of outreach.

I was surprised when asked to speak one month. The pastor felt it would be a confidence builder and part of my restoration. Nervous, I agreed. I was given guidelines on time length, topic and dress code (skirt or dress). I balked at the latter.

Nevertheless I complied. The talk went well. I had gained something but felt I also lost something. Pleasing people and acting like a sanitised cookie cutter Christian was not me. Nor was it who God made me.

Personal Identity

Part of my restoration was establishing my own identity separate from ministry and relationships (of the past). I discovered I was a jeans woman. I did not enjoy or look to dress like every other woman in church.

I needed to be who God wanted me to be – jeans and all. I did not have to please people to win their approval. Learning to be comfortable in my own skin has been a journey of self-discovery and did not fully culminate until I published my autobiography, Good Things Take Tine: Metamorphosis of a Damaged Soul in 2015.

Pleasing People

Extricating myself from the “pleasing people” syndrome has been a learning curve.
  •  Submission does not require full compliance. 
  • Giving into coercion does not make a closer relationship.
  • Allowing a doormat seed to sprout only brings on more abuse, intimidation, bullying and control.

Transparency, honesty and obedience to God alone has brought peace and joy to my life. Letting go of toxic relationships and building healthy new alignments takes time. Running away is not the answer. I had to stay in place and battle my way towards inner strength. But I did not do it alone, The Lord was with me all the way.

Therapeutic Exercise?

Since the release of my book, many people ask if it was a therapeutic exercise. I can honestly say no. God had done all the work he wanted to do in my life to that point and it was simply an exercise to bring hidden darkness into the light.

To write a survivor or overcomer type testimony while still emotionally damaged becomes maudlin and keeps hurts and wounds green. To write a book on healing of emotions after God has brought you through encourages others he will do the same for them.

How do I know?

The audience at a library book signing was small but very responsive. After the guests left, the librarian apologised for the number of people. She explained what happened the last time the library hosted a writer with a survivor theme. The writer was still suffering emotional damage and it left everyone depressed.

Journals are an excellent way to vent emotions throughout a healing process. Then the lessons learned written in a manuscript with honest illustrations reap great benefit to others.

Still a Jeans person

The only time I leave my jeans at home is when I travel to cultures where it is dishonouring. Then I dress to please God and it is my choice.

Galatians 1:10
'For am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.'

In what area of your life are you trying to please people to gain their approval?

About Rusty A. Lang

Marlene Anne Morphew/Rusty A. Lang – healed from dyslexia and childhood abuse, schooled in brokenness, writing is in her DNA. Discover her testimony in her autobiography, Good Things Take Time: Metamorphosis of a Damaged Soul. Explore her other non-fiction publications on her website. With a heart for the nations her international ministry of teaching and preaching takes her away from her writing desk throughout the year but her heart home is Australia with her husband, Ray.


  1. Thank you for this opportunity ICFW

  2. Thanks for sharing and welcome to ICFW. I am glad you are able to feel comfortable in jeans and be yourself. My mum had a breakdown at one stage and after she recovered she found she was able to use her experience to help others who were struggling. Our pastor at the time sent some other ladies to visit her just cos she knew what they were experiencing where as he didn't really know as he hadn't experienced it.
    Looking forward to reading more posts in the future.

    1. Thanks Jenny. I hope your mother found peace after her experience. It seems to be true that our struggles make us stronger.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing with us! I thinking being people pleaser is something so many people struggle with. May we keep our eyes on Him and pleasing Him!

    1. Yes Lisa. It seems to be prevalent among women especially though I do know a man or two who battle with this as well under a false sense of loyalty. Appreciate you taking the time to comment. I am just finding my way around ICFW so I apologise for the couple days response. Blessings.

  4. Great post, Rusty! Thank you for joining us here at International Christian Fiction Writers.

    I think that many of us women are raised to become "people pleasers" rather than God pleasers. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement to focus on God.

    And I understand what you mean about some "survivor" stories being written by people who are still struggling. I think that's why I'm often wary of them - as the librarian had said. It's much better to write the encouraging story.

    1. Thank you Iola for the encouraging words. Blessings to you.