Saturday, September 14, 2013

5 Emotions You May Experience Concerning Christian Headcovering

Image Courtesy of: Arvind Balaraman,
Several months ago,  I came across the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 regarding Christian head covering, and I began to read the passage again with fresh eyes. The Lord really opened my mind to understand the meaning of this section of scripture, and I became convicted that Christian head covering was for today.

All that being said, I didn't make the decision to cover without some inner angst. It isn't usually easy to do God's will, but when God's will isn't culturally relevant, and even in some circles, borderline repulsive, it can make having the boldness to move forward a difficult thing. In this article, I want to highlight 5 emotions you may feel if you decide Christian head covering is for you.

1. You may feel self-conscious. Christian head covering can be done quite discreetly, but even if you choose a cover that is discreet, you may feel like you have a pink feathered hat on your head and that the whole room is looking at you wondering what on earth you are thinking! If this is you, remember, "God did not give us a spirit of fear (or timidity)." (2 Timothy 1:7). To help with this, you can try different things. Here are some of the things I've tried:

--Practice wearing your covering at home before wearing it to church or in public. This will get you use to the feel of it as you go about your day.

--Explain to those most important to you that you have become convinced that the teaching in 1 Corinthians is for today. That way people won't be staring because they'll already know what you believe and why you are wearing a covering.

--Connect with others who have a similar conviction. You won't feel so alone, and you can ask them for advice on your feelings.

2. You may feel misunderstood. In our society, head covering has been unfortunately misunderstood to be something that represents female oppression and male domination. We live in a world where it is male against female, each gender fighting for its' own rights. But God's plan for males and females is nothing like that at all. In God's plan male and female work together to glorify God in everything that they do. Listen to this scripture (from the passage on Christian head covering), "In the Lord however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God." (1 Corinthians 11:11-12).

3. You may struggle with feeling legalistic. I know for myself, I had to come to terms with the idea that a physical covering was what the passage was calling for. Because I had been conditioned to believe that Christianity was only about the spiritual world, and that the physical world was something separate, I felt almost legalistic saying that a cloth covering was necessary during corporate worship. I prayed and pondered this idea for some time, and came to realize that:

--Christianity should not be relegated to the spiritual realm. It is a very physical belief system, as well as a spiritual belief system. The Bible talks about baptism, a physical act representing a spiritual principle. We also have the Lord's supper, which is something we physically do that is a symbol of something spiritual that happened when Jesus died for our sins. Jesus' act on the cross was the ultimate in physical pain that resulted in spiritual change. Spiritual and physical are not meant to be mutually exclusive. Christian head covering is also a physical act that represents a spiritual belief.

--God is the creator of the physical world, as well as the spiritual world. It should make sense to us  that some of His commands address the physical realm. The Bible talks about dressing modestly (a physical act), meeting the physical needs of others, and working diligently in the physical world.

--Colloquially speaking, legalism has more to do with the way other's perceive your attitude toward their decisions, rather than what you actually do. So if you are convicted to cover, make sure your heart is in the right place, and that you aren't judging others who may be on a different path in their Christian walk. You can be convinced of the biblical command to cover without putting head covering on par with more important commands like evangelizing and feeding the poor.

4. You may feel alone. This one was huge for me. Christian head covering was the norm from biblical times up until several decades ago, and the person who didn't cover was the odd man out. Now, just the opposite is true. It's virtually unheard of--outside of the Amish and Mennonite faiths, and a few others--to have women who believe head covering is for today. It can be daunting to do anything alone, but something so outwardly evident and so dividing can really make a person feel as if they are the only ones doing it. I was blessed to know one woman who also believed in Christian head covering and she was more than willing to be a mentor for me and guide me gently in the right  direction. I would encourage those who feel alone to find someone to talk to who shares your conviction. It makes all the difference.

5. You may question yourself. When so many Christians, especially those we've been trained to put on a pedestal as the great teachers of our time, don't believe in Christian head covering, you may questions yourself and your ability to interpret this passage correctly. My encouragement to you is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show you the meaning of this scripture. Without turning to commentaries or sermons or the opinions of others, simply read the text and see what the Lord shows you. Sometimes I think we turn to sources outside the Bible too much, and to our detriment. Instead, turn your mind toward what scriptures says, and I am confident the Lord will show you the meaning of this passage through his Holy Spirit, and give you the confidence to cover.

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