Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Following my own evolving leading into Plain dress over the years has been for me a case study in how God leads me and how to recognize a leading. And it seems to me there is nothing more important than learning how to tell what God is asking of us! So here are a few things I have learned to look for in leadings - things I learned through struggling with the leading to Plain dress.
For one thing, the leading does not go away. It has been coming on for years and even if I turned away and back to "normal" dress, my feeling that I want to dress plain I suspect would not disappear. For another it makes me happy, some say peaceful, to follow the leading. It is almost an obsession that seems to make no sense to those who have not experienced such a leading. I struggled with the question, is it just a desire on my part or a true leading, and decided that since there was no logic to the desire (it was not like desiring chocolate which has an obvious reason - the taste), and it would not go away, and it was not harmful to myself or others, then there was no harm in following that desire. I now think that is one of characteristics of some leadings - a drive that feels like desire.
Another aspect of the leading is that it may seem to have no clear positive outcome. Or perhaps we can see no point to it at all. Or maybe we have many misgivings about the outcome, but it feels compelling nonetheless. With plain dress this was the case for me and many others. What is the point? Why? What will it accomplish? For many, those questions cannot be answered till way down the road, or maybe only in hindsight.
And finally, at least in the case of Plain dress, it just seemed the "right" thing for me to do. It seemed almost inevitable that I would dress like this - as if I had been heading this way since childhood and had finally discovered ME. In Plain dress I feel I am being sincere in showing who I am, and this supports the Quaker testimony of sincerity and honesty in all things. This is the REAL me that God created and when I wear other clothing I am not being sincere, but am attempting to be someone I am not. I have come home.
So one of the very important things this Plain journey has done for me is to help me see God's hand in my life in all aspects, even the smallest, to learn to recognize when He is directing me, and to have gained some experience in being led! Very big things indeed!
In Christ's Love,
Thank you for this very articulate description of discernment and leadings.