‘What Color is the Dress?’ -A Lesson on Faith

Blue & Black or White & Gold? (Photo: Tumblr screenshot)

“What Color is this Dress?” is the question the whole Internet has been going crazy over. Some people, including myself, see a white and gold striped dress, yet others swear they only see blue and black. At first I thought the #blueandblack crowd was crazy, and I jumped on the #whiteandgold bandwagon refusing to budge. That is, until the designer of the actual dress announced the actual colors to be…blue and black?!

M I N D   B L O W I N G !

Even after more photos of this royal blue dress were revealed, I’ll admit I was and am still a bit skeptical. It’s never easy to trust someone when you don’t see what they see. The more I thought about this phenomenon the more I realized that ‘the dress’ might just be the perfect example to illustrate faith.

Faith: a firm belief in something for which there is no proof – Merriam Webster

Faith: confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see –Hebrews 11:1

In ‘the dress’ example, faith is accepting the fact that the dress is blue and black even if we see nothing but gold and white. According to Webster, faith is believing without proof, and even though we have proof from the designer that the dress is indeed royal blue, we still have to trust that she isn’t lying to us, right?

Well, if the designer didn’t lie, and the dress below really is the same as the dress above, why do some of us still not see it that way? The answer is that, “Color is our perception — our interpretation of the light that’s in the world,”according to professor Arthur Shapiro in USA Today’s “The science behind ‘the dress.” In other words, our brains all see color slightly different depending on how we interpret the surroundings.

Screenshot from Roman Originals Royal-Blue Lace Dress

Screenshot from Roman Originals Royal-Blue Lace Dress

This idea that we all see things differently correlates directly to faith.

In everyday life, we encounter things that don’t make sense. People make decisions that we cannot understand, things happen that seem unfair, and even we look back at our past sometimes and wonder, What on earth was I thinking? The reason we can’t always understand others actions, God’s actions, or even our own actions is that we can’t possibly all see things the exact same way. Just like backlighting, flashes, or over exposure in a photograph can change our perception of color, similarly a person’s background, current position, or internal knowledge can affect their beliefs.

In the running world, faith also plays a major role. For example, I have faith in my coach, Juli Benson when it comes to decisions on training. Like any good coach-athlete relationship we communicate ideas back and forth, but ultimately she is the coach and I have to remember that she sees things through the lens of many years of coaching experience. Another example came last week when I took a trip to see Jay Dicharry, PT for some biomechanical analysis at his lab in Bend, Oregon. Being one of the biggest experts in running gait and author of the book, “Anatomy for Runners,” I knew I could trust Jay to see issues in my running form that I may never have seen because I don’t have his expertise.

When it comes to faith in the spiritual sense, people often misinterpret it to be some mystical ideology. But just like in the example of ‘the dress’ or in the world of athletics, it all comes down to the fact that faith is accepting something we can’t see.

So here’s some food for thought: If we are able to recognize the fact that other people in this world can see things differently from us, why not accept the fact that God sees the world different than us? Looking at the world through his eyes we would realize that God isn’t the one bringing about the evil and temptation in the world (James 1:13-15), but rather, all good things come from God, and above all that, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). We must walk by faith–not by sight.

walk by faith

 P.S. What colors do YOU see in ‘the dress?’

Posted in Faith and tagged , , .


  1. Great post! I love how you connected it all together. As for the dress…the first time I saw it I saw white & gold and, like you, couldn’t imagine it as blue & black. That is until later that day when I looked again and I saw black & blue! Apparently my eyes can’t decide what I see because it keeps switching on me! At the moment…it is white and gold 🙂

    • Thanks Cheryl, you must have special eyes 😉 because no matter how much I strain mine I see absolutely no black, although I do see the white as having a blue tint/shadow!

  2. I’m in camp white and gold too – I’ve never been able to see it as black and blue. But I’m fascinated by the science behind it! Loved this post. Faith is so hard to explain/quantify but it’s so important. There’s the faith in running that your training has done its job and that your legs will carry you across the finish line. And there’s the faith that God is with you all along the way. Great post, Amanda! I’d love to hear what you find out from Jay Dicharry. I have his book too!

    • Yay for camp white and gold! Glad you liked the post, Jenn. Faith in your legs is a good one I forget about sometimes/take for granted. As for Jay Dicharry, he is full of information, too much to say in a short message. But I will say if you follow his book accurately you can gain a lot of benefit.

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