But, THIS POST, got me thinking.
In many ways the word ‘modesty’ ranks with the likes of ancient concepts like, oh, chivalry. I mean, it’s 2011. Does any one REALLY worry about modesty anymore? We’ve been liberated. It’s not about what we wear. As women, we can do what we want, be who we want, and parade around in any attire we so choose. We need not have any regard for how it makes other people feel. That’s their problem, it’s about US. We faught for this ‘freedom’, dangitt.
And yet, we’re cheering on lingerie football and cities are hosting Slut Walks. Celebrities strut in their skivies and it’s on the news at noon. We’re more sexually objectified and opressed than we’ve ever been, all in the name of liberty. And modesty – where is modesty? Many women want to know. It’s a topic of deep concern and contemplation. What are we to do with culture when it comes to what we wear?
What does it mean to be modest? Does it really matter? Am I vain if I put a lot of time and effort into my personal appearance? Should I try to look ‘pretty’ for my husband? If I’m looking ‘pretty’ for him, am I only concerned about impressing him? What is truly pleasing to God and therefor, brings out the best in me for my family and friends?
What I’ve found is Christian women are all over the place on the topic, and even on opposite ends of the spectrum. I think some people have a view of Chrsitian women as these made-up pretties that are fake through and through. I’ve heard many people critisize glam-Queen ‘women of faith’ (and there are many) and I can understand why. When we are supposed to be all about Jesus and all about others… why do we some so completely all about ‘me’? The media doesn’t help, with shows like “Good Christian Belles”, depicting us as nasty chicks with pencil skirts and push-up bras. The church becomes no different from Corporate America, where we manipulate and work the men, gossip about each other, and scratch our way to the ‘top’ (whatever that really means). It’s sad. Really sad.
For me, it comes down to this:
I think there are a lot of Christian women who don’t understand how the way they dress affects the people around them. Focusing internally and examining the problem of vanity is positive, and sure, some of us might need to work on those issues. But, when we feel the need to dress to attract, we ought to ask ourselves some hard questions about it. Why do we need to feel attractive to men and are we truly thinking of OTHERS with what we choose to wear?
So, if I’m hanging out as a youth leader with high school guys, you better believe I’m in my hoody and loose jeans. I don’t want to ‘feel hot’ or ‘feel pretty’ at all, actually. What a switch from when I was a teenager and I wouldn’t walk out of the house without feeling ‘hot’. When we feel like we look ‘all that’, we’re more likely to act the part. We become more flirtatious and could be tempted to act inappropriately. This affects hugely the way I interact with boys or men – when I dress in a way that I know I’m not going to willinngly attract attention, it completely revolutionizes my interactions with the opposite sex. It truly does.
I know many readers will be wondering what it means to be modest. I mean, give me the specifics, right? I don’t know. I don’t want to type out criteria for what I believe would qualify as ‘modest’ in a girl’s wardrobe. I don’t want to offend others. I don’t want to assume that my beliefs and convictions are correct! I just know what I feel is appropriate and what sits well in my own heart. If you are seeking God and asking Him to reveal His will for you on this topic, He will. He gives wisdom to those who ask for it in His name and for His purposes.
For a LONG time I struggled with this issue. The need to feel wanted by men. Any men. Especially good looking, younger men. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. If you are struggling with this desire, please, pray about it and/or talk to a strong woman about your feelings. I talked more about this in a popular post, “Hot Mom Syndrome“.
I have been very convicted in this area and God has taken me on quite the journey. For me, I know in my heart if what I’m wearing is appropriate because I feel it in my spirit. There’s nothing wrong with being stylish, but it can be done with modesty. I don’t wear shape-hugging clothes, especially around my bum, legs, hips, tummy, and breasts. I often wear fluffy peasant shirts and skirts, styles that look funky but come across as extremely modest. They are attractive but not attracting attention.
Mostly, though, I try not to spend a lot of time focusing on me. There are a lot more important things in life than how I look. I want to be neat, tidy, clean, and feel good about myself, sure. Doesn’t every one?
However, there is a much higher calling for us, far beyond feeling ‘good’ about the way we look. We must grow a deep desire to consistantly show love to other women and ultimately, to our brothers in life, by remaining humble and modest in the way we dress and the way we act.