Let me begin by saying I don’t consider myself a legalist in the area of modesty but I am conservative and probably somewhat “old-fashioned.” I am not of the mindset that we should all grow our hair down to our ankles nor do I believe all women should wear frumpy skirts. If one chooses to have long hair and wear dresses that is fine of course… but it is not a requirement to be holy or modest. I am a jeans-and-t’shirt kind of girl. I would be content to wear flip-flops every day of my life. I occasionally get to play dress-up. I like big, shiny jewelry, make-up and curling irons. I don’t believe I should be allowed to leave home without concealer and mascara (only 1/2 kidding). If the truth be told, I don’t even like skirts and only own 4 dresses… 6 if you include my wedding dress (that I couldn’t squeeze my left leg in) and a old bride’s maid dress. My kids and I spend half our summer in the pool wearing swimsuits (will dive into that topic later on). I could be wrong, but if you saw my daughters or me in public, I don’t think you would see anything that would make you think I was an extremest. I am not seeking to make my kids look like “odd-balls.” I am seeking to teach them that they can be both modest and wear fashions that they like. Maybe that gives you an idea of where I’m coming from.
Why are Christian women today dressing like the world? I’m not talking about “fashion” or this spring’s trend. I wonder why have we bought into the mindset that we have the right to dress our bodies the way we want to. I am not talking about those who have given the church the right to dictate their wardrobe or hairstyle. I am suggesting that believers should “look” different from the world. How have we allowed ourselves to wear short skirts and see-through blouses to church!??! Should the church NEED or HAVE to make wardrobe “suggestions” for us?! Really, ladies. Let’s get real! If your minister has to make “suggestions”… might we be making poor choices? As a minister’s wife, I can assure you that the majority of theses “suggestions” are not because you like to wear exotic prints, bright colors or big jewelry. And while uniformity is aesthetically pleasing, the majority of the “suggestions” are not because they want you to look boring or bland…
THEY ARE BECAUSE WE COULD BE, AND OFTEN ARE, HINDERING WORSHIP!
Sorry, I had to hop on my soapbox… I’ll try to get off now. 🙂
I found the following quote from Dr. Joe McKeever quite curious:
” [I was] Watching a teenage girl walk out of Wal-Mart just now and [I was] thinking, ‘I almost feel sorry for the streetwalkers these days because they no longer are able to identify their profession by the clothes they wear.'”
— Joe McKeever
Obviously, Dr. McKeever was speaking in hyperbole… but honestly, is he very far off? Have the lines been so blurred that we can no longer be identified (both young women and older) as being the Lord’s? But we have our RIGHTS! I am not under the LAW, I have the FREEDOM to do as I please. Is that so?
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
If we take God at His word, our bodies do not belong to us, but to Him. If we belong to Him we are to honor Him with our bodies. If we are to honor God with our bodies how can we dress in a manner dishonoring to our bodies… therefore dishonoring to Christ? If we agree up to this point, I suggest that just as your words, attitudes and actions should reflect Christ that your wardrobe should as well.
I will celebrate 16 years of marriage to my sweetheart this June. When I married Gregory, we became one. I belong to him and he to me…. I am his and he is mine. I have willingly (and happily) placed myself under his authority. When I have the opportunity to go somewhere with him, especially in a professional setting, I want him to be pleased (proud even) to carry me on his arm. I want my attire to honor our marriage and my husband. How much more should I seek to honor my Heavenly Groom and seek His approval in my appearance.
I’m not suggesting I have this figured out. As I have already mentioned, I have 3 daughters (age 11, 3 and 1.5). I am seeking to raise them in a way that they would grow up honoring Christ in all areas of their lives including their dress… but I’m still in the learning process. Here are a few of the ways we seek to encourage them:
– Teach them early. “Belly shirts” and skimpy swimsuits may be “cute” when they are little, but when do we decide they are not modest anymore… how can I justify letting my 3 year old dress immodestly and not my 5 year old… or 10 year old. I understand their bodies are different than say a 17 year old, but I feel it is important to teach my children that we want all children of all ages to be appropriately dressed. They are to be set apart (sometimes even within the church). I was trying to teach our oldest daughter about modesty around the age of 4 or so. I had a magazine that had a photo of a woman who wasn’t super modest and was trying to explain the difference to her. We would flip through and she would give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” modesty vote. She was really “getting” it…. I was SO proud! A few days later we were in the grocery… she was in the cart and spied out a victim… who was right beside us… “SHE’S NOT DRESSED LIKE A LADY, MOM… IIIIISSSS SHHHEEE???”… haha!. Next lesson… being discrete 🙂
– Short shorts and skirts. Frankly, I don’t want anyone (especially men/boys) being able to see too much when my daughter bends over. If we have to pull down our shorts/skirts every 15 seconds while sitting,.. our shorts might be too short. We are so blessed right now that we can put leggings under anything and it be cute/fashionable! Take advantage!
– Raise & Praise- One of my favorites! If we can’t raise our hands in worship and praise the Lord without our mid-sections showing our shirts are probably too short. One solution we’ve found so that we can still wear the trendy shirt is buying the skinny, boy, tank-top style undershirts. They can often be layered under shirts and are usually quite long making pretty much any top Raise & Praise worthy. If you have to push and pull and adjust your neckline constantly… maybe you should re-think that top. Here’s a thought: our cleavage is private… let’s keep it that way. Besides, watch girls/women who are adjusting their clothes all the time… they look awkward. I feel so much more secure when I can just “be” in my clothes.
– Swimsuits- Here’s a tough one for girls of all ages. I just love the book, “Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America” by Jeff Polard. You should read it today! It is a quick read that doesn’t require massive amounts of brain power. While I don’t agree with every aspect, it is a fantastic (and small) book that traces the history of the swimsuit. It will be eyeopening! I have not felt convicted to wear what is often referred to as “Dugger swimsuits”… I do respect many aspects of the Dugger family approach so I don’t intend that in a hateful way. I choose for myself and oldest daughter to wear a 2 piece tankini style suit. The reason being often 1 piece suits are more revealing than the tankini style. I prefer the skirts and shorts that we often buy through Land’s End. Their suits are high quality and although then can be a little pricey you can get some great off-season deals! When possible, order your top in a “tall” size… they are longer! Here is another site called CL Swim Designs. (Thanks Britt!) My cousin has purchased some of their suits. What about boys? I suppose that because modesty in our house is talked about so much our boys have been prone to be unusually modest for boys. I purchased them all “swim shirts” (rashgaurds) last year and the oldest 2 generally elect to wear them. Boy 3 would rather be free, haha. I won’t complain if they are “overly” modest. Here at the seminary we have somewhat of a dress code for the pool. I am thankful. We also have many families who seek to be super conservative in this area. Some have found some great solutions, especially for older, more mature girls! Some have opted to buy clothes designed for exercise activities (tanks, tennis-style skirts, shorts) and layer them with a sport’s-bra. These fabrics are designed to dry quickly and seem to work really well! If I’m transparent, I still struggle with where we Christians should stand on this topic. I welcome your insights! I pray this summer and each summer to come brings more insight for our family.
Be responsible! God made men visual creatures. Women are not (generally) as visual. We can set men/boys up for failure if we are not careful. While men are responsible for their actions, we are responsible for our actions as well. I DEPLORE the mindset that says women/girls do whatever they want, dress how they want to dress, show as much skin as they desire and the men are left to deal with it. I want you to give my husband, my sons, my brothers in the Lord the BEST chance to keep pure minds and hearts and I should give your husbands, sons and the men in your life the best chance as well. It’s only the right thing to do. It is kind, loving and Biblical.
It were well for him if a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble. Luke 17:2
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10: 31-33
We as women and girls long to be beautiful. We long to be pretty… to be attractive. I bought a couple new dresses for my two small girls the other day. They came in the mail and of course they had to put them on asap. A couple hours later I heard my sweetie girl #3 (age 22 months) “singing” and looked over. She was looking at me while, with a smile on her face, stroking her dress, swaying and singing (in descending major thirds- for you music nuts out there), “Pret-ty… pret-ty… pret-ty.” Even at the age of 37 find myself waiting for Greg’s approval when I take the time to “dress up”. We can’t help it! The Lord made us lovely… He made us beautiful and that is a good thing.
As with many things, we must be aware of our motives. Is my desire to cause someone to stray… to seek selfish gratification from others. Where is the line? Some of us are blessed to have parents, friends or husbands who can lovingly nudge us in the right direction… who can lovingly say, “I don’t think that outfit is saying what you would like it to say.” Give someone that authority in your life. I’m here to tell you, there are some ladies who think they are doing well in this area and the truth is they aren’t “getting” it. Let’s give someone that place in our lives and listen to them share the truth with us in love. Here is a tool I use. I was searching this topic out a few years ago I feel the Spirit impressed this thought on my mind, look in the mirror and as yourself, “Would you want a woman looking like you look, wearing what you are wearing around your husband?” If my answer was, “No” then I should go change.
The Lord made women beautiful and He made men handsome. He is the consummate artist! He made women beautiful for their husbands and men handsome for their wives. Ultimately, we are all beautiful creations of our Father who made us for His pleasure. What a gift to have a loving Lord!
“Beauty is God’s handwriting. Welcome it in every fair face, every fair day, every fair flower.”
– Charles Kingsley