Some time ago, I was at the store picking up some ingredients for a cake I was making, and ended up strolling down the magazine aisle.
As I stopped to look to see if they had my dad’s favorite vintage cars magazine, I spotted something that disturbed me. Right underneath the men’s magazines were the women’s magazines with cover images of scantily clad women. Women who had these ‘come hither’ looks on their faces while trying to keep hold of what little clothing they had so the most intimate parts of their bodies were [mostly] covered-though, to be quite honest, it wasn’t doing much good.
As I looked at these images, I was filled with anger. Anger that these images, and the models in them, are what girls and women look at thinking that these are the standards they have to look [and live] up to in order to be sees as beautiful.
Then, when I got home, I was scrolling on Facebook, and the link to an article that caught my eye. The name of the article: “10 wardrobe items that instantly make you more attractive”.
The whole entire article was about things that a woman absolutely must have in her wardrobe. There are two main points this article is pushing: how to keep it classy while still maintaining an element of “sensuality” and that to attain that you have to make sure that just enough of your body is showing–just not too much or else you’ll make yourself look ‘trashy’.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Sensual” as the following: “relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses”
So, essentially, this article is telling us that women have to dress to appeal to the senses of men.
I would like to challenge that idea.
The Bible says:
“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by the wearing of gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” 1 Timothy 2:9
On that note, let me tell you a bit of a story.
When I was in 7th grade, I became obsessed with the 70’s T.V. show adaptation o Little House on the Prairie. So much so, that I became completely in love with the way the women dressed. It also helped that it was modest as well as quite feminine-dresses all day every day? Yes please! However, I didn’t take into consideration the ridicule it would bring me from the other kids in school.
Then, when 8th grade rolled around, I decided to try something else: dress more modern. So, I started wearing mini-dresses that were…well…too mini. In fact, they were so mini, that I couldn’t bend down in them…But, I’ll spare you from those details.
This is when I stumbled upon two books that completely changed the way I look at clothing: The Bride Wore White and Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by speaker and author Dannah Gresh. (It also just so happens that Pure Freedom Ministries donated both of these books for a giveaway at the end of this series!)
So, why dress modestly? Well, we are called to honor God with our bodies. After all, we-our bodies-are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19) If you were to be a representative of someone in a high authoritative position, you wouldn’t dress improperly. You’d dress in the appropriate attire. In the same way, we, as daughters of the King-as representatives of The King of Kings, are called to dress in a way that will bring honor and praise to him.
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” Matthew 6:28-29
One of the things I’ve found in my research is how so many basically say “in order to be modest you must dress like this”
However, lets go right back to the main point of this whole series: Modesty starts in your heart and works its way out.
As well-known speaker and author Jefferson Bethke once said, “A Woman must have her heart changed before her clothing ever will!”
At the same time, I also believe that if you are a Christian who is wholeheartedly seeking after Jesus, you need to ask him to convict you of the clothing you have that don’t bring honor to him.
Here are a few questions I go by when purchasing clothes:
First, I ask myself “Would I be wearing this because I like it, or because of the attention it would bring to me?” and “Am I bringing honor to God and the body he’s given me when I wear this?”
Then if it passes that test, these are a few guidelines I like to use when trying clothes on:
- If I bend over and feel like there’s nothing covering my back end, I wear a pair of black cycling shorts or tights underneath
- If the collar of my shirt is too low or so loose that if I bend down you can see down my shirt, I wear a camisole under it.
- I try to keep my dresses no shorter than knee length. If it is just at the top of my knee I wear tights. As for shorts, I never wear short-shorts or bootie shorts. I always find ones that go at least 3/4 of the way down my thighs (Hip-Hooray for Bermuda Shorts!).
- I try to keep my bra straps covered and only wear tank tops that have minimum 2 inch straps. Spaghetti straps are ALWAYS worm with a bolero of some kind.
- Nothing super, duper tight
- And finally, I don’t let any of my midriff show.
Here’s the thing, summer doesn’t have to be filled with anxiety over clothes. Yes, it might be a little more difficult to find modest clothing, but there are so many fun modest clothing stores online that have wonderful modest and modern summer (and year round) clothing! And throughout this series, I’m featuring some amazing and affordable modest clothing companies that I highly encourage you to go check out!
Lastly, one of the reasons that is spoken about more often than not, when it comes to modesty, is that we need to dress modestly so that we don’t cause our brothers-in-Christ to stumble and lust after us. And while I totally, completely agree with this, we need to make sure that we aren’t losing focus of the real reason that we are choosing to dress modestly.
You see, when we put all the focus and reasoning for dressing modestly on guys- whether it’s so that you don’t attract the wrong kind of attention, cause your Christian brothers to stumble and lust after you, or so that you will attract the right kind of attention from a nice Christian guy who might see you as being a Godly woman worth pursuing- we are forgetting that the whole reason to dress modestly: To Bring Honor and Glory to God.
In the end, it all comes down to this: What is your purpose? What are the secret thoughts in your heart, behind the clothes you are picking? To bring glory and attention to God, or to yourself?
I want to challenge you, take a few moments today to ask God to start convicting you of the clothes that don’t bring glory to his name. Some of the clothes may be perfectly modest, however the reason behind the purchase may not be-I myself have gotten rid of several outfits that I bought because of that very thing. And finally, ask him to change your heart, to work in you from the inside out, to make you the woman of God that he desires for you to become!
Finally, here are a few of my favorite modest summer outfits-including a new completely adorable swim dress from Dainty Jewell’s which is perfect for going to the beach and then running errands or to out to eat before or right after! (By-the-Way, Their clothing is SO adorable and SO worth the money spent!) The other outfits are clothing I bought at Walmart for relatively good prices. The blue jean shirt was my dad’s that he bought off e-bay that I expropriated from his closet. It’s one of my staple pieces as it’s big enough that you don’t get too hot when you’re wearing it in the summer!
Also, don’t forget about our book giveaway at the end of this series! We’ll be providing more information on how you can enter when we get closer to it! The books were donated from Dannah Gresh’s Ministry Pure Freedom Ministries (of which I also encourage you to go check out) and the notebook was custom designed (by yours truly!) specifically for this giveaway!
Until next time!