(Image Credit: New York and Company)
So I’m pretty sure I’m not the queen of modesty and I know I don’t want to be the woman with the yard stick telling girls what length their skirts should be. So I’ll give this a go and see where we end up.
My history. I was a cheerleader at a public school…so I lived in short skirts for 9 years –modesty issue right? But my mom made me wear tights and shorts under my skirt anytime I wasn’t actually cheerleading…this was a bit embarrassing but I obeyed. Another rule in our house growing up was no bikinis…again a bit embarrassing in college when I went on a spring break trip to Key West, Florida and it felt like I was the ONLY one on the beach without one.
Then I went to the Moody Bible Institute for college and they had a rule – “you must wear long skirts to all classes”. Those long skirts were a far cry from the short mini skirts I was wearing in high school! And when I graduated and married, I felt liberated and wore some short skirts…and a bikini.
Then, I was confronted by a Deacon’s wife for being dressed immodestly (this was 9 years ago). I blogged about this incident here and the comments showed me…we women have A LOT of baggage with this issue.
Some women come from churches where they were judged or treated poorly based on their clothing choices and others are frustrated because they sit in the pew every week and the girl in front of them is showing their underwear! Modesty –and where to draw the line — is a problem in the church.
How do we, as Christian women, live modestly in Opposite World where we are told and sold the idea that plunging necklines, belly buttons and short shorts make you more desirable?
I’m not going to give length and width rules here…because you can have on a sack but have an immodest heart. It’s not always the way we dress that is suggestive. It could be the way we look a guy in the eye, laugh at his jokes, touch him on the knee or ask flirty questions to draw him out and connect emotionally.
But here’s a piece of truth that can be hard to swallow —
The way we dress IS a reflection of our heart. The way we dress can reflect wordliness or godliness.
If we choose to follow Opposite World, then we can’t be surprised when Christ followers question our intentions. I know that some of us are quick to be offended and think, how dare someone try to take away my short shorts. We cling to our bikinis and “our rights” and get very angry when someone points out this issue in our lives.
I Timothy 2:9 is a verse commonly turned to when we converse within the church about modesty:
“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”
Yikes! Is Paul forbidding jewelry, fancy hair and expensive clothing here? The Proverbs 31 woman wore fine linen and quality clothing. Esther had nearly a year of beauty treatments. And we see other Godly women in the Bible who were called “beautiful” on the outside such as Rachel and Sarah.
So what does this passage mean? Back when Paul wrote I Timothy, the women who were prostitutes adorned themselves with elaborate hair styles, jewelry and fancy clothes to attract and seduce men. It was a signal –they were available. Paul was telling the women in the church they ought not to show up to a worship service dressed like a prostitute.
So let’s take this passage in the rest of its context –check out the second half of this command:
“9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
A woman who professes to worship God should not have her beauty come from her clothing and jewelry but from her good deeds.
So what draws others to you –is it your good deeds, your kindness, mercy, service and love of others or your hair, jewelry and clothing?
Necklines in Opposite World are plunging these days. It seems that the girl who wears the lowest neckline on the red carpet gets the most attention. So a lot of clothes on the sale rack are low cut. I have a little tip for women who want help in this area and I made a video of how I solve this problem here:
(If you cannot see this video click here)
We can dress beautifully without being out of fashion or immodest –and I know because there’s many beautifully dressed women every Sunday at my church, who are not attracting the wrong kind of attention. They are not beautiful because they are fashionable, they are beautiful because they love the Lord and love people. They are beautiful because they smile and have eyes that look to other’s needs rather than their own. They are beautiful because they walk in the Spirit.
Chime In: As you can see –I’m a work in progress. How has Opposite World affected the way you dress? We are all at different places on our journey towards modesty. What is your story? What has God convicted you of in your life?
Walk with the King,