Being Modest {In Opposite World}

Being Modest in Opposite World (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,

 

 

I Was Confronted For Being Immodest

It’s 6/21/12 – I am getting a lot of harsh comments lately on this post – so I know that somewhere this link is being spread to readers who don’t frequent Women Living Well. Before you leave your comment, I ask that you please read my follow up post to this post titled “How I feel about the woman who confronted me.”  I ask that your comments reflect grace.  I have been open to discussion here previously – but feel it best that I begin filtering comments – comments without grace will be deleted.

This was the dress I was wearing that got me this phone call – too bad Keith’s eyes are closed in the pic :(

 It was 2003, my husband had just become a deacon at our church and I had just given birth to my first baby.  I remember thinking that a lot of my clothes were too tight after having my baby but I really wanted to squeeze back into them rather than buy new – so I kept wearing my old clothes.  The only problem – when I bent down at church to get my son out of the carrier – my skirt was WAY too short for bending down!  But did that stop me – nope – you know what stopped me – a phone call.

So the phone rang and on the other end of the line was another deacon’s wife.  She and I had only had 1 or 2 brief conversations before (and sadly none since :( ) but she was someone I respected and who I had heard through the grapevine had high ideals. 

I cannot remember the exact words she said – but I do remember she asked me a lot of questions.  “How do you feel about the dress you wore to church Sunday?” Ummm…fine.   “Do you think it was too short?”  Ummm…no.  “Do you think wearing your shoulders out is okay for other men to see while they are trying to worship?” Hmmm…I guess.  “Don’t you think your high heels with your toes out are a bit much?” …haven’t really thought about my shoes before (and by the way I did not agree with her on this point – I kept my shoes :) ). Then she said she could see my slip…well I had not worn a slip with that dress because my slip was not short enough to go under it -so she was wrong on that one detail.  That was one point for me. lol!!! 

We talked a bit longer – she explained that being a deacon’s wife meant I would be held to a higher standard.  I felt AWFUL and embarrassed and I apologized and we hung up.  I quickly found the dress and threw it into the trash can and cried.

I was humbled and learned a lot that day.  I was forced to grow up and take seriously my clothing choices.  I was no longer the teeny bopper I once was – I was a mother, Bible study leader and a deacon’s wife.  I sensed God nudging me towards holiness and in his graciousness he allowed this woman to speak into my life and wake me up.

So what did I learn from this woman:

1.  Confrontation is NOT easy to receive but she was right AND she had done it in the right way. 

I appreciated that she called me (confrontation is not easy) and talked to me about it rather than going to other deacon wives and gossiping about me or worse going to the pastor.  (If you have a problem with another woman never go to the pastor first about it – go to the person – it’s Biblical – see these instructions in Matthew 18:15-20).  The only thing I would have changed about her confrontation would have been in the coming months.  When I saw her I felt shame…we would pass in the hall and she never asked me how I was or how my baby was – I would have liked for her to befriend me but that friendship never budded and eventually her family would leave our church. 

2. My heart is reflected in the way I dress. 

Though my heart did not have bad intentions that is not how I was perceived.  I was perceived as immature and as not loving my brothers in Christ purely.  Since my clothing was misrepresenting my heart, I needed to change the way I dress.

3. Young moms need to test their clothes differently than the typical woman. 

When I buy clothes I look in the mirror and check – is it too short? too tight?  or too low cut?  I test all of this standing up in the dressing room in front of a mirror.  BUT young moms can end up in strange positions when caring for our children.  We have to bend down to pull our kids out of carriers – which means skirts go up even shorter or necklines can hang down open.  Babies and toddlers pull on shirts – which means there’s potential for a shirt to be pulled down or off the shoulder…in front of the dads who are dropping their kids off in the nursery.  I have worked in the nursery every other Sunday for nearly 5 years – so I do the shirt and skirt check regularly.  If a dress is loose on top, I just put a tank under it – if it’s a little short for bending down I wear leggings.  I encourage you to test your clothes before wearing them! :)

4. Be on guard against the lies and deception that the world feeds us through magazines and media

In Genesis 3:1-7 we see Satan tempted Eve to take the fruit. He did not put the fruit in her hand and he certainly did not put the fruit into her mouth. All Satan did was tell Eve lies and she became a believer of those lies. Then Eve saw the fruit with her eyes, took it with her hands and then ate it. Then she became Adam’s tempter.

So often we as women – first see the fashion trends and in our desire to be attractive begin to buy into the lies that immodesty is attractive. So just as Eve, we see the clothes and desire to have them. Once we have bought into Satan’s lies it won’t be long before the clothes are hanging in our closet and we are tempting men to have impure thoughts by our sinful choices.

So what do we do?

Summer is here – this is when the most skin shows.  I encourage you to really pray and ponder the clothes that are hanging in your closet.  If the Lord is convicting you about something you should not wear – do not wear it – be bold and toss it in the trash can!  God will be glorified!

Walk with the King,

 

My Views on Modesty & WLWW Link-Up Party!

Last week the issue of modesty came up when I wrote the brave story of Kylie Bisutti - I applauded her for stepping down from her very high profile and high paying position at Victoria Secret.  This post opened a can of worms for some readers as modesty becamse the topic of some of the comments…which I moderated (and I know I frustrated some of you – I apologize :( ). 

As a result, a couple emails came in asking me to write on the topic of modesty.  So let me direct you to a post I wrote last spring titled:

 Spring Fashions and Modesty  - this is a summation of my thoughts on that topic.

In the past, I have also featured Rachel Lee Carter’s Video from ModelingChrist.com and I’d like to share it again here because it completely captures my heart and thoughts on modesty!

 

My very good friend Karen Ehman is featuring an interview of Kylie and a giveaway of Rachel’s book on her blog today! 

She is giving away a few copies of Rachel’s book titled Fashioned by Faith and Shari Braendel’s book Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad

To enter to win – leave a comment on her post at KarenEhman.com.

Now It’s link-up time!

It’s Women Living Well’s Wednesday Link-Up Party!!!

Join the fun, do a little blog hopping and don’t forget if you join below -please add the Women Living Well Wednesdays button to your post so your readers can find us here! (Posts can include the topics of marriage, parenting, homemaking, finances, recipes, organization and more!)


To find the code go to the sidebar – or right click and “save as” the button and then upload it into your post! :)

Walk with the King!

Spring Cleaning Your Facebook Account

During the year of 2010, 250 million NEW people joined Facebook bringing the total users on Facebook at the end of 2010 to 600 million! Facebook is growing and the pressure to be there is not going away.  It’s the new front porch.Last summer I went on evening runs through my new neighborhood and it was the dogs, crickets and me outside.  Everyone else seemed to be inside enjoying their family, air conditioning, computers, and televisions.  I thought – I know my friends on Facebook, blogland and twitterville better than my next door neighbors!

So let me preface all that I am about to say about Facebook with this statement: Technology is neutral.  It can be used for good or bad.  We, the sinners, determine whether we are going to use it for good or evil.
I personally enjoy Facebook but for those who regularly participate we can find secret sins creeping in – or worse – our sinful heart is revealed for all to see. And I wonder if we should PAUSE and do some spring cleaning in this area of our lives.

 

I Timothy 5:13 warns young women about becoming  “idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips andbusybodies, saying what they should not.” ESV   

Facebook is an easy place for women to become idle and busy bodies.  So Let’s Ask Ourselves:

Am I using Facebook to complain about my husband, children, the weather etc?

Am I measuring my worth based on how many friends I have?

Am I portraying a fake reality?

Am I addicted to checking my page every 30 minutes?

Have I used a sharp tongue toward someone and need to apologize?

Do I have some bikini shots up from 5 years ago that need deleted? (read my modesty post here)

Am I married and flirting with a guy (other than my husband) on Facebook?

Am I married and developing a deep emotional connection with a man other than my husband on Facebook (read my post about this here)?

Am I ignoring my children or husband to hang out on the front porch?

Do I feel excluded from some of my friends when they post pictures together and get jealous?

Am I feeling envious of someone’s house, car, clothes, friendships, status, looks etc?

Am I distracted in my daily life by a Facebook debate?

Am I malicious when I respond to someone with thoughts that oppose mine?

Am I using my status updates to brag?

Am I using the information I’ve read on Facebook to gossip with friends in real life about a friend on Facebook?

Look at this extensive list of dangers that exist each time we log onto Facebook!  Did you realize all the temptations that Facebook opens up for you?  I honestly did not the first time I created my account.  Yet – as I sat down to write this post these thoughts came pouring out of my mind in rapid fire.  Why?  Because I’ve either participated in the above sins or have been troubled as I have watched Christian sisters pulled into these danger zones.

Dear Christian sisters – we are followers of Christ – our Facebook accounts must reflect this!  We are the salt and light of the world – our Facebook updates must look different from the rest of the worlds.

I’m not saying that every status update must be a Bible verse or hymn.  BUT I am saying that our lives are not our own.  We belong to Jesus and so our finger tapping must reflect his heart – not ours.  Let’s let Jesus permeate everything we do – from loving our husbands and children to hanging out on the front porch.  Pray for your friends, encourage them, be bold and share what you read in your quiet time, respond to friends in crisis, connect with missionaries and encourage them, pass on a blog link to a blog post you read today (hint hint lol!!!), or a youtube that speaks truth into your friend’s lives.

And a good rule of thumb to follow is – no Facebook until you’ve read THE BOOK and have had some face to face time with your Heavenly Father.  You will need to be saturated in his truth to handle the onslaught of temptation and ministry that is presented to you everyday on Facebook.  I’m praying for you sisters!  Let’s make a difference for the glory of God on Facebook!

Walk with the King!

Spring Fashions and Modesty

(This image is taken from NewYork&Company.com. This is one of my favorite stores where I shop the sale rack.)
The fashion magazines are at it again. They entice us with the newest and hottest summer trends and along with that they usher in a vast array of immodest and indecent clothing.

Malls are packed with clothes that do not cover the body in a modest way. I’ll be honest, I have those moments where I take an outfit to the dressing room, try it on, realize it’s immodest but love it. Then the war begins in my mind. “It’s not so bad. Maybe I could just wear it on vacation where no one from church would see me?”… These are tempting thoughts that end in dishonor to God if I believe them.

In Genesis 3:1-7 we see Satan tempted Eve to take the fruit. He did not put the fruit in her hand and he certainly did not put the fruit into her mouth. All Satan did was tell Eve lies and she became a believer of those lies. Then Eve saw the fruit with her eyes, took it with her hands and then ate it. Then she became Adam’s tempter.

So often we as women – first see the fashion trends and in our desire to be attractive begin to buy into the lies that immodesty is attractive. So just as Eve, we see the clothes and desire to have them. Once we have bought into Satan’s lies it won’t be long before the clothes are hanging in our closet and we are tempting men to have impure thoughts by our sinful choices.

So what is a Christian woman to do?

In I Timothy 2:9 and10 we are told what to adorn ourselves with. “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes but with good works, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

Here’s the challenge: add a fashion accessory to your spring wardrobe – “good works”! Do you have this accessory ready for the spring season?

Jerry Bridges calls good works – “deliberate deeds that are helpful to others” (The Practice of Godliness). They are acts of kindness that are evidence of our salvation. These are essential for a godly woman to have.

So here are a couple of questions I’ve borrowed from CJ Mahaney that we as women need to consider:

Which do you think about more – shopping or good works?

What are you most noticed for – what you wear or your kind deeds?

What is most eye-catching about you – your clothing or your character?

The woman who is seeking to gain attention and praise for her physical body, as an immodest woman does, is not seeking to glorify God but herself. A godly woman who is devoted to good works will reflect glory back to God.

I want to encourage you to clothe yourself with good works this spring –let your inner beauty radiate and God will be glorified.

Walk with the King!