With summer around the corner, I wanted to talk about modesty again. If you’re interested, read my last post on this topic: Beautifully Modest.
Personally, I’ve always had a sense of modesty, and am pretty conservative in the way I dress (if we’re looking at the culture in general, that is.) The hem of my skirts and dresses usually fall at least to my knees. I wear knee-length shorts, or sometimes a few inches above the knee. I try to keep the necklines of my shirts fairly high to avoid gaping and such. And I generally avoid clothing that is too clingy or tight (though pants can be hard since the style these days is very fitted.) I don’t wear leggings as main bottoms, bikinis, etc.
So yes. When I look around and consider what most people wear, I feel pretty modest. And I usually feel comfortable with what I’m wearing and how I’m presenting myself.
Of course, there are still often times when I’m just not sure. Bathing suits? It’s so hard to figure out what’s actually modest when it comes to those. Is this shirt showing too much skin/have too small of straps for being out and about in town? What is actually showing too much skin? Is this dress too clingy?
I believe the Bible very much promotes modesty – but it doesn’t exactly give us a manual.
The more I think on it, the more I believe that modesty and purity truly start in the heart. In your thoughts. In your private life, and inner dreams and desires.
When Jesus Christ is the desire of a woman’s heart and she is wholeheartedly seeking the Lord, I don’t think she needs to stress and panic about modesty.
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Yes, certainly be informed. Humble. Wise. Have a teachable spirit.
But when we’re walking by the Spirit, we don’t have to be afraid and live in bondage. We can trust Him to lead us, guide us, mold us, convict us.
Maybe we’re getting too consumed with outward appearance and forgetting the inside.
A girl dressed in short shorts might have a more modest heart than the girl wearing a long, full skirt. Maybe the girl in the skirt is sticking to the rules, but she presents herself in a sensual, flirty way – her heart consumed with self and lust and all manner of worldly passions that she’s taken no care to root out.
It starts in the heart. A heart surrendered to Jesus Christ. And then He can began to work in us. To sanctify and perfect us. Maybe He will convict you about an attitude of the heart, or maybe about the scanty clothing you’re wearing that don’t rightly reflect Him and who you are as His daughter.
Don’t let this issue of modesty steal your joy and hope in Christ.
Modesty isn’t what makes us good, Christian women. Purity isn’t what makes us good, Christian women.
Christ is who makes us good, Christian women.
33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Modesty is a big, controversial subject. And, sometimes, a painful one.
I’ve talked with sisters and brothers in Christ about modesty and I truly appreciate those conversations. I would like to have more!
But I’ve also heard comments and been told things that are hurtful. Things that make me wonder …
Men, do you see me first as a child of God, or a temptation?
A sister in Christ, or an object?
Do you see me as a friend and care about my heart, or are you always stuck on what I’m wearing? If my dress is a tad too short or there’s maybe a little too much skin exposed somewhere?
Don’t you see my smile? My gesture of friendliness and welcome? The genuine joy I feel from hearing from you, my brother, my friend?
When men stress and go on about modesty, it can start to make me feel objectified. That I’m more a body than a soul.
It’s one thing to thank a girl for dressing modestly and encourage her in that. A total different thing to make her feel condemned, afraid, and confused – like she’s responsible for your sin … And make her always fearful that she might be tempting you.
Not that I’m trying to undermine men’s struggles. I know that God created men to admire a woman’s body – a beautiful thing He created for within the covenant of marriage.
And I know that many, many women go around flaunting their bodies in a very sexual and sensual way. A way that doesn’t honor God, or cherish and respect what God designed for marriage alone.
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
But, guys, please remember that there are also a lot of women out there who do desire to honor God, respect men, and present themselves in a beautiful, non-sensual way.
But it’s hard. Our culture, our clothing designers promote the sexy way of dress. And then there are so many opinions of what is modest! It’s hard to know what is actually supposed to be covered, and what is just a man-made rule that perhaps promotes rather than discourages the objectification of a woman’s body.
In my personal opinion, it seems like common sense to keep all the area from one’s chest to a good portion of one’s thighs covered – including the midriff! I’m not a fan of crop tops and such that give peeks at the stomach or show off the bellybutton. But shoulders, knees, a little bit of your upper back … it depends.
Different people have different convictions. People see modesty differently – no matter if we’re adamant that everything should be black and white. So we have to be careful with our rules and our words.
I’ve had people say things about the way I dress that hurt me. Someone once said something I wore was a stupid choice on my part, more or less.
Yes, this dress showed a little more skin around my shoulders and upper back than I’d normally show, but it very well covered everything I’m firmly convicted about covering. And truthfully, when I wore it was one of the few times I felt like God’s princess. I was in a sorta-healing-but-still-struggling stage of life, and I just remember a peace about that evening – I simply believed it was God’s gift to me. It had been bathed in prayer and worked out when I thought it wouldn’t. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time … dress up in a pretty dress and go to a social event. I remember thinking often that night: Is God honored in this? In that? And I just had this peace that He was and I was okay.
Later, I thought: If Jesus had walked into that room that night, what would I have done?
Hid? Tried to cover up some more? Wait awkwardly in the shadows?
No, my heart said. I would shamelessly run into His arms, knowing He loved me. I was confident He wouldn’t measure how much shoulder or back was exposed, but He would see my heart and know my intentions were pure. He would just see me – His daughter, His sister, His servant, His friend, His beloved – and He would smile at me in the way that gives me my security.
Friends, as a woman, I freely admit that I want to look beautiful. But I truly don’t want to look sexy, sensual, or temptingly alluring. That I want to save for my husband alone.
So I try to be modest, and then just leave it in God’s hands – knowing that He sees my heart and it is His Spirit that leads me.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
And sometimes I do have to ask Him to create a clean heart within me! I’m not perfect, and all you women who struggle, know you are not alone.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
But know, first and foremost, that He loves you. And know He is faithful to create a clean heart within the surrendered woman.
Lady Grace ❤
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.