I heard a Muslim woman, dressed in her garb, who was asked, “Why do you dress in that?” She said, “If there was a candy bar wrapped and a candy bar unwrapped on the counter, which one would you eat?” A woman replied, “The wrapped one.” “Exactly,” the Muslim woman said. I thought that was interesting and then saw this post, and enjoyed it from a favorite of mine, The Better Mom.
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Lately it seems the word ‘modesty’ ranks with the likes of ancient concepts like, oh, chivalry. I mean, it’s 2012. Does anyone REALLY worry about modesty anymore? We’ve been liberated. It’s not about what we wear. As women, we can do what we want, be who we want to be, and parade around in any attire we so choose. We need not have any regard for how it makes other people feel. We fought for this ‘freedom’, didn’t we?
Hmph. We’re more sexually objectified and oppressed than we’ve ever been, all in the name of liberty. And modesty – where is modesty? Some women want to know. I mean, what are we to do with culture when it comes to what we wear?
As Moms, how do we honor God, our children, our husbands, and ourselves? Where do we stand in this mess that says ‘hot moms’ have it all and frumpy ones should just stay home in their jogging pants? Really, where do we stand?
For me, it comes down to this:
“Am I dressing attractively or dressing to attract?”
The concept was mentioned in a great book by Josh Harris. In fact, it was his wife who made the statement and I agree completely in her wisdom. She challenged women to look in the mirror and ask the question: “Am I dressing attractively (so I look presentable and suited to the occasion/setting) or dressing TO ATTRACT (to attract extra attention to myself)?”
I think there are a lot of Christian women who don’t understand how the way they dress affects the people around them. My attitude really changed when I started thinking about modesty as a love thing. I think we often attribute dressing nice as something positive, which it can be. But it can also often mean dressing to display ourselves.
We talk about vanity but we don’t often talk about love as it relates to this topic. The bible teaches strongly against causing others to stumble. It really does come down to how we show love to others in ALL we do. Men are visual, period. As Christian women, we ought to be thinking about how we can dress as to NOT attract that ‘attention’ that causes men to stumble. And also, I believe it is extremely important to show respect to the Mothers and the wives of the men in the room by dressing appropriately. This is the loving thing to do, and we are called to love.
I know many readers will be wondering what it means to be modest. Can I just be open and say – I am so uncomfortable with posts and articles that outline step by step instructions for how to dress modestly or for “biblical womanhood”. Matters of the heart are between us and God. Our convictions may be different and thank goodness we serve a God of grace unending. I don’t want to type out criteria for what I believe would qualify as ‘modest’ in a girl’s wardrobe. I don’t want to offend people and, really? Who am I? If you are seeking God and asking Him to reveal His will for you on this topic, He will. He gives wisdom to those who ask for it in His name and for His purposes.
For a LONG time I struggled with this issue. The need to feel wanted by men. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. If you are struggling with this desire, please, pray about it and talk to a strong woman of faith about your feelings. I know this is a huge topic, and I was moved by so many women who contacted me and discussed how they related closely with a post I wrote called, “Hot Mom Syndrome.” God has taken me on quite the journey – because I asked for it. For me, I know in my heart if what I’m wearing is appropriate because I feel it in my spirit. There’s nothing wrong with being stylish, but it can be done with modesty. We all want to be neat, tidy, clean, and feel good about ourselves, sure…
But isn’t there a much higher calling for us, far beyond feeling ‘good’ about the way we look? We must grow a deep desire to consistently show love to other women and ultimately, to our brothers in life, by remaining humble and modest in the way we dress and the way we act. If we cling to Jesus and walk in His ways, it is our heart that will radiate beauty… He is the only one who can truly make us shine.