I’ve bumped into a couple posts on modesty lately. It must be the season. I was trying to think why people get all hot and bothered on the subject and where exactly the friction is coming from. I decided it must be because people’s personal standards and measures start rubbing up against other people’s, and they don’t match up perfectly. Because people don’t either. Some girls won’t wear spaghetti straps, and others won’t wear tank tops. Some won’t wear bikinis and some won’t wear swimsuits. Some wear dresses to the floor, and others figure if you can’t see their panties when they bend over, there can’t be a problem. But I think what all these girls have in common is that they want to obey. In their somewhat random efforts, they are trying to please someone other than just themselves. When they read in the Bible that God wants us to dress modestly and discreetly, they didn’t start in with excuses. They just said yes.
Sometimes I find myself wondering about the modesty of my own clothing. But usually the reason I ended up in a questionable outfit in the first place was because it was free, it was in my closet, it was hot, and hopefully no one was looking. I get a lot of hand me downs. And if you catch me in something skin tight, it’s most likely because I just had a baby and I’m too fat to fit in my clothes. NOT because I wanted to look like a later edition Brittany Spears. So while I still desire modesty, my modesty is at a different place than other people’s. But at the same time, I would welcome being more modest and I’m not afraid of the word. I’m not in a rush to jump to the excuses so I never have to wear a longer dress, so help me God. Because I believe whenever God calls us to something it’s not a bummer. It’s better. In which case, our first response should be “Yay!”
One of the things that I become more convinced of is that Christians should look different. People should know that there is something up with us, right off the bat. We should be the leaders, not the followers. And everything we do should be influenced by what we have learned about what is true. If we believe that our God is a Creator God, then our desire should be to make. Not to be molded. If we believe that God made us male and female, we should delight in our femininity. Not a denim androgyny. And if our God is the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, maybe we shouldn’t worry if our clothing was shipped right over from China in the last two seconds. We are living in eternity, not in a desperate scheme for approval and validation in the world’s fleeting now. Foxes, Navajo prints, arrow tattoos, and fringe…let’s not. Who wants to be a pawn in the same old game? Step out a little. And if we believe that God said modesty is fitting for His daughters, then maybe a few floor length skirts couldn’t hurt. Really, is it that bad?
I know, we’re all going to cry. I remember driving past the parking lot of Natural Grocer’s and seeing two young ladies walking into the store with long hair and long summer dresses. They kind of took your breath away. I was thinking to myself that no matter how hot of a Dutch Bros. barista you put next to them, they would still come out ahead. It was almost like they didn’t bear the comparison. There is just something so lovely about an embraced and well loved feminity, that’s not neck deep in with the world. Why do we not desire this more?
Because frankly, this should scare you.
I mean, especially if you were guy, because there is nothing like an Aztec romper that says, “I love you…almost as much as I love me, my spray tan, and Forever 21.” Who falls for that anyways? Oh wait, all of them. My bad. While I grant that a beautiful and feminine appearance, that speaks sweetness and light, could easily be covering bitterness and envy, I still think that being a Christian shouldn’t require a stretch of the imagination. For all I know, that could be some very Christian thigh. My guess is as good as yours. All I’m trying to say is that if all of us, who in all our different ways, believe in modesty, perhaps instead of couching everything we say about it with excuses and conditions, should try simply falling in love with it. I know Rachel Held Evans says that Christian modesty standards constrict our understanding of ourselves and our bodies, but that doesn’t mean we have to believe her. In fact, if you Google Christian modesty you get a whole slew of articles by obviously embittered women dripping with a list of their mitigating circumstances. But come now, that’s just kinda weak. Tough it up sister. Try something different. Dig your toes into the offensive line and flex some muscle. Don’t huddle in the corner making excuses about context, culture, and temperature just so we can keep on being followers. Be strange.
Because can you imagine what the world would look like if Christian women embraced traditional feminine beauty? The kind with flowing skirts, lace hankies, and wide brimmed hats? If we stood out? If people saw well loved modesty in action, not the legislated kind, but the fun, head over heels kind, I don’t think they would be so quick to reduce it to a mandatory watermark on a person’s legs. And then cry repression. Because what can compare with a lady? Certainly not hot with a side of stupid. Or maybe it’s beef with a side of denim. I can’t remember.
Modesty is a beautiful thing. It’s inimitable. No matter how fashionable a girl is, or how tight she has wound her gluteus maximus, she still looks cheap standing next to a lady, adorned as such. If you believe God when He told us modesty was to be sought after – then seek it. Not as a law, but as a glory. Set your aim high. Maybe along the way you will inspire other women to see something better. Because really, there isn’t much to choose from out there right now. Modesty paired with beauty is strangely powerful. When a man sees a hardly clad woman coming down the street his first thought might be, “Now that’s a fine POA. Dang.” And business as usual proceeds. But when he sees a lovely woman, a woman not like other women, there is conviction. Instead of staring, eyes are lowered. Because in light, people become uncomfortably aware of darkness. If, however, that tires you, really don’t bother. Half the ruckus on modesty posts are the modest girls trying to be modest, the other half are the immodest girls who are going to wear their bombshell shorties – no matter what. And if anyone has a problem with it, it’s obviously the men who can’t control their lusts. Don’t mess with my Christian liberty sista. Okay, okay. And if it’s any means of consolation, you do have a fine backside. But for the rest of you, just skip the whole conversation and go sew something in a billowing floral. Find a straw hat and some crocheted gloves. Look lovely and rub it in. Put your modesty where your mouth is and see what happens. It might be kinda fun.