I was sick all last week, so I used it as an excuse to abandon the housekeeping ship and work on projects instead. I find that when I don’t want to clean my kitchen (I’m sick, very sick) I can still come up with enough motivation to paint bookshelves. I would work for a little bit, and then go lay down, and then work a little more. It kept me busy and made me feel like I got something done. Even though the excess of graphic evidence seemed to suggest otherwise. I cleaned/painted an old set of bookshelves for the garage, then I did the same trick to an old cabinet I found in the shop. I needed a place for our record player and was finally able to unpack our record collection. I put a fresh coat of paint on our picnic table (which is what I do instead of washing it). And while I was at it, I re-painted the front door, which was starting to look a little faded (same color). Then I pulled all of the clothes out of my closet and sorted them in giant piles. It had got to the point where there were no free hangers, while at the same time, half the things in my closet didn’t fit me. So really, what I am saying, that while I was sick, instead of holding the fort I would sneak out of bed and make giant messes. And then crawl back in bed right before my husband got home. I guess today I am supposed to do something about that.
But I appear to be sitting here in my jammies with my mint tea blogging…. Hey, I will get to it. I just wanted to say that while I was sick I listened to heaps and piles of podcasts and sermons. It so happened that the children were at VBS that whole week, so I could even hear what I was listening to. If it weren’t for the sinus headache it would have almost been like a mommy vacation. 🙂 While I was at it, I bumped into the only sermon on modesty I have ever liked. I was thrilled. Finally. A sermon on the worth and dignity of women and the honor their clothes afford them. I think he said something along the lines about modesty not being dull, dumpy or dowdy. It’s not about dressing down, but dressing up. “Christian modesty should be lively, beautiful, fulfilling to women, and attractive to men.” So often modesty sermons go the way of shame, instead of dignity. I think at the end he even said modesty is not about being ashamed of our bodies or being ashamed of sex, but about knowing the weight of respect those things require.
The speaker spent a while developing the words “adorn” and “modest.” Adorn comes from the same word that cosmos and cosmetics comes from, kosmeos. It means to be well arranged, well put together. Like an ornament or a fine piece of jewelry. Like the planets hung in space. In it’s proper place accounted it’s proper worth. The word used for modest was one letter different, kosmios. It focused on being rightly arranged, on being proper, suited, in it’s correct place, decent, virtuous. Women are powerful, beauty is powerful. The world wants to take the glory of that beauty and tramp it out. Who wants to go to Sephora and Forever 21? Maybe we could paraphrase by saying, “The force of your beauty shouldn’t come from elaborate make-up, fashion jewelry, and H&M.” God’s like, pull yourself together woman, you’re not a circus pony! You’re a daughter of God. Don’t let the world reduce you to a pair of skinny jeans and the right contour cream. We’re about more than that. It’s the hard stuff, the inner-self, hidden beauty, a quiet spirit, good works, virtue. It’s about knowing our place and quietly, diligently, placing ourselves there. In the right spot.
And it’s a high spot. In nature, the male is his own crown. But God has made us the glory of man. We are untouchable. We are desirable, impeccable, regal. And we should be impregnable. Unless you are ready to give us your whole life and everything you own, until you die. Then we’ll talk. That’s the look we should go for. And we should desire it. It should thrill us. That is how we can tell we have modesty wrong. When we come to it with a sigh instead of a whoop. In which case, check your heart, not your skirt length. Do you want this? Do you know who you are? And then remember, it’s not a law or a burden, it’s a privilege. I have such a hard time wanting all the goodness that is in my brain, and somehow having to reconcile it with my closet. Gah. I have to remember to be thankful for what I have, and to do the most with what I’ve been given. This year was a first in that I think I spent $100 (!) on clothes, which doubled last year’s record. Because I don’t shop unless I have to. (And I’m talking full on emotional breakdown after I’ve worn Marc’s dead grandpa’s pants for a month straight.) Otherwise, this family is clothed for free. So I should be happy, right? Right.
I don’t think my clothes are ever immodest by the world’s standards, though I often feel they are immodest by “Christian” standards. But then I kind of decided I’m not going to worry about them. When I have to go out, I am addressing the world. And with enough contrast I can still produce the message of femininity, beauty, modesty, dignity, and worth. You know, when I’m hanging out next to sweat pants in Winco. 🙂 I can do this. But that’s what I had to reconcile myself to. I may not always be able to have the long dresses I love (and no one actually seems to sell), but I can have a dress. I can be classy. I can be well put together. And I can know my heart. There is freedom in Christ, settle down in it, and do the work He calls you to. Don’t let anyone else beat you over the head with it. This is your business, do the best you can, and do it with gladness.
** My previous post on modesty is found here.