Friday, April 17, 2009

Modesty - An Act of the Heart

Olivia recently wrote a post called “Modesty and Pride”. Modesty is difficult to define, and even harder to apply to your personal life. Because of this, I decided to write my perspective on the subject. I believe the best way to finding true modesty is to examine your heart—in Christ, all of our answers lie. The answer to modesty is not laid out in black and white; but with our Father’s voice inside of a chaste and moldable heart, the grey fog can become a work of art.

For the new Christian, developing young woman, etc. modesty can be completely confusing. When I first started to develop a womanly figure, I didn’t know what to do with it. I grew up on a farm, and for the first 10 years of my life my typical garb consisted of overalls, a sweatshirt, and rubber boots. I was never into fashion, because I had no one to tell me that fashion was important…my best friends were (and still are) my family, and they were the only people I cared to please.

When did this change? Well, it’s hard to say exactly when, but as I neared my teen years, I met a few girls who dressed more fashionably than I did. I found myself constantly trying to impress them. At this time, I started trying to weasel my momma into buying me a pair of low rise, flared jeans by claiming that “they were more comfortable” and “I was all about comfort”. What was wrong with this? Was it the fact that I wanted to wear fashionable blue jeans?

The truth is I don’t believe modesty can be physically defined accurately. We are supposed to be set apart as daughters of the Almighty God—but how do we achieve that? Are we supposed to dress in only jumpers and tennis shoes? Are we supposed to quit wearing makeup? Are we supposed to wear our hair long? I’m not here to say that the people who do those things are wrong. If that is what you have been convicted is right, then I commend you. As long as you are in passionate pursuit of Christ’s favor, then you are righteous in His eyes.

I constantly come back to the importance of the new covenant. With Christ’s death, our heart attitude was given the upmost importance in the acquisition of righteousness. So, when determining what is “modest”, what we really need to be asking ourselves is “Why do I want to wear this?” This can apply to both fashionable and conservative clothing. I know, from my family’s experience, that it is easy to get caught up in the pride of being “holy”. In Christ’s eyes, this is the very definition of an immodest heart. What may physically appear to be the “holier” way is often the result of a soul that craves the feeling of being noticed. God is more interested in our hearts. If our hearts are focused on pleasing God, our clothing will be a little thing. God wants our hearts to be constantly yearning with every little ounce of fervor that they hold to honor Him in everything that they do.

Dressing in something that fits our personality isn’t sinful—it’s actually a good way for people to get a feel for who we are. I dress in my favorite fashions all the time…it feels good to look nice. Is my motive to make people look at me? There are days that I think too much about that, and I have to confess that to God—but should that make me abandon all prompting for self control and examination that Christ so desires us to give ourselves? I want to beat the odds, not crawl in a hole and cower at the first sign of sunlight threatening to burn my virgin skin. I want people who haven’t found Christ to look at me as someone that they can relate to, but also someone that has something that they don’t—something that they want. Life with Christ is eternal gain! What we choose to wear is so miniscule in comparison to that fact. Dressing in something that suits our taste isn’t any different than decorating our house with furniture we like, or listening to music that brings us inspiration or makes us smile. To me, modesty is, of course, partly about covering parts that might cause a male to lust, but modesty is also about showing discretion. Modesty doesn’t mean looking drab or frumpy, but rather looking like we care more about what God sees in us than what other people see on us. If we live life for the glory of Life, everything else will fall into place.

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I am deeply encouraged by this, Abigail. After reading this one post and then reading about you and Olivia, I must tell you that this verse in 1 Peter is my verse for 2009. I am 61 years old! I spent so many years of my life 'trying' to be what others wanted me to be. When Jesus became my LORD, He became the Only One Whom I needed to please. My precious husband of 16 years is under the umbrella of our LORD; thus pleasing him is also pleasing to the LORD.
    Your fine definition of 'modesty' is a beautiful picture of the trail my life of change has taken: from the outer shell to my beating heart that I gave to Jesus. What God sees 'in' me is truly the key, rather than what others see 'on' me. Thank you. And your blog blesses the older generation too! : )
    ~ linda

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  3. Abigail, I liked how you pointed out that what fashions you wear,... is no different than decorating your house with furniture you like,...it tells a little bit about you. As does our music, and what we watch on TV, and what we like to eat etc.

    I think sometimes we worry too much about this kind of stuff, instead of just giving ourselves to God and letting Him do with us what He will.

    Of course modesty is important for obvious reasons,...but style and fashion is not sinful if it is not too revealing, or too tight, too short etc.

    Even older women should dress wisely. But especially a beautiful YOUNG lady would not want to cause someone to lust after her.

    So, I think there are fun, and stylish clothes that would be appropriate,...and some that wouldn't be. Our hearts know the difference and so we should listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit too.

    I love you and I appreciate all of the thought you put in to your posts. I love how you want to be true to yourself and who you are, but that you also want to please your heavenly Father.

    You have that "Imperishable Beauty!"
    Love, Grandma

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  4. This was very helpful! Thanks for sharing this! :)

    ~Sara

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  5. i would be honored to donate some of my pictures!!! yeah just tell me what kinda stuff you'd like :)

    beautiful post by the way!

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  6. I just stumbled across your blog and I love this post! It is so very encouraging.

    ~Zoe

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  7. Very insightful post. Thank you so much.

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  8. I really enjoyed reading this post--it brought a whole new perspective to modesty that most people don't think about. Thank you for sharing Abigail!

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