Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Modesty and Intent

Lately it has come to my attention that the term modesty has started to be thrown around rather loosely. People feel that as long as they are not showing off their skin, they are being modest. Or that as long as they are wearing long skirts and long shorts or jeans they are being modest. Yet there is a whole different side to modesty that is being neglected.

Our intent. Our intentions. The reasons behind why we wear what we wear and act the way we act. We can wear pants and shirts that cover our hips and still be immodest. We can even wear long skirts and loose fitting, long-sleeved tops that cover just about every inch of our skin and show no shape underneath and still be immodest. It all comes down to our behavior and intentions. A girl can wear a full Muslim headcovering (the kind that only shows her eyes) and still be immodest if she does not watch her deportment. A girl can even watch her deportment and dress modestly, but then do things for all the wrong reasons.

This often comes up for me when I'm discussing fashion with my friends. I have much stricter standards of dress code than most of them. I like my shirts long, so that they fall to my hips. This way, I don't have worry about sitting down, and the back of my shirt riding up and exposing my back, and potentially my undergarments etc. If a tee does not come down long enough, I make sure to wear a camisole underneath that DOES reach down far enough for my comfort level.I don't like my clothes to be too tight, or too low cut. I don't wear short shorts, and I don't wear pants or blouses that are too tight. Form-fitting is fine, but tight is definitely not. Right now however, is the hardest time for me because it's summer. Living in Florida, it is HOT and I find it very difficult to find outfits that are appropriately modest, without being frumpy, and without being too warm to wear in our awful heat.

I wear a lot of skirts in summer. Mostly because skirts work well in winter to keep you warm, and work well in summer to keep you cool. I think they are amazing for being able to do both. My family went to ICE, an even they do at a hotel down here, and it's made up entirely of ice sculptures. So, they have to keep the temperature at about 9 degrees for everything to stay ice while everyone is walking through. They do provide heavy winter coats for all of us Floridians, which is a blessing. I went wiht my family, and I was the only one in a skirt. I put pantyhose on underneath for a little extra warmth. My father, brother, step-mother and hubby all had on jeans. I was without a doubt the warmest of all of them. I went down the ice slide twice, and still didn't really feel very cold. Everyone else was freezing. And the only difference in clothing was the skirt. Otherwise, we were equally covered. I wear that same skirt now in the summer and feel very comfortable in it. Skirts are awesome. Shirts are usually pretty easy to deal with, as are tank tops etc. Style sometimes suffers because it is difficult sometimes to find a tee and skirt combo that doesn't look akward or too dressy. However, one thing that comes around every summer that I dread is the hunt for a bathing suit

As I said, fashion has always been a touchy subject between me and a lot of my friends. I even see it among a lot of Christian women today. Not just in their choices of clothes, but definitely in their reasons for choosing their clothing. A lot of women I have noticed, often keep themselves covered, but then wear very tight clothes. They are so concerned with looking nice and fashionable, and being attractive, they don't realize that their motives are not entirely from a pure place. I know I struggle with this every single day myself. Why am I choosing this outfit? Is it because it is modest FIRST and fashionable second? Or am I choosing it to look attractive to the opposite sex? There is nothing wrong with looking pretty. But there is something wrong when we are so stressed about how we look purely to be attractive to the opposite sex, or to attract men to us.

There is a fine line that I am currently learning how to walk. A fine line between looking prettyand healthy, and looking sexy. It's not always easy to walk that line either. I sometimes make mistakes and show too much cleavage, or my skirt rides up to be a little too short. All because I stop thinking about what God wants from me, and I start to focus too much on what society deems to be pretty. What the secular world tells me I should look like.

It's the same with my weight struggles. Am I looking to lose weight to fit into some standard of beauty, or am I trying to lose weight to be healthy? I can't honestly say that it is for the latter and the latter only. There are times when I just want to feel accepted by others. We all go through this. It's why we are instructed to surround ourselves with fellow believers who are "like-minded" so that we do not keep falling back into sin. We are too keep each other accountable for our actions.

"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25)

The Bible instructs us to do this. To band together, and to support one another in our efforts to follow God's Word. To not allow ourselves to be consumed by what the world wants us to wear and be like. To support one another as we walk the straight and narrow. I think us women need to be able to support each other not only in keeping our faith in God, but in keeping faith through our actions. We need to keep each other accountable in our fashion choices, and keep our modesty. We need other to help us to keep our modesty. We don't all have wonderful husbands, fathers or brothers around to instruct us when things may be too tight or too low cut. While they truly are the best people to turn to, us women also need to be there to look out for each other and to gently and lovingly instruct each other in how we should dress and behave. As well as keep each other accountable as to why we are behaving and dressing in that manner. Maybe by banding together we can all stay on that fine line where we are both modest and pretty?


Sarah Ann said...

wow. I love this. I really want to share your thoughts with others sometimes. You really think about these things more than most people I know. Thank you.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much! Some people would probably say that I overthink when it comes to this particular topic, but I appreciate that you appreciate my thoughts. and please, share my thoughts, just give me credit for them :-P

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