A Journey Towards Modesty
I think all of us have certain topics that we don't let ourselves think too much about, either because they bring us stress, make us uncomfortable, or are complicated and require extensive time and energy.
For me, a topic that I didn't let myself think about too much was modesty.
"Behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency."
To be honest, modesty was always a subject that would trigger an automatic eye-roll from me. Even bringing the topic up felt outdated, irritating, and unnecessary to me. Even now I feel like a Debbie-downer bringing it up! But something in my life has changed, and it's brought about a whole new conviction in me. What happened?
Beckley was born.
To be specific, when I'm saying "modesty" I am referring to modesty in how we clothe ourselves. Modesty in behavior or lifestyle is a whole other topic for another day!
When I had Beckley, something changed in me and how I viewed clothing. I started thinking about the example I wanted to set for my daughter, the values I want to teach her, the confidence and self worth I want to foster in her, and how clothing and how we dress ourselves can play an integral part in that.
I want her to know that she can dress modestly and still feel confident. She can keep her body for herself and still be beautiful. She can celebrate her femininity without sacrificing her modesty.
Let me say that again, for all of us.
We can celebrate our femininity without sacrificing our modesty.
Likewise, men can celebrate their masculinity without sacrificing their own modesty either (but again, another topic for another day).
For the sake of transparency, I had brushed the topic of modesty under the rug. I knew Christ called us to humility and modesty in all areas of our lives, but this was an area I wasn't ready to tackle quite yet.
I mean, I enjoyed wearing skinny jeans and body-con dresses and bikinis and v-neck anything. They were flattering, I looked good, I FELT good, and you best believe I enjoyed the appreciative eyes my husband would give me too. 😂 (To clarify, I don't dress for the approval of others, and neither should you, but who doesn't enjoy being told they look dang good by their s.o.?)
By American standards, I still dressed conservatively. Have you seen what is normal attire down in Miami?!
I felt like I was doing fine, despite the growing nudges I felt in the back of my mind that I knew were Christ trying to get my attention. I let those nudges go to voicemail.
"Hello, this is Katie! I 'can't' talk about dressing modestly right now, please leave your message after the beep. I'll get back to you whenever I feel like it. Thanks!"
In more literal words, I hadn't submitted how I dressed to God.
"Lord, may she love you and desire you over anything or anyone."
This is a prayer I prayed over Beckley every day I was pregnant with her, and I continue to pray every day now. I acknowledge that Beckley is not my own--she is God's--and I am simply a servant of the Lord tasked with the upbringing of one of His precious children.
I want to do right by Him, and I want to set the best example I can for her.
So how am I supposed to encourage her to submit to Him in dress, if I won't? The hypocrisy of that scenario is bitter and real.
You see, someday she will be old enough to know the Lord and make decisions in faith concerning how she dresses for herself. But until that happens, she will be looking at me for an example of what is right, what is appropriate, and what is desirable.
This realization has spurred a transition in me. I now no longer shy away from the subject of modesty, and instead dive deep into scriptures, learning intently what our Father has to say.
"13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died." | Romans 14: 13-19
Yes, this verse is specifically referring to food and drink and is often used as an example for healthy alcohol practices, but I believe it can also be applied to other areas of our lives, such as for example, how we dress.
I am not responsible for what happens in another person's mind or heart, or their actions. But Scriptures says I am responsible for not causing another brother or sister to stumble. I am to act in love and be mindful of my actions and how they may affect someone else. To keep it short, I'm not responsible for a guy's actions if he catcalls me on the street or stares at my breasts inappropriately, but I am responsible for not dressing in a way that could cause someone to think or act inappropriately, be that family, friend, or stranger.
So the next logical question is, what is the standard for dressing modestly? How do we gauge whether an outfit is loving or not?
I don't have all the answers and will never pretend to, but here is some food for thought...
Does the outfit accentuate any popularly sexual parts of my body? (i.e. boobs, butt, abdomen, upper thighs).
This can be tricky because for every part of the human body there is someone who will find it sexy. Have a big toe? Someone will find that sexy. Have a shoulder? Someone else will find that super sexy. The idea isn't to cover every area that could possibly be a stumbling block, but rather focus on dressing the traditionally sexy areas that are most likely to be stumbling blocks for others. Again, we do this out of love for others, not because there is anything wrong with having a butt, boobs, thighs, or abs.
Does the outfit make me feel confident?
This is so important! Regardless of what you're wearing, you should feel confident, beautiful, and worthy. If you're wearing something and you feel like a sack of potatoes, it's not for you. Keep trying different options until you find what is flattering for your body and helps you feel amazing.
Remember, you can celebrate your femininity without sacrificing your modesty.
Ultimately, do your own research and make your own choices.
Good gave us free will for a reason, ya'll. Make your own decisions! I'm deciding to take a step towards dressing more modestly, and I genuinely believe more people should do so as well, but that doesn't mean I'm going to judge someone for not doing so. Your life is full of your choices, all I suggest is that you make them with intention.