Clothing, Fashion, Femininity: Things that are important to most women in the modern world. The recent uproar over the burkini has men and women debating the battle of what females should and should not wear in public on a global level. I love how women are banning together over this cause, excepting one another’s right to live as they see fit. I love even more how it has brought the spotlight to the touchy subject of sexism and how basically, cover too much or cover too little, women are subject to ridicule for their appearance.
Working in fashion, as well as being a Christian and wife, the topic of modesty has led me on a heartfelt search for wisdom and discernment. There was a time when I thought I had this all figured out, of course. I had a born again experience in my own life when I was 22 years old. I always considered myself a Christian, but my early twenties proved to be a real time of transformation as I began to seek and hear from God in a much more personal way. My mother had always been my rock for spirituality, but at her sudden passing when I was 21, I found myself desperate for my own revelations. Far from perfect in my early walk, I was however devoted to the studying of scriptures and spending time in the house of God.
Shortly after, literally 3 months into my awakening, in walks my husband on the scene. It wasn’t much time that we ever spent apart from our first meeting and we were married shortly after. As a new Christian wife, my plan was complete modesty. I dressed in a manner that deterred glances and stares from other men. I searched for clothing that would keep me “covered” as a nursing mom, but the local stores left me disappointed. I carried scarfs and shawls everywhere I went, even covering my head in church because I believed it was what God wanted of me. My heart was fixed on doing it right and I even went to the extreme of having clothes tailored especially for me to nurse in without having to expose my midsection.
All would have been well and good, if I lived during the 1800’s. There was only one big problem with my determined mindset to be what I deemed Godly in appearance, my husband hated it. To give him credit, he tried to hear me out and understand my woes of lifting up my shirt to nurse in low-cut jeans (which were such a craze at the time, it was nearly impossible to find a fashionable higher waisted fit). He sympathized with how I wasn’t trying to get stares as I walked our kids and dog around the neighborhood most afternoons, but the truth was, he wanted me to dress the way he liked. He didn’t want me to look trashy or too seductive or be exposed, no. But he did want me to look modern, feminine and, yes, even sexy. And as much peace as I found covering up, I realized I could not and would not change the tastes and likes of those around me. I learned that being modest as a law left my heart hard and indifferent to those nearest to me, most importantly to my lover. I had false piety and I looked down on others who did not go to the lengths I did to remain a non-temptation to men in society. Many tears and years of this internal battle, I have come to the conclusion that it’s OK to please my husband in how I dress and while I don’t take modesty lightly, God made us to be who we are. We dress for the lives we live. Most days of my life that is casual work apparel. I am cleaning and cooking and changing diapers and bathing babies and cutting grass, 7 days a week I am on the move. I’ve learned to dress for life, my life.
Ephesians 5:22-24 KJV
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Is it that simple? I think so. Of course we must obey God rather than man, and to be biblical, modesty concerns specifically the areas of our bodies from the shoulders to the knees. These areas are the attention-getting and ever so luring features to the opposite sex. The real issue here in this debate is that women are sexy. Their feminine curves ooze the essence of life. Our bodies are powerful, and whether we cover them or uncover them, that power is what people fear. So if you’re like me and you’re trying to get this whole beauty-fashion-modesty thing right, just remember the next time you question your own style, it is your power they’re watching. Use it for good.
1 Peter 3:3-4 King James Version (KJV)
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.