The concept of a modest woman has been a discussion sitting on the tip of my tongue for awhile. Everyone has their perspective on how a lady should carry herself, and then there is seeking God’s perspective. Don’t worry I’m not going to righteously wave a finger at you for wearing clothes you feel fabulous in. Girl, you do YOU. I can only share how the Lord continues the transformation process in helping me become his version of my best self.
Salvation is simple. We surrender to Christ through repentance, accept him as our savior, which results in being welcomed as a child of God. You’d think the heart change would be instant, but no, change takes time, and until we all are partying in heaven-it never ends. On the day I gave my life back to Jesus, my outfit of choice for church was a skin-tight, short, black dress that probably made all the grannies heads spin a full 360 degrees.
At a very young age like many women, I went from flipping through magazines, scrolling feeds and relying on commentary from small-town boys (not the best resource, just saying). I felt the only way to obtain significance was to resemble sultry models while showing off my “stuff”. Once growing out of the unpleasant teenager, brace-face phase, and moving to New York City, getting what I wanted because of how I looked was like finding a hidden superpower. Scoring jobs and free coffees from cute hipster baristas came easy with a flash of a smile and strut.
Working in NYC nightlife only magnified the force of this superpower. Before a shift began, I would adjust my “uniform” making sure to accentuate every curve. The flood of compliments and getting extra tips for being a sexy waitress went entirely straight to my head (am I allowed sexy?) I didn’t dress this way when only working in nightclubs, but in my day to day life, a lot of the clothing in my closet was shorter, tighter, and lower at the neckline. Heads would turn and stare as I made my way down crowded sidewalks. Truthfully, I loved it! I felt empowered. I enjoyed my body & was comfortable, and at the time, for me, it was okay.
When I first became a new believer, it was tough accepting other people’s suggestions on modesty. They sounded super judgemental (never the answer, by the way), and I didn’t want someone else to impose their “Christian” fashion sense on my authentic style.
For months I’d show up to church in crop tops and tight jeans without feeling guilt. The more I spent time getting to know Jesus; my feelings started to change. Whenever I did wear a revealing outfit, I increasingly became uncomfortable. After some time, I felt a shift and took it to another level, where I went off the deep end in my convictions and stopped dressing up; I even resisted wearing makeup. Oh Lord, it was scary (kidding but not). For some Christian women, they believe this is the most accurate form of modesty. To be clear, I’m not comfortable going the traditional direction either. My experience dressing in such a way made me feel like a potato, no sparkle, just blah. I don’t think we are doomed to the fire pits of eternity for applying red lipstick or exposing an elbow. God isn’t petty! Luckily, Jesus and I have been approaching a happy middle ground in where my selection of attire has shifted but doesn’t compromise my love for flare.
Many seasons have gone by as Jesus guides by grace in how he calls me to modesty. My point of view on the modesty subject is that it goes beyond the articles of clothing hanging from our flesh. It also includes how we speak, how we act; it’s our posture as kingdom women. Do I still struggle with the temptation of wanting to wear seemingly scandalous clothing? Absolutely! I mean, who doesn’t want to feel HOT? When I compare my previous relationship with Jesus vs. my renewed relationship, I take a minute to stop and think before buying the adorable shredded top that is currently trending, realizing how it can attract the wrong kind of attention and be a distraction. Instead, I’d rather someone notice me for other reasons than how much or little my clothes cover.
Will I always choose the appropriate clothing? No, despite my best efforts, I’m sure I’ll fall short and wear something someone will find ris·qué. Thank you, Jesus, and for the Holy Spirit to call me out in such a situation.
“But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.”1 Corinthians 8:9
The garment could also be a stumbling block for my brothers in Christ. Okay, you are shaking your head, aren’t you? How is it my fault if men struggle with lust? I’m not at all convinced it’s my fault, and girlfriend it’s not your fault either. Desire is an area in a person’s life where ONLY God can deal with them. Consider this thought for a second- they are continuously bombarded with images of undressed women, pop culture, the media, porn,etc. it’s hard enough for these poor guys. They can’t escape it in the world, is it fair they have to face it in their safe places such as inner circles or church?
I desire to honor men and to honor the women they are with (wives, girlfriends, moms, etc.) and honor God. I feel accountable to make it less difficult for them. I see it as an act of love. Could they still fall into sinful thoughts regardless of what we wear? Yes, for some, it doesn’t matter. Sister, you could be wearing a garbage bag but as I said before, only God can help them with the issue.
Part of my reflection on modesty comes from figuring how it applies to this new life God has brought me to. I’m a single missionary, working amongst “Christ minded” people. As we all know, we’re all human, and we are all sinners so at the end of the day, is there anything wrong with being a little more self-aware in how I dress?
In El Salvador, it is requested for missions teams to wear long skirts, natural hair, and makeup. On the first visit, my attitude towards this requirement was rebellious. I’m not a fan of being told what to do, especially when it comes to taking out piercings and following a dress code. I complied out of obedience to the ministry, but the real takeaway was the lesson I learned. It was showing respect to the country God brought me to and is leading me to where I will serve. If I stuck with being stubborn against their suggestions to “tone down”, any opportunity to share Jesus could have been potentially lost.
In a romantic way, I like to consider my future husband. Would he feel comfortable with how I dress? Recognizing the fact he is a man and most likely wouldn’t even notice what I wear, the thought does cross my mind. Of course, I want him to see me as attractive-what girl wouldn’t want that? Beauty can’t be the only attribute; it is fleeting, destined to fade.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty fades;Proverbs 31:30
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.”
My hope for all women is when God brings us those men we are praying for, the essential trait they’ll see is Jesus thriving in our hearts. God created women with so many giftings; there is no way we only exist to be eye candy for men. If you took a moment to write down every talent, dream, and skill you obtain within a lifetime, girl, we have a lot more to offer than just a pretty face or a Rockin bod (yes, I said it Rockin bod haha).
This blog post could go on forever, but I’ll wrap up with this last statement. An example of a modest woman looks different for every gal, which is more power to ya! Our influences come from all aspects of life, social media, work, childhood, and relationships. The church/Christians can’t overlook each one of us is on an individual journey with becoming our best self in Christ. From woman to woman, it is not our position to condemn a sister for the way she dresses or acts.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us”Ephesians 5:1-2
If anything, being women who know God, we instinctively, in love, point them to Jesus. For anyone who comes to Christ learns how to be like Christ, and since he shows us his unfailing adoration despite our faults (or skimpy black dresses lol), it is expected of us to do the same.
God bless YOU & keep the peace ❤