7 Truths About Modesty

Modesty

When you hear the word modesty, you might think of a young woman dressed in a turtleneck sweater and ankle length skirt. Maybe even a head covering or a no swimsuit rule, or no makeup rule. If you have been raised with the idea of modesty that most people out there have, you probably don’t think about a stylish young woman who wears well fitting clothes, and you probably never think of it applying to guys as well. There are a lot of lies about modesty circulating in our culture, and I think it is time to put those to rest. Don’t you agree?

1. Modesty does NOT shame women.

  • Most of us have probably heard it by now: “Modesty is ‘slut-shaming’!” “It judges women based on their hemlines!” “It promotes rape culture!” “It blames men’s problems with lust on women!” Now I don’t know about you, but as someone raised to dress modestly, I can say that these are not true. Modesty does not shame women for wearing short skirts, crop tops, etc. However, it does promote the idea that it is more desirable for a young woman of God to wear more modest clothing. Nor does it judge women based on their hemlines. I must confess, I have every now and then said something at home to my mom about “that girl was wearing a SUPER short skirt”, but it was never meant to judge. It was more of an observation as to what I would not do. And yes, one argument of the modesty movement is that it will help our brothers in Christ, but that does not mean we are blaming women for men’s problems. More on that later.

2. Modesty is not subjective, but neither is it “one size fits all”.

  • Yes, that statement probably sounds completely illogical, but allow me elaborate. Modesty is often said to mean different things to different people, which is really untrue. While there may not be a specific rule set for modesty, there are certain things that just simply are not modest. But, there are aspects of it that are not universal. Certain things may look very nice on one person, and on another they may look very unclassy. And for some people, a skirt that falls just below the knees is perfectly fine, but for others, ankle length is the only way for them. It is definitely a matter of prayer and consideration.

3. Modesty is not about you, or the people around you.

  • Yes, it is important to help our brothers in Christ. But the fact of the matter is, choosing to be modest is not about them, nor is it about you. I have heard it said many times: “Just dress in what makes you comfortable. God never said it was wrong!” While it may sound perfectly harmless, that way of thinking is dangerous because it teaches a selfish, self-centered way of thinking. God never said: “Thou shalt do whatever pleases you and makes you happy.” In fact, the Bible says this, in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” We should be modest because we desire to bring glory to God, and to honor Him in what we do. Which leads to my next point…

4. Modesty is about more than outward appearance.

  • Being modest is about more than just the way you dress. Truth is, no matter how long our skirts are, or how cute our bathing suit is, it is all for nothing if our hearts are not in the right place. Modesty is more than the length of your skirt, or if your shirt covers your cleavage. Modesty is an attitude of humbleness. A modest woman does not seek attention from others for her own selfish reasons, but instead dresses in a manner that reflects the God she serves. A modest woman does not behave in a manner that draws the wrong kind of attention to herself. In fact, modesty does not seek attention at all. Of course, you will inevitably draw the attention of someone at some point in your life. But I know that I would rather receive attention for my grace, Godliness, and personality than I would receive attention because of my clothes, face, or actions.

5. Modesty applies to guys too.

  • Yup, you read that right. Modesty isn’t just a girl thing, it applies to everyone. Now, when it comes to guys, the way of dress isn’t such a big deal, though walking around with your pants hanging down and your undies showing isn’t exactly classy. For guys, modesty is pretty much all about the attitude. In this case, I am referring to having a humble attitude that, again, does not seek attention from others. I know that you are really proud of how good you are at football, and I get that, but bragging about your talents is not the right attitude to have, and it has a tendency to push people away. Case in point: Some of the most wonderful guys in my life are humble. I can hardly give them a compliment without them brushing it off. My best guy friend makes it virtually impossible to compliment him because he always tries to brush it off. It really makes a difference in the way that people view you when you don’t constantly draw attention to you and your accomplishments, instead choosing to give God the glory for giving you those gifts.

6. Modesty does not mean frumpy, out of style, or ugly.

  • Trust me, you can be modest and look absolutely adorable at the same time. And ankle length dresses, called maxi dresses, are totally IN right now! 😀 I know it’s hard, but you can find some totally great outfits if you are willing to look. Second hand stores like Goodwill, consignment shops, and discount stores are great places to look. You are more likely to find a cute, modest, and affordable outfit there than you are to find one in your local department store. And just to prove my point, take a look at these:
  • This is such a unique and cute outfit!!!
  • Love.
  • Such a cute and modest red dress!
  • .

And that’s only a few examples! 😀 And you think that there aren’t some gorgeous, modest, and classy swimsuits? Think again:

O.O LOVE!

Now why can't more teens wear bathing suits like this? I especially like the black and white!

I WANT THE SWIMSUIT!

Do any of these bring to mind frumpy? In fact, modesty empowered to express my personal style in ways that immodesty wouldn’t. Case in point: I love Bohemian style clothes, like ombre, funky hats, and gypsy skirts. Dressing modestly is how I discovered my sense of style.

And one last truth young women should understand: Modesty is a multi-faceted issue, with many factors.

  • Everyone thinks that the only reason that women dress modestly is so we can help our brothers in Christ. While that is a good reason, it is most certainly not priority. Dressing modestly is about honoring God first and foremost, and after that, respecting yourself. Yes, I know that some people think that you can respect yourself and dress immodestly at the same time. While it may seem true on the surface, the truth is, dressing immodestly shows that you do not have the same thought for your reputation, and the way others see you, that a woman who dresses modestly does. Think about it: Does a girl who wears mini-skirts to church every Sunday and flirts with guys get lauded as a good example to younger girls in the church? Or would that honor go to a young woman who dresses in stylish, classy clothing who forms strong friendships with guys? And yes, one aspect of modesty is respecting our brothers in Christ. No, I am not blaming women for problems with lust, and neither am I saying that guys have no responsibility. But the Bible says that if we cause our fellow Christians to stumble in their walk, we will be judged. And yes, each person is accountable, but the person who influences their actions can also be held accountable. Example: If a young person goes to a party where there is drinking, and ends up drinking due to the influence of their friends, wouldn’t we be angry at the friends for being a bad influence?

And some people will accuse me of being sexist, and they are right I guess. But the thing is, guys don’t have as much of a problem with “immodest clothing”. Sure, girls struggle with lust too. All you have to do is go to a pool with friends and watch them drool over the shirtless lifeguard. (and yes, I have seen this happen) And I’m not a guy, so I am not equipped or meant to be speaking to guys about an issue like this. I wrote this because I am tired of the lies about modesty that are spread, and the idea that I am somehow better because I dress modestly. I do not look down on girls who choose not to dress modestly. Sort of like how I choose not to watch Harry Potter, but I don’t look down on those who do. Truth is, the decision to dress modestly begins with making sure that your heart is right with God, so that you can know if He is convicting you. Like I said, it starts with the heart. And our actions will reflect what is in our heart. So a pure, gentle, Godly heart will be reflected in the way we dress. Allow me to finish off with this quote:

“Modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because they’re bad, modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves… It’s about revealing our dignity.” Jessica Rey

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