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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

10 Days To Modest! Day Six - Gettin' Real With Our Modesty Excuses

I understand why women dress immodestly - cute fashions, attention, even the weather...

I can remember specific arguments I had when I dressed in an immodest fashion (or when I just didn't know). Most of the time I wasn't trying to be seductive or grab attention (although many times I was). Let's talk about some reasons we dress immodestly, and let's get specific, shall we?

*Please know that anything I am saying is not to be judgmental of anyone. I am on this journey with you. Modesty is ultimately an issue between you and the Lord.

Wearing Bikini's

Let's be honest - bikini's are super immodest. Here are the reasons I have used myself and heard from other Christian women (let's tackle them):

"I just wear it for the tan."

I have totally used this one! What woman doesn't want to be a bronze goddess in the summer? However, let's get real. Wearing a bikini is so not okay when it comes to being modest. I mean, hello? You can see everything! We know this, so why continue to do it? I think we do it for a couple of reasons, but mainly we would just rather not think about it because if we do, we will have to admit that we shouldn't be exposing our bodies this way. I know for me I find it so much easier to ignore something than have to face it and then live in the light - which is hard! I mean honestly, cute little bikini's are much easier to buy and feel stylish in than the ugly modest bathing suits that are generally out there. Can anyone relate?

"My husband likes it."

I admit, this excuse is one of mine. On my honeymoon I wore a bikini. I convinced myself that because I was somewhere far away and know one knew who I was that it really wasn't a big deal. Plus, my husband like me wearing it (I asked him if I could share that and he said I could). The truth is though, still not okay. If our husbands want us to to wear bikini's (or anything immodest), my suggestion is to sport it for him in your home...for him only! Tell him how much you care about the fact that your body is for him only, and you want to honor him in that. Then, make sure you actually wear sexy little outfits for him so he doesn't feel gipped! We are to submit to our husbands, but our ultimate authority is God.

"I am finally comfortable with my body."

I heard this one from a very sweet young lady who has struggled with body issues most of her life. She loves the Lord and has a heart to live in godliness. However, she believed that because she finally came to a break through in her body issues, she felt like part of her "healing" was to wear a bikini without being self-conscience. It makes sense. But again, we must ask, "What does God say?" God's word is clear that we should be modest and strive to serve others before ourselves - that includes putting our seemingly good intentions aside for the purity of our brothers.

"All my friends wear them."

Peer pressure is so tough! I get made fun of all the time from one of my dear friends because she thinks I dress like a grandma at the pool - and she's right, I kinda do! But only because I haven't found a cute modest bathing suit that I can afford (grrrr...). You know what though, if we find our identity in Christ, we can laugh at what others have to say. I just walk around joking about it myself now!

Showing Cleavage, Wearing Short shorts/skirts, and Immodest Dress in General

"My breasts are too big too hide!"

Okay, I admit, I might be just a teeny bit jealous of this reason. I cannot relate, but I do know that tank tops under shirts are a great way to hide the cleavage, especially for when you bend over. I also realize that most things probably cling to that area, but I say, just do your best to be as "unclingy" as possible. That is all you can do and you are not responsible for doing more than that.

"I just don't think about it."

I think this is probably the most numerous reason women dress immodestly - they just don't realize, or really think about it. I know I can relate - heck, like I said before, I end up going through my closet each year and asking myself, "what was I thinking?!" Well ladies, it's time to start thinking about it. Start paying attention to your neckline - if you see cleavage when you look in the mirror, even just slightly, we can see it too! Same thing goes for shorts and skirts. Keep the thighs away from eyes!

"It's not my problem, if a man struggles then it's his responsibility to turn away."

This reason cuts to my heart because the women who say/think this are probably the women who have been hurt by men the most in their lives. Perhaps they have been abused or uncared for by men. Their defense is rebellion. While it is true that men do have a responsibility to look away, we need to be sensitive to their struggles and be willing to help them out. I love how my sister-in-law Renee put it in a recent comment: "A heart for modesty out of a heart of love for the Lord and for men around us. A heart to see them succeed instead of fail- to live a life of courage and fulfilled destiny instead of a life in slavery to sin." So well said!

"It's too hot outside to dress modestly."

Hey, no one ever said being modest was easy! I quote from The Rebelution: "DO HARD THINGS." Seriously, I know that when it's hot outside it is more difficult, but we still have a responsiblity - God's standards don't change because of the weather.

"Okay Sarah, you have shared these reasons that Christian women have, but what are we to do about them, especially when it comes to finding modest things? Are there any general modesty guidelines?"

10 Days To Modest! Day Seven - Help Me To Dress Modestly

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Cinnamon said...

Great post~ Modesty plus being feminine is my goal. I have 4 dtrs looking at me and how I dress. They love it when I wear skirts, dresses and the frills that go along with it. I grew up a complete tomboy and while I love being feminine now it took some getting use to. Modesty is my way of teaching my dtrs to respect their own body and save it for their husbands.


Mrs. Trixi said...

This has been a great series of posts. Modesty is such a huge issue in our home with 2 teenage daughters and you have shared some enormous encouragement.

Homesteader in Training said...

Great post my friend. I live right across the street from the beach. It takes 3 mins. to walk there. There is beach access and everything. With this said there is also a lot of "flesh" walking back and forth in front of our house EVERY day! It drives me crazy. Especially raising 2 young boys and a 15 year old young lady trying to be modest,not to mention I don't want my husband seeing it. Some even were the THONG with nothing around them! I was convicted of bathing suits many years ago and honestly I haven't had one one for a very long time. If anything I wear men's surf shorts and a one piece bathing suit underneath or a tank top with it. I will never "just" wear a bathing suit again. Yes I sport a very nice "shorts" tan but WHO CARES? LOL. Great job on this my friend.
Hugs to you! OH and we have tried to move from this place but no houses are selling so maybe we can continue to be a light or known as the freaks! LOL.

Robin said...

Another thought about showing cleavage- You may want to check and see if anyone taller than you can see right down your shirt. You may not see cleavage at eye level but you need to think about different eye levels, not everyone is even with you. Also, think about how you might be moving around. Will you be at the store and need to bend over to pick something up? picking up a child? needing to fix a flat tire? That last one happened to me when I was young and not a Christian. I was actually wearing a bikini with just a little cover-up and had a flat tire in a very busy intersection. Even then with my completely immodest views, that was embarrassing.
This is a hard issue when you are just used to dressing a certain way. It is hard to change, but with the Lord's help we can do it. Thank you for reminding us to "Do Hard Things"!

Anonymous said...

This was excellent Sarah Mae! Thank you! I also want to add in regards to women who say it's men's responsibility....WRONG. It's our responsibility. God didn't give us instructions for dressing modestly just for our own sakes. The Bible is clear that we are not to cause our brother to stumble. This would be one of those areas.
I know, for me personally, I get a bit agitated (I know, I'm only human) when women dress (esp, Christians because we think they should know better) immodestly because it's a temptation for my husband. It's human nature. Men were created visual beings and you know what? Sometimes they hate that about themselves! Many Christian hate the fact that they struggle with this. If we want to be gracious women, the woman talke about being worth far more then rubies, then we need to respect men. It is rather surprising how much MORE a man respects a woman who respects herself. Don't let them fool you. I've learned from experience, of watching a friend of mine fall right into a trap. Just because men will flirt with those who dress showing too much skin, does not mean he respects them. Men are funny like that. They conclude that if the woman can't respect herself, why should he? Period.

Friend Chick said...

I started leaving a comment about a Sunday School incident, but it got long, so I've left it in the forum.

I just love arming myself with knowledge. I can feel that apathy at church. So many ladies are not aware of the harm that they are causing. Not just to themselves, but to the men - including my husband.

Thanks again, Sarah Mae!

Anonymous said...

Great post and well spoken! This is an issue close to my heart since my husband is a leader of youth and we have a daughter that we are trying to raise in an ungodly world.

I try to dress modestly and still find myself slipping at times. The Bible talks about not being a stumbling block unto others and if I dress revealing then I am causing someone elses husband or future husband to think things he shouldn't. I realize that this is the way a man is made. I try not to be a stumbling block. I also try to remember how it makes me feel to see another woman barely dressed strut herself in front of my husband. It is frustrating!

We have a motto in our house and it is "Reach way up high and touch the sky, reach way down low and touch the floor, if anything shows it goes! Our daughter is 7 and she is being raised this way. It makes buying clothes harder since the world is teaching our little girls to dress wrong but we have to learn to be creative and keep our daughter dressed cute!

Okay so really long comment but I love what your doing! It helps remind me daily.


Dana said...

as a mother who is constantly bending over to pick up a child or a dropped toy, i have to be very aware of my tops. checking in the mirror really helps. i bend over and see what shows and squat down and see if my underwear will decide to make an appearance (whether its because of low cut jeans or a shirt that is too short).

Kristi said...

Thank You so much for posting this! This is an issue that is rarely addressed anymore. So, thanks again!! I strive to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, in my actions and in my dress. God Bless.

MamaHenClucks said...


Long ago I fell in love with the tankini and skirt bathing suit combo! Having a little girl, she is only allowed to wear one piece bathing suits because when do you go back from a bikini? It's just not appropriate.

I'm pretty conservative at this point in my life - jeans and t-shirt kinda girl, although I do like my tank tops (layered) in the summer with jeans or pants. Can't wait for more tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

hi i just found your blog today. it seems great!!! i'm also the kind of person who can talk till i'm blue in the face about modesty! (not that i have all together. there's always more to learn) i was just wondering if it's a possibility to email pictures to you for the fashion show??? i don't have a blog...but would LOVE to participate! would you post the pictures on YOUR blog??? of course it would be at your discretion! thanks for considering it! a sis in the Lord, Anne

{ jamie } said...

Another great post.
And I love that the fashion show is coming up, but I'd really like to see another one in the summer. I mean, when it's cold outside, it's easy for me to pile on the layers & there is no way I'm revealing anything because it would freeze! ;-D
But being cute & modest in the hot summer is more of a challenge. So can we have a repeat of this modest fashion show in, say, July, or so?

Nana 2 four said...

As a mom who raised 3 teenage girls I can certainly appreciate this. I always felt like my girls were on display so to speak because their dad was the Pastor. I have always been a modest dresser myself and my husband always told my girls to "look how your mama dresses". Unfortunately some parents do not monitor their childrens clothes and in fact I know some parents that are just as immodest!

I now have granddaughters and am so glad that their mother is teaching them - even at age 6.

In Him,

Katy Lin :) said...

thanks for such a realistic look at this tough issue - i have to do some serious thinking about a few of the things you brought up! i appreciate your transperancy :)

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for your series on modesty. I have a little girl and a newborn son and I want them to grow up with respect for their own bodies and those of others. I am their example and I am working on staying attentive to my wardrobe and what they wear. Bikini's of course are a no-no, and I wear a sport top tankini with a skirt. But what do you have to say about boys? I'm just curious.

And I love your saying SARAH! I think I may have to adopt that in my home as well!!

Jacquelyn said...

I think men can lust after a woman who is wearing baggy sweats and in that sense there is nothing we can do about it. On the other hand the Bible tells us that if we cause one of these "little ones" (I think this can apply to men that either have no faith or are weak enough in it to still be gripped by lust) to sin it is better to tie a millstone around our necks and jump into the sea. So the next time I wear a bikini I will also need to make sure I bring a millstone necklace as an accessory! ("next time" a.k.a. never)

Amanda Flynn said...

Ooh! I am so glad to have found your wonderful blog! I run a fashion blog with an emphasis on modest fashion, so these are subjects very dear to my heart!


I will definitely be adding you to my fav links! :)

Anonymous said...

Modesty is a virtue of great value. And women should consider their clothing choices carefully and with a modest heart. But I was wondering if there are any plans in this series to address responsibility of men in this area? After all, if we serve too much food at dinner, are we not encouraging them to stumble into gluttony? If we ask a question with a tricky answer (i.e. "Did you see that woman's low cut shirt?") are we not inviting them to stumble by lying? When does the responsibility for sin fall on the shoulders of the sinner? And are there really women out there who think their husband is lusting everytime he sees a woman with cleavage?

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Love all the reasons you brought up! So interesting to hear all about them. And I love reading all the comments with everybody's reaction and stories to share. This is a really nice series, Sarah Mae!

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

What great reminders. Thank you for being will to post those excuses- most people do not want to touch the cleavage issue with a ten-foot-pole, but it really is becoming a problem more and more!

Alex and Jill said...

I absolutely love this site and hope that God will bless me with a baby girl that I can teach these very important things to. Just like my Momma taught me.

I'm going to forward your blog onto everyone I know, that has teenage girls.

Wenonah4th said...

The temperature arguments never hold any water with me, because I know enough about antique styles to know how much was worn and what it feels like to wear so much more than we do today in our days of a/.c and central heating.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this post, and am so thankful that I have been blessed not to have to worry about any of it. I pray and know your post will bless and encourage those who have struggled with these issues!

Miss Jocelyn

GCarty said...

What about the "I don't want people to think I'm too religious" thing? Has anyone ever advocated modesty on an entirely secular basis?