You don’t have to agree with me on this, and yes, I am well aware that this road has not only been well-travelled, but that most women have chosen a different path. Stay with me–you might not see it the same way I do, as I’m sure many won’t, but consider this:
Your husband just might see it differently from you.
My husband grew up with three brothers and his perspective is different from even a man who has grown up with sisters. I trust him completely. He loves me and protects me and is an honorable man. He honors me by averting his eyes when a scantily clad woman crosses his path.
And it’s a full.time.job.
I grew up in a family of six–two brothers and a sister. In our home, modesty was taught and assumed. I didn’t walk around in my underwear or talk about private issues in public. There were boundaries that felt very natural and gave me a sense of security and quiet confidence. I was a princess tomboy that loved climbing trees, but was happy wearing dresses and putting on jewelry–sometimes blending it all together to reign over my brothers while perched high above them on my wooden throne!
For the record, I wasn’t embarrassed into thinking that I had to hide myself–neither was I tempted to flaunt myself to escape the prudence. Even though I was taught that beauty came from the inside, my insecurities were constantly being fed a lie that said my worth was closely tied to my appearance.
That was a long time ago, yes, and there was, of course, immodesty in my generation too, but I have watched as our culture has very consistently and with great momentum, taken a joy-ride down the slippery slope of immodesty. And social media has made it even more public.
While my husband doesn’t mind if I’m less modest in private 😊, there is absolutely no doubt that he appreciates it when I dress and act modestly in public. The choice isn’t just about me, or even the message I send to others–
It honors him.
Here is why I believe that is true:
- You are saying to him, “This is a gift for your eyes only.”
- You are saying to him, “This gift is one only you can unwrap.”
- You are gifting him a promise: “I don’t want anyone’s attention but yours.”
- You are gifting him a treasure: “I trust you with my heart and with my body.”
This is an argument that has gone awry. I know that there are a lot of men who see women as trophies, and they are very proud to “show off” their prize. I can’t even imagine that they would even consider reading this, and I’m sure they would scoff at the title–so just know that my intended audience is the pricked conscience of the woman or man who knows they should consider the message we get from these words:
Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. Ephesians 5: 1-4
If you choose to honestly consider it, you just might see it differently too. (Trust me, you don’t want to wait until you have a teenage daughter!)
I have to be clear: it is so much more than the clothes you wear, the way you carry yourself, or the attitude you embody–those can be superficial or even symptomatic. It goes much deeper than that. The world we live in messes with our mind, but it is our spirit that speaks to us about true beauty. When our confidence is based on externals, then we will fall short every.single.time. Why do you think we are always trying the newest hairstyles or buying the newest fashion trend? We are always looking for something to make us look better.
Instead of looking within.
Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. 1 Peter 3:3-4
I am guilty. I am human. And I am woman. So yes, I wear makeup and put on jewelry and love new clothes.
They are a reflection of my personality but they don’t define who I am.
This verse isn’t speaking against fine clothes or a new hairstyle. It’s saying that those things shouldn’t be what determines who we are. We are constantly bombarded with expectations, and if we’re not careful, we very easily begin to justify our own impropriety. We start judging ourselves–based on what the world is telling us, instead of what God tells us.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light—for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10
I can’t go back, and those 70’s styles really don’t speak to me anymore anyway. Every generation and every culture has their definition of modesty, so I won’t argue specifics. I am not naive. I just happen to sincerely believe that God’s plan is always right, and as the externals often do, our modesty speaks volumes.
And I want mine to shout out these words:
“Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:25-26