Thursday, February 04, 2010

Reasons for Modesty

Modesty is a way of life for me. It always has been, and always shall be. But why do I dress modestly? Am I only doing it because that's what my parents have taught me?

No, modesty is also a choice I've made for myself. Long ago I stopped having to ask my mom about clothes I bought, though I do consult my mom or dad occasionally if I have a question. I've long since developed my own clothing style - knowing what I will and won't wear.

But what reasons do I have for dressing modestly?

God commands it
No, God's Word doesn't say exactly how long our hemline must be, or how high the neckline must come, but principles for modest dress are throughout the Bible. 1 Timothy 2:8-9 says it clearly: "I also want a women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." This passage isn't talking as much about clothes as it is about character, but it is clear that what you wear is definitely a part of modesty. While modesty should begin in the heart, it is most often visible in what you wear.

It helps our brothers-in-Christ
Like it or not, men are very visual. Though they should be careful to guard their thoughts, we, their sisters-in-Christ, should do them a service by not intentionally dressing in a way that will incite lustful thoughts. By dressing modesty, we can do our part to not put a stumbling block in our brother's way (Romans 14:13).

In today's world, temptations abound. Let's help the men around us by not wearing or doing things that will make them wage a battle against lust when interacting with us. They face enough out in the world; as Christian ladies, we should provide them with a place of safety. Then they can truly enjoy getting to know us a person - not being distracted by our body.

It's beautiful!
Let's face it: no one has a perfect body. The things that look oh-so-amazing on the air-brushed models won't look as good on those whose images haven't been edited. Wearing things that cover well will conceal less-than-perfect attributes. Wearing things that reveal intimate parts will just make you uncomfortable. Anyone who has worn something a little too small, short, or low and spent the day trying to adjust it will know what I'm talking about. :) Wearing something that fits your size and body type will leave you comfortable and free to serve others. If you're not worrying about your clothes, you're more likely to be joyful - and a smile will transform anyone into a beauty. :)

It protects you
Again, men must be responsible for their own actions. But dressing and behaving modestly will send the message that you don't want their advances, that you're not to be messed with. Maybe what you're wearing won't cause men to look twice - but that is a blessing! Modesty will help you be respected.

It blesses your husband
Even if you don't yet know who your husband is, by being modest, you are honoring him by protecting your body. Even if you have the perfect body, why would you want all men to see it? Your husband will feel respected when you save the intimate details for him. It is a treasure to be guarded, and a beautiful gift for him alone.

It makes a statement
By definition, modesty has to do with humility and not drawing attention to yourself. Often this is the case, but in other occasions, you may stand out because of your modest apparel. This shouldn't be the driving reason to dress modestly, but it is one that can be a blessing. Your modesty may cause others to ask why you dress the way you do - and that may be an opportunity for you to share Christ's love with them.

Besides, who wants to look exactly like everyone else? Modesty can give you beautiful uniqueness. Clothing that is lovely, affordable, and modest isn't easy to find - but it can be one of those "hard things" we do for God's glory. Modesty in actions also isn't easy; it probably won't bring popularity. But, again, this is another hard thing we can do, and in doing so, bring glory to God.

It encourages others
I can't count the times people have thanked me for dressing and behaving modestly. Again, receiving praise shouldn't be our motivation, but encouraging others should be. Even if they don't say it, many are refreshed by modesty. Seeing you, a grandma may find hope for this generation; a mother may rejoice in finding a role model for her young daughters; your peers may be encouraged to do the same, knowing they're not alone; men old or young may silently thank you for helping to guard their eyes and thoughts.

Some may look down on you for it. Some may claim that you're just uncomfortable with your body. Others may deride you for not staying up with the latest fashions. But God's way often isn't the most accepted way. Knowing that the way you dress and act pleases Him will help you not mind so much the opinions of others.

Modesty isn't a set of rules. Often it looks a bit different in different cultures and time periods. But there are timeless guidelines; you'll know what covers enough and what doesn't. I have my own guidelines of things I definitely won't wear, but I never have to measure a hemline to find out whether or not I'm passing the point of modesty. The Holy Spirit is our guide; if something just doesn't feel right, it may His gentle nudging that you shouldn't wear it.

This is in no way an exhaustive list, or the "Top 7 Reasons for Modesty." They're just a few points to help you think about why you believe in modesty, and hopefully to encourage you to continue practicing it.

What about you? If someone asked you, what would you say were your reasons for modesty?


Jalis said...

This is very encouraging! It's so nice to hear from other girls who are also trying to please God in the area of modesty. Thank-you for taking the time to write this!!

Anonymous said...

Girls, your blog is one of several "young lady" blogs that I subscribe to. I am a 42 year old wife and mother and find your blog pleasantly refreshing and spiritually educational to me several times. I know that Titus 2 talks about the older woman teaching the younger, but I feel that the younger can also teach the older!

I am called to cover; I wear a headscarf even in sleep, only removing it to shower and allow my hair to dry. I wear long skirts, dresses and jumpers, with sleeves that go at least to my elbow (wearing a shirt underneath a dress that does not accomplish this) and leggings underneath my skirts to insure that none of my legs show.

Why do I do this? Well, the covering is in submission. The modest dressing in general is because calling attention to myself by revealing various parts of my body one way or another is NOT what God wants me to do, this I feel quite strongly.

Keep up the excellent work with your blog, and take blessing from the knowledge that at least one old bird (ok, middle-aged bird!) finds benefit from it.

Jamaican Princess said...

this is beautiful. It is a good way to teach young girls what being modest is all about. Seeing the way you girls dress lets me feel YES! at least there are still some girls out there that believe in being modest. I dress differently from you girls I wear more pants than skirts (I don't like dresses or skirts) but I don't wear revealing clothing because it makes me feel uncomfortable and I believe ppl should like you for you and not your body . Also I think girls dress revealing because they want attention, and for all the wrong reasons.

I always read your blog but I don't think Ive ever commented before. I really like this post girls. KEEP IT UP!

God Bless,

Jamaican Princess

Anna said...

what a sweet post! =)
Thank you for being encouraging without demeaning women.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say thanks for the tips on how to be modest. I find a lot of things uncomfortable to wear and I think you are right.... It may be God telling me not to wear it! I do wear pants a lot but, as I've heard you say before, you don't have to wear prairie dresses to be modest! I love your blog and I also have your button on mine! please come and visit my blog anytime!


Megan said...

I'll confess to being a lurker - I'm one of the girls from the Bloom! blog - but I do enjoy reading your blog. And this post was especially wonderful - all those reasons are so, so true! It's always good to be reminded, again, why I do what I do - be that in clothing, or actions, or anything else.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Anna.....Thanks for the encouragment!

~Allie in KY~

SinginginHisName said...

I too have thought about my reasons for modesty a lot these past two years! Two years ago the Lord called me to be modest openly, I thought I was being modest in the way I already acted and dressed. But the Lord told me that I was not being modest according to his Scriptures! So two years ago I threw out many of my tight jeans, shorts, and tight tops and I started over! I also decided to delve deeper in the Word to become beautiful inside and out by the Lord's standard- the Word. It was life changing and I will never go back. Although sometimes I am not modest in my actions, words, and appearance I want to strive to be because the Lord called me to be different from the world.

If someone asked me why I dressed differently I would tell them because I want to dress in a feminine, modest, and Christ honoring way. But I must confess that many a time I just give the short answer to strangers that I just like skirts. But I should take the opportunity to share Christ with them through my appearance of wearing skirts and feminine clothing. thanks for the encouragement! and I love reading your blog!

Ranelle Del Belle said...

Hi! I don't know where I found your blog, but I've been looking at various posts at various times. I really enjoyed this post - I agree with you completely! Thanks for the reminder! :)

P.S. how did you get the note below the "Leave your comment" heading? (the note about "we appreciate your comments and enjoy...") I thought that was a neat idea.

Anna Naomi said...

Thank you for your comments! It's encouraging to hear from you all. :)

Ranelle Del Belle: Go to your blogger homepage, and click on the links for "settings" then "posting" then "comments." There you'll find a box where you can type in your own custom message to be displayed in your comment section. Hope that helps!

Joanna said...

I love this post! It is so inspiring and uplifting, especially since the Bible supports it. Thank you for "going upstream" by writing this post and sticking to God's Word.

lori said...

it is so wonderful to see women and girls serving the Lord throgh modest dress. i also only wear dresses and skirts i also wear a headcoverinmg because the Lord has commanded me too.

Victoria said...

Wonderful post =)

Thank you for your encouragement Anna!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post! I love to see other women's reasons for dressing modestly.

Although I don't wear skirts and dresses daily, I dress modestly by ensuring that I am not exposing myself; that I am decent.

My reasons are similar to yours:

1) To honor God - He tells us repeatedly to dress modestly. Also, if I'm dressing in such as way as to show off my body, am I really being a good witness? Dressing the way I do opens doors for me to share the love of God with others.

2) To honor my family - My parents taught me to dress modestly, so I do.

3) To honor my husband - I don't want my manner of dressing to incite lustful thoughts in other men. I want to save my body for him, not show it to every man I happen to pass when I'm out.

4) To protect the minds of my brothers-in-Christ - Though they hold the responsibility for their minds, I can help them by not placing temptation in front of them.

Rebecca W. said...

Praise God! It is good to know that there are other young ladies out there who know why they believe in dressing modestly and have Bible based reasoning on the subjuct.
Just for the fun of reading and seeing a man's veiw on this subject; I would suggest getting a copy of a book that has helped my family immensly soon after they became Christians. It's called "Biblical Modesty" and it's by Eddie Galyean. It is a REALY good book and there were several things I learned out of it and my mom's been teaching us about modesty when we were tots.

Elizabeth said...

I saw this blog on a friend's blog page, I'm really glad God lead me to your blog. I pray God will continue to use your sweet and submissive spirit to His glory!!
Thank you for the encouragement and reminder that modesty is to honor our Lord and Saviour!! I had forgotten that modesty is less about me and looking "good" and more about brining honor to and pleasing my Lord. :)
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Well done for writing this. We are not responsible for men's thoughts but if we know that even Christian men can so easily be provoked to lustful thoughts I think it is our responsibility to cover up.

For me staying pure and dressing modestly are how I express my wish to honour my future husband by saving myself for our marriage. I hate the thought of any man looking at me 'like that' and would be so ashamed if I thought I had in any way given the wrong impression.

Anonymous said...

Well done for a great post ! You girls are so right to have strong convictions on modesty. Women should do their best to avoid being the cause of temptation, save their bodies for their husbands and never deliberately provoke lustful thoughts and dressing modestly is a vital part of that. But remember pretty girls will always attract men’s attention and as long as you never give the wrong impression it is up to the man to control himself ! So enjoy being young pretty and feminine and never feel guilty about it, it’s how you were made !
A word of warning, I think lot’s of girls are very innocent and naive about of just how men think and can easily show too much or suggest something un-intentionally, so I thought I’d share a few rules I set myself after talking it over with to my husband.
Skirts should be far more modest than trousers, but only if they are long and full enough to keep you decent whatever you are doing and if you are not used to them PLEASE be careful sitting down, getting out of the car etc. Also, not even a lovely long dress is modest if it clings or worse if it’s see-through, if in any doubt always wear a slip and unless your skirt is long enough not to show, your legs really should be covered (tights etc).
It’s definitely best to avoid spaghetti-strap or sleeveless tops / dresses, which can show your bra or worse if you bend over and tight tops which accentuate your bust. If you think your bra shows wear a camisole and if you’re active be careful that your top and skirt don’t part company and show your midriff (I often wear a full slip to prevent this).
Your swimsuit (I don’t personally think bikinis are acceptable) should be low cut around the bottom and have proper coverage on top, but the main thing is to remember that it is for swimming so unless you are in the water, pop a dress over the top – same goes for other sportswear which is briefer than normal.
One final thing, do please wear underwear that covers you properly, top and bottom ! But make sure it is not on show ! and wear a bra that covers and supports but doesn’t draw attention if you’re larger up top. Oh and be very careful with nightwear if there are guests in the house !!
Like you I love skirts and dresses. I switched to full time when I got married, I feel properly feminine and more ‘married’ in skirt somehow and they’re perfectly practical - even to chase after two very active little boys! So you can be pretty, feminine and modest but always think what you are showing and who may be looking !
Love your website and especially the beautiful dresses - wish I could sew !

Maria said...

This may sound odd, but I don't even really think about the modesty of my clothes longer. I just look for elegant garments that are attractive on me. I dress in a way that shows who I am-- a godly young woman. And the way I choose to represent myself just happens to be modest. Yes, I do follow fashion. But ultimately I wear certain styles because I like them and not just because they're popular.


Anonymous said...

I consider myself to be modest and do all I can to please God and reading this "Reasons for Modesty" was TRULY encouraging and refreshing:)May God bless you!!!