I was saved for almost two years before I felt led to wear only skirts. I got saved in a Pentecostal church, a religious sect that is widely known for their attire, but I knew I didn’t want to just fall in line with what everyone else was doing.
I needed to know why I was making this sacrifice. I wanted to know that it was the right thing for me, and that I wasn’t blindly following religion, theology, or legalism. I knew that if I did it I’d never go back, so I needed to be prepared for the change. I needed to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was God’s will for my life.
When I gave my life to Christ everything changed. I adjusted my dress based upon the scripture in 1 Timothy “women adorn themselves in modest apparel” and wore what I felt was modest. When I went to church, I dressed appropriately, abiding by the beliefs of the body. Not because I felt forced to, but out of respect for both my Savior, and the body of Christ.
We were riding home from a youth camp, I was about 15, and the Lord moved in that camp in ways I had never seen before. It was after midnight when we started the long drive home. I remember laying across the back seat of my mom’s SUV and saying “Mom, I think I’m gonna stop wearing pants.”
Here we are, nearly 10 years later, and I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life. But there are a few things that you should know. So let me lay a little groundwork here; I am Pentecostal, I still only wear skirts. But I don’t believe that everyone must wear skirts to go to Heaven.
Let me be clear. I don’t believe that my specific conviction is the only way. Rather, Christ is the only way.
But I do believe in surrendering yourself (Matthew 16). I do believe in self sacrifice (Romans 12). I believe in what the Bible says, we should not look like the world (Romans 12), we should be modest (1 Timothy 2:9), we should be separated (2 Corinthians 6:17) we should be obedient (1 Peter 1:14).
Some months ago there was some sort of music awards show. The following day, all the daily talk shows were chatting it up about the styles that hit the carpet and who wore what. I happened upon a panel of ‘fashionists’ -is that what they’re called?- that were chatting about the trends from the night before.
The short dresses were praised, the plunging necklines were gawked upon, the high slits were ‘gorgeous‘ and the more revealing the ‘sexier‘ they were considered. Meanwhile, I had to practically cover my eyes from all the nakedness. Just kidding. Sort of.
Then there was Adele, and of course the comments began flying about her body image, her style. They made excuses as to why she should show herself off more. They said she needed to quit acting like a ‘grandmaw‘ with her high necklines, her longer dresses and sleeve lengths. Unlike the other women, she wasn’t praised, but objectified for choosing a more conservative style.
Not long after I listened to the panel rant about Adele’s level of self-confidence, or in their opinion, lack thereof, I came across a blog post that pretty much obliterated what was left of my mind. It was titled “Stop Teaching Your Daughter to Be Modest” and the rhetoric was all about the author’s lifelong struggle of self-confidence due to the church’s position on dress code.
Somewhere along the line, teaching our kids to respect themselves by following the Biblical view of modesty has turned into legalism and leading them to be ashamed of their bodies. This idea couldn’t be more false.
I’ve got news for you, folks. We are beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14), but that doesn’t mean we’ve got to flaunt it. When I wear skirts, it isn’t my attempt at undermining my body’s shape or structure. When I check my neckline, it isn’t to cover up my femininity. When my hemline is my concern, I’m not worried about abiding by a corporate a dress code.
Covering my body does not make me shameful, it does not make me less of a woman, it does not mean that I lack confidence. Dressing conservatively is both a cause to protect my purity, my femininity, and a blatant warning against man’s flesh.
Rather a skirt or dress doesn’t get more feminine. A higher neckline conceals the some of the dearest elements of my womanhood. A conservative hemline makes a statement that my virtue is important and that my thoughts noble.
It means that I respect myself as a child of Christ. It proves that my body is a temple of the Holy Ghost. It shows that I am following God’s word by living a sacrificial life. It boldly states I will not conform to society’s thoughts, but to God’s will. It exclaims my love for Biblical principals and my heart after Christ.
My kids are expected to dress according to our conviction about modesty, but I will teach them why we do it as well. Through our example, they will learn about sacrifice. They will learn that empowerment is not using the body as tool for the world, but as an instrument unto Christ. They will learn about Biblical principals, purity, standards, and convictions.
A dress code does not imply that directly outside those limits lies sin. But it does serve as a guideline for you to mold yourself around. It means that those who enforce it love you enough to help you not fall into temptation, which then leads to sin.
If the Lord deals with you to make sacrifice, no matter what capacity, and you don’t do it, it is sin. If you struggle with modesty or lust and you don’t make sacrifice to change it, this is sin.
And sometimes you just sacrifice as an offering to God. No matter how simple, or silly, or blatant and serious it is. God delights in your sacrifice unto Him, and sometimes that sacrifice is just as equal to the obedience.
Modesty defined is “regarding decency in behavior, attitude, actions, and speech“. Biblical modesty is so much more than an outward appearance, but it’s a lifestyle. A Godly modesty deals with the heart and then portrays outwardly. It effects the way that you see people and the way that you treat people, the way that people see you and the way people treat you.
So yes, please teach your daughters modesty.
Teach them the importance of a Godly lifestyle. Teach them to be led by Christ. Teach them to find their worth in Christ, not in people or clothing or words. But in His love, and His might.
If you’re looking for some reading material, the Girl Defined book is amazing, and comes highly recommended!
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