Thursday, January 14, 2010

Portrait of a Godly Woman

There are many things that trouble my heart and spirit regarding women today, and I'd like to address some of them briefly here.

Please bear in mind that I am talking about women who profess to be Christians, who are involved in church ministry. I realize that non-Christians can hardly be expected to care about Godly standards, and in this blog I am referring specifically to Christian women.

Appropriate Dress

I am bothered because I see so many women today who go out wearing things that would have been shocking to people fifty years ago. Just yesterday, in my own church, I saw three women - all my age or older (considerably older, in fact), in skirts/dresses so short that I actually felt like I should cover my children's eyes (not to mention my husband's!). I felt like at any moment, should these women bend forward or walk past a vent, the whole room would get a full view of their underwear! I saw a couple of women in shirts so low cut that I cut see their bras peeking out at the top! I saw several women in backless dresses, and several in very tight pants.

What are these women thinking?

Now, first of all, I will admit that I have not always been so modest in my own dress. My teenage years were full of miniskirts, tight tops, and high heeled shoes. But after I had my daughter at 16, I got rid of those clothes. Suddenly it occurred to me that dressing like that was not good! The thought of my daughter ever wearing clothes like that, and the thoughts it would inspire in the men and boys around her, made me shudder in fear and revulsion. If I didn't want my daughter dressing like that, I shouldn't be dressing that way either. So into the trash went those clothes.

But now I - and I'm not that old! I'll be 28 this Saturday - look around me and I see women - wives and mothers - who seem to have no sense of modesty whatsoever.

What exactly is decent, Godly, appropriate dress?

First of all, I'd like to say, that when you finish reading this, go over and read this article at Ladies Against Feminism. It has lots of good points and Scripture to back them up.

But right now...my personal opinions and feelings.

I know some women who wear long, ankle-length skirts and high-collared shirts and never cut their hair. If they feel comfortable in those clothes and it works for them, good for them. That is definitely modest and appropriate dress.

I know some women who wear denim jumpers and sneakers or sandals and have an ever-present ponytail. If they feel comfortable and like those clothes, good for them. That is OK in my book, too.

I know some women who wear jeans and pants and nice tops, and have longer hair with a modern cut. If they feel comfortable and like those clothes, that's OK, too.

What I see that I think is not appropriate is super short skirts or shorts. Personally I won't even wear shorts, but I don't think there is anything wrong with them if they are an appropriate length and paired with a nice top. I see women - grown women - in skirts that are just an inch or two shy of revealing their unmentionables to the world.

Now, I don't believe that a skirt has to come down to your ankles to be modest, but I do think making sure it comes down to your knees is a good idea. And this means it has to come down to your knees when you sit down, because a good many skirts seem plenty long when you stand up but rise several inches when you sit down.

I have no problem with tops that are...I guess the best word is "form-fitting" but I think that might give people a mental picture that I don't intend. I mean that I don't mind if a top shows that your waist curves in a little. I do NOT mean a shirt that hugs your curves and shows every dip and flare to your body.

I have a real problem myself finding tops that work for me. I am...well, let's just say, "top-heavy" (yeah, you know what that means), which means that tops that would not reveal cleavage on the average woman will reveal it on me. I hate high-necked tops because they always make me feel like I'm choking (some have suggested this has to do with being born with the umbilical cord around your neck, and maybe it does, I don't know), but then I don't want to walk around flashing cleavage, either. So it's hard for me to find tops that aren't smothering but aren't too revealing, either. A lot of the time I just have to keep a constant watch on my shirt and make sure it isn't riding too far down, because what seems high enough when first put on, can slowly make its way down as you go about your daily business!

I do not think that super tight tops are appropriate, or tops that are very low-cut (or low-cut at all, actually). I don't like spaghetti strap tops, either, because to wear that you either have to go: a) without a bra, which is bad, or b)your bra is showing, which is also inappropriate. Lately I see tons of backless tops and dresses and wonder if the ladies wearing them know what something like that does to the men sitting or standing behind them.

Now, at home, in my own bedroom, I have quite the stash of lacy, strappy nightgowns to wear. There is nothing wrong with wearing these in private for the pleasure of your own husband. But to just display all your...ahem...attributes to the world at large? No.

I have no problem with ladies wearing pants or even jeans, as long as they are made to fit the right way, i.e. not to tight but also not too baggy, and also not too low-slung (pants should fit at the waist, not halfway down your hips). I do think, however, that if you are wearing pants or jeans, you should wear a nice top with them to show a little femininity.

Which brings me to the other side of the issue: women who dress in big, baggy, men's clothes. To me, seeing a woman in baggy pants or men's shorts with a big, loose T-shirt is just about as bad as a woman in too-revealing clothes. I was pleased to read in the article referenced above, a verse that actually pertains to this very thing!

"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God."
~Deuteronomy 22:5


God made women and men different on purpose! Men are supposed to be strong and masculine, women to be gentle and feminine. Our dress is to reflect this. I would never dream of going out in public (or walking around my own house, for that matter) in clothes that look like they were made for a man! Besides denying our femininity, I think clothes like this look sloppy, like the woman wearing them is too lazy to try to make herself look nice.

I even see women today out and about wearing pajamas. Pajamas! Can you imagine? Well, you don't have to imagine because you can see them in real life, just go to the grocery store!

What it all really boils down to, though, under all the hoopla of do-s and don't-s of fashion, is does this woman have a real, true relationship with Jesus Christ? Beauty is only skin deep, but inner beauty shines out from within. Even the most modestly dressed woman can be rotten inside, and we must do well to remember that the state of our hearts is far more important than the state of our dress. However, if a woman is in a relationship with Christ, and studies the Word of God, and determines to obey God's laws, commands, and precepts, she will do away with the old - the provocative, immodest apparel - and put on the new - the clothing of decency, modesty, and righteousness.

I'm not perfect. I've worn my share of mini-skirts, as I said before. Sometimes I'll wear a top that I spend the entire morning pulling back up before I finally manage to get home and change out of. I've done my time coveting the glances of men around me.

But God has shown me the folly in this sin. He has shown me how it affects the men around me - including brothers in Christ - and that the way a woman dresses can be a stumbling block to the men around her. He has given me daughters to make me realize how dressing in immodest ways can cheapen a girl, affect her relationships and her self-image.

A good rule of thumb for dressing in God-pleasing ways? Look at yourself in the mirror. Would you want to wear that outfit out with your father? Your brother? Your father-in-law? Your pastor? Jesus?

If that doesn't work, think on this: would you want a woman dressed like that locked in a room for a few hours alone with your husband? If not, why would it be OK for you to dress like that around other women's husbands? Just some food for thought!

I had meant to address several different things in this blog, but the appearance/dress topic took up more space than I had planned, so I'll save the other stuff for another blog!

3 comments:

  1. OOOOh, golly, I feel like I have so much in common with you after reading this. I too had a child at 16, be it though a son, but we have 5 now and wow, it has so changed me.

    Since our transition from the wordlyness of our youth we have siimilar convictions so much so in fact I have been finding it hard to keep my mouth shut. But I realize that is what is best. I am glad to have found your blog here and look forward to continuing my readings here. God Bless.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I actively work at reminding my daughter about the importance of modesty. She asked me one time what I thought God thought when He saw all the scantily clad women walking around. I reminded her that God expects that we put our best foot forward in ALL things and that included how we dress. I believe in modesty, especially the modesty of women.

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  3. I just came across this blog and found it very interesting indeed.Thanks for sharing

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