Today I want to explore an issue that does arise for the modern Christian woman, the issue of feminine modesty. I know some people have some very strong beliefs on what modesty should look like and some don’t, so I thought it would be interesting to explore this issue using some images I’ve found on Instagram.
What does modesty mean to you as a Woman of God?
Let’s look at three definitions of modesty.
Definition 1: The Dictionary
The quality or state of being unassuming in the estimation of one’s abilities.
The quality of being relatively moderate, limited, or small in amount, rate, or level.
Behaviour, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.
The first two sentences bother me because if we apply it to feminine modesty it sounds like you should place no or very little value on or even be aware of how you look. If you’ve spent most of your life living in a cave and never received a compliment in your life or looked in a mirror or sticking to the theme pool of water, you might get away with that but in modern day society – definitely not. Also the Bible no where states that being attractive or appreciating beauty in itself is a sin.
Honestly guys, I've been waiting all week to do a #fridayintroductions post because I really just wanted an excuse to tell y'all that I love 😍 gyros (ya know, that lamb on rice and salad with tazieki sauce) SO SO much. Little bit about me: My name is Olivia, I'm a 22 year old stay at home daughter, oldest of 6, 5' 2". I have been blogging at FreshModesty.blogspot.com for over 4 years with the goal of encouraging other young ladies that it is not that big a deal or too hard to dress with class, practicality, and modesty. I live on 64 acres, love mud, dance to the Beach Boys, own a clothing company, share a room with my 3 sisters, consider myself an expert screwdriver user, have a passion for cleaning, jump at any chance to go to Dollar Tree, was conceal carrying my gun in this picture, have Lyme disease and RMSF, been to Paris and bought 16 scarves, and often search Pinterest for my own outfits to help me remember what's in my closet so I don't have to get out of bed to plan an ensemble. And I really really really love gyros. Wore this eShakti dress to a bridal brunch last summer and can't get over the intense color of green and purple this picture has. 😊
Definition 2: The Bible
likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, (! Timothy 2:9) and Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— (1 peter 3: 3)
I think it would be really easy to take those above scriptures as they are without reading the full context of them, and it has caused many women to struggle with their faith. If you haven’t already I would encourage you to read the pre and proceeding verses.
I also find it interesting how different denominations and cultures have varying definitions of modesty. For some it’s all about skirts and sleeves of a certain length with no trousers allowed.
I have personally stood in front of the mirror to work out just how short a skirt I would be willing and comfortable to wear, somewhere along the line I realised that what I didn’t blink twice at wearing when I was at university I wouldn’t dream of wearing now.
Then there are those whose deifntion of modesty include high heels and matching handbag and jewellery with an onpoint jacket.
I’m yet to master the fine art of wearing heels but I’m ready and willing to put in the practice.
This brings me to the third and final definition of feminine modesty which I want to look at today.
Definition 3: The Spirit of Modesty
Modesty is a respectable manner of adorning one’s body and carrying oneself, born out of a freedom from a worldly definition of beauty and worth, and motivated by a hatred of sin and a desire to draw attention to God. – Source
I personally think this definition of feminine modesty is much more towards the heart of the scriptures which I mentioned, the motives and desires of the heart. If we get too caught up with outward appearances we can easily fall into believing that our actions and behaviours make us good, righteous and acceptable in front of God. We take on the role of modern day Pharisees who turn our nose up at anyone we feel isn’t conforming to our standards of dress and behaviour and turn ourselves into whitewashed tombs. We are not perfect or good, no matter how good or modest we might aim/try to look.
I don’t think God wants us to deny our feminity or shun beauty, for me it’s about balancing my need for feeling and looking beautiful, with my desire for self-expression and my desire to please God. What I wear is an extension of me, my beliefs, values and personality yet in no way should I take God or my husband out of the picture.
And one last word….
I have friends who choose not to wear trousers, who refuse to wear jewlery, put on or wear a weave/extensions/wig, dye or even relax their hair. I have friends who feel that we should cover our hair, friends who believe that make-up is a no-go area and friends who wouldn’t be seen by anyone apart from their spouse in a swimming costume. Can I judge them? No. Especially if it’s a decision they have come to with God and their partner and still feel at peace and free to express themselves. I would hope they would extend the same to me.
What about you?
What image best represents your definition of feminine modesty in a Christian woman?