Skip to main content

Modesty-Isn't That Just Old Fashioned?


I haven't always been a modest dresser. When I was in high school I let the fashion of magazines such as Seventeen and Vogue and my circle of friends influence my dress more than what God had to say about the issue.

While I was more careful in my dress after marrying my college sweetheart, I still would like to show off my curves when we went out. It wasn't until I moved to Paraguay that I realized that different cultures have different understandings of modesty. Shorts that were considered "normal" in the U.S. (mid thigh length) are not considered appropriate here. Most women do not wear shorts. If they do, they are knee-length.

When I went back to the States on our first summer furlough, I was so used to wearing long shorts and capri pants that I was a little taken aback seeing women wear the short-shorts I used to wear. My goodness, they were exposing almost all of their leg! It was then that I realized how blind I had been to the strong cultural current of sensuality and contrast of the message of "modern" fashion and God's word.

A fantastic little book called The Look, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, (it's also in Spanish!), talks about how our clothing reveals the condition of our hearts. Her questions are challenging me to rethink my wardrobe choices. What motivates our style of clothing? What message are we sending with what we wear? Are we trying to attract attention to our bodies or are we giving glory to God with our clothing?

Why dress modestly? Not only is my body not my own (it is a temple of God), dressing indecently causes men to lust in their hearts. The thing is that Christian women are sometimes the worst culprits. I can't tell you how awkward and frustrating it is to sit behind someone in church who is wearing a see-through blouse. I know that this makes it hard for Hubby to concentrate on the Lord. She is also taking away from me something that is mine, and that's my husband's attention.

This issue has been burning in my heart lately as I see the youth in our church wearing the same scandalous clothing that all the other teens wear. In fact, if you would line them up, you couldn't tell the difference! It's not just teens though, it's their mothers as well who have shortened their skirts and exposed their breast. Since men are so visual, we women have a responsibility to make sure that what we wear doesn't make them stumble. I'm quite positive that if we were to revolutionize our clothing, there would be fewer affairs and separations! We have one life to live, and it's our choice to "flaunt" our bodies or live for God's glory, whether at the beach, a formal evening or at church.

I'm not at all saying that God doesn't want us to be beautiful. On the contrary! He is the Creator of all things beautiful. Queen Esther went through 12 months of beauty treatments (I'd probably need 36 months!). I'm also not suggesting you dress like your grandmother! The woman in Proverbs 31 is a woman who had linen clothing (nice fabric). I'm suggesting a beauty that's focused from the inside out; a beauty that's pure and humble and feminine.

On Thursday, we're having a women's tea to celebrate the International Day of the Woman (it was on Sunday) and I'm going to be sharing about true beauty in God's eyes. If you would remember me in prayer, I'd really appreciate it. The key for me is that this is NOT an issue of legalism and measuring skirt lengths, it's a matter of the heart.

If your clothes could talk, what would they say about you?

Comments

  1. Modesty is such a struggle for young women, but its up to us older women to teach them the difference between attractive and sexy. We need to teach our sons this also. I too am always shocked when I return to the US, but at least they wear looser tshirts with the shorts and do not wear high heels!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Julie, I have been sharing "The Look" with others lately. We use it in preparation for homeschool formal activities because prom-type dresses are so often very immodest. I'm glad to see it has a wider audience.

    Katrina

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.


Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 



Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!


To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

The Genesis of my story in Paraguay: Part 2

In Part 1, I shared how my first move to Paraguay was at age 5. At that time I was a minor, following my parents around. But my second move to Paraguay was at age 25 when after college, I—or better said, we—decided to move back to Paraguay. This time, the Genesis was a letter inviting us to help pioneer a new radio station there.


At the time I had just gotten married to my college sweetheart Julie. We were both enrolled in seminary, enjoying just being married and going to school. Among our hobbies at the time was traveling the U.S. and to any country that we had the funds to go to. During those days, we began running seriously and trained for our first marathons and adventure race. Our first marathon was the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie and I finished together in what I thought was a pretty good time of 4 hours, 12 minutes.


One day, a letter in our mailbox got us thinking about plans beyond graduation. The letter was from Walter Franz, inviting us to help establis…

Paraguayan Weddings

On Valentine’s Day, we had the joy of attending the wedding of Sandra and Anastacio, young leaders in the church. Sandra is my assistant with Children of Promise and Anastacio, apart from his carpentry job, has a popular youth-focused radio program every night at 8:00 on our station.

We’ve been to quite a few weddings, and these are some of the uniquenesses of southern Paraguayan wedding celebrations from our North American culture:

1. Nothing is fancy. Emphasis is placed on the act of marriage and not on the decorations or food.
2. It is not an expectation that parents help pay for expenses. Most families just make it each month with regular expenses and cannot afford to pay for eleborate feasts. Most couples have to spend months saving for their own wedding.
3. Borrow as much as possible. Many times wedding dresses are borrowed 5-10 times, because few women can afford their own. Flowers, decorations, shoes and ties (Norb loans out his ties often...since he never wears them!) are …