Article can originally be found on the A-TEAM Talkshow Blog
I was originally going to write about relationships, you know the romantic kind. As a licensed therapist I really enjoy working with clients on building healthy relationships and working through tough issues. However, something I saw on Facebook last week changed my mind. Let me say right now that what I am about to say makes me a little concerned that from here on out everyone will be scrutinizing how I dress. I am a girl who loves her ponytails, jeans, and sweatshirts. So, don’t you look at me funny when you see me in the streets with my pink and green Michigan sweatshirt, jeans and converse? That was my style before writing this and it’s going to be my style after (You’ll get where I’m going with this). That said, I wanted to touch on something that has been a hot topic in my group chats over the last week or so. My notifications have been off the constantly going off surrounding the topic of modesty. What is this thing called modesty and why has everyone been talking about it recently?
I’m Gonna Do Me In Jesus’ Name!
I’m sure many of you have been paying attention to the trending news with Ayesha Curry’s comment a few months ago on modesty and more recently Devon Franklin coming to the defense of his wife, Meagan Good, after a woman rudely (in my opinion) made a comment in regards to her choice of clothing. To clarify, no - I don’t think that was the time or the place for that woman to address Meagan about her wardrobe. She missed a ripe opportunity to have a great conversation and better understand why Meagan chooses to wear what she does. Ultimately, they are two grown adults. She can dress how she wants to and if neither she nor her husband are convicted about it, then sometimes it’s best to just pray for people instead of inserting your two cents. Yes, I do believe Devon was right for standing up for his wife. Where Devon lost me was when he said, “She can wear what she wants to wear in the name of Jesus!”. I cringed a little when that came across his lips. My dude...really?! He may have meant every word that he said, but I hope in hindsight he realizes that his delivery there could have been better.
“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, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness -- with good works.”
After that clip of Devon and Meagan began going viral on social media, my friends and I had some lengthy group chats giving our perspectives on it. One my friends stated that “The bible is clear about what modesty is, but the definition of modesty is subjective.” I couldn’t agree with her more. 1 Timothy 2:9 says, “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, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness -- with good works.” Before some of you start sending me hate mail and claiming that I need to check my inner feminist, I want you to step back and read that scripture again. Now, I want you to stop taking it out of context. This scripture is not saying we can’t wear nice or fancy things. I may like my sweatshirts, but I’m not out here in public looking frumpy on the daily. This scripture isn’t telling me to look like Plain Jane - what woman wants to look worn down and tattered? I love my pearls and plan on wearing them to the grave as they put the ivy on my casket. I don’t know any women or men for that matter, who want women out here looking broke down, frumpy and unkempt, but I digress.
This scripture is simply calling on women to wear “respectable apparel” in order to show their true beauty. It’s not saying women shouldn’t dress in a way that makes them look and feel beautiful, it’s stating quite the opposite. It’s telling us, women, not to use material things to hold ourselves to a standard of beauty. Your true beauty is within. How do you adorn yourself properly? By making sure that your faith and your words match your actions. In other words, we as believers should be known for how we act not how we look.
“In a world full of trends I want to remain a classic.” - Iman
In a society where sex sells, where looks and first impressions are everything, it’s just easier to conform. However, you and I have been set apart. We were not called to live an easy life, as believers we were called to be courageous and go against the grain - to hold ourselves to a different set of standards than the world does.
We Have a Choice
That’s right good people! God has given each and every one of us free will. We can choose to glorify God in our bodies through what we wear and we can choose not to. Our convictions will be different. Just like some people feel convicted about drinking alcohol, I don’t. Now getting drunk is a different story, but having 1 or 2 glasses of wine over a period of time in a social setting is quite alright with me! As I am writing this, I am slightly convicted in other areas of my life, whether it be how I eat or do I exercise enough, but there’s always room to make better choices and room for growth. When you know better, you do better. I know that I strive to glorify God in everything that I do, but I don’t always make the best decisions. I’m pretty sure that if I am blessed to grow old and grey my decision making will be more sound, but I’m still going to make some bad one’s here and there. I’m human - that is going to happen. The awesome thing is that God shows his love for us in that while we are still sinners He gave his son to die for us.
The Grace Is Real
While everyone may look at you and I and turn their noses up in judgement and disgust; when people don’t like your style and say that how you look or live is gross, remember that God says grace! If God can show his grace to us, despite everything we’ve done and will do, then why is it that we can’t treat others in the same way? Could that woman have been more gracious in how she made her comment to Meagan... absolutely! That’s what I really liked about Meagan’s response. Even though the woman’s comment clearly upset Meagan, instead of getting mad and responding out of hurt and anger she said, “Pray for me”. She could have easily reacted, but by responding with a calm spirit and a smile she showed her class.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We are flawed and God shows us grace despite that. He uses our flaws and our mess to deliver a message. I don’t know about you, but that encourages me that He will meet me where I am and doesn’t expect me to be perfect. We are always growing and getting better, at least that’s what we hope, right? He is always working on us and we are a continuous work in progress. We don’t know what work God has planned for Meagan and Devon. Could her outer appearance be a distraction from their message? Yea, I’m sure it could be, but their message may not be for you and instead, for someone else. So don’t be so quick to judge - show a little grace.
“Modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because they’re bad, modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves… it’s about revealing our beauty.”
Your Actions Should Speak So Loud I Can’t Hear A Word You’re Saying
“In the name of Jesus” should not be a justification to wear and act however we please. Our hearts will ultimately be lead by him each and every morning when we look in our closets and decide what we are going to put on for the day. It’s true, people are going to judge you and have opinions about you regardless, so dress in whatever makes you happy! I encourage you to start thinking about if what you’re wearing each day is a reflection of what your heart looks like.
Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will.” - Anne Klein
Whether you believe it or not, it is true. If your heart is broken and craving attention, you're going to dress in a way that reflects that. If you’re depressed and feel beaten down, you’re going to dress in a way that says that. My sweatshirts, ponytails, and jeans are a reflection of how comfortable and confident I am in my skin. When I feel like it or when the occasion calls for it, I know how to slay in some heels and a nice dress that hugs the curves - not too tight, but just right. Don’t let the way you look to be a distraction from the message God wants you to share and the purpose He has for you. As women, we have the beauty and power to teach others how to see, treat and love us for the right reasons.