Last weekend, I spent some time with a group of our girls from church for a "Girls Night Out." We played games, ate pasta, had a fashion show and talked about modesty. And of course the inevitable dance party broke out before we curled up with popcorn and soda to watch Princess Diaries. I brought Micah along too (he was the only boy allowed!) so we didn't spend the night, but we stayed pretty late and met them back up there around 10am in the morning for a time of worship.
If it sounds like fun, you'd be right, it was.
But what I cherished most of all was getting the opportunity to spend face to face time with these girls. They had questions, they had hurts and some of them had a seriously flawed view on what it meant to be beautiful. And modesty, no matter how "dated" the word may appear, is such a needed character trait that I thought I would address it here on the blog as well.
Modesty is dying in our culture. And I'm not just talking about a dress code. You can be wearing a burqa and still be immodest. Modesty, in it's very definition, means humble. Unassuming. Unpretentious. Quiet about our own achievements and abilities.
In a lot of ways, completely opposite of our culture.
We are being influenced and consumed every day by social media, magazines, photographs, tv, music, you name it... that tell us that success is beauty, that money is beauty, that fame is beauty. And the temptation is there to become envious of those who have nicer homes, or nicer hair, or nicer clothes. Before we know it - we are caring too much about what everyone else thinks of us and not caring about thinking of everyone else.
It's not like we have to go too far looking for these things. Thanks to social media, it's flaunted in our faces. One of the biggest trends out there is to take "selfies" or simply, a picture of yourself. I cringe just thinking about it. Because for decades teenagers have struggled with self-esteem and identity issues, this isn't new. But now we have measurements to help boost our ego or dig in the knife deeper, depending on how many people decide to "like" our photo. The whole concept behind a "selfie" is selfish. We are degrading ourselves. We are worth so much more to Christ. (Let me also clarify that I do believe there is a difference in taking a selfie for selfish reasons and taking one to truly document a moment. But a lot of times it's hard to differentiate between the two, so I tend to avoid them altogether).
You see, immodesty is all about how much you are revealing. Whether in your clothing or in your tweets, photos and conversation. And if we don't have a filter in our lives, we are going to adapt to the culture around us.
My filter is my husband.
Whenever I get dressed to go somewhere, I ask Josh if what I'm wearing is okay. Sometimes he says, "You look too good in that!" which is code for "You need to go change." There have been several times where I've thought I looked "supa-cute" in an outfit, and he felt uncomfortable with me wearing it. So I changed. I care more about being modest, especially in his eyes, than I do about being trendy or fashionable.
I also run things by him before sharing on social media. I show him photos before posting, read him tweets before I send them out and even blog posts sometimes, if I know it may be a touchy subject.
This is how I've handled my very real, very tempting, issue with modesty.
I want every girl and guy to feel beautiful. I want them to feel loved. But, immodesty robs us of that. Immodesty is always asking for more.
This is such a heavy burden on my heart. I believe it accounts for so much of the heartache teenagers and young adults face today. Spending the weekend with these girls reminded me of this prevalent issue.
And to all my 18+ women out there, who think this issue may not apply to us, remember you are an example. They are watching. Show them what a godly woman of character looks like.
I'll leave you with this quote I saw pop up on my Twitter feed the same day I started writing this post, no coincidence I'm sure.
"A gentle spirit, modest character and loving personality gives a radiance to the face that no makeup could ever replicate." - Ashlee Chu