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Modesty and decency.
What do these words have in common?
They are fluid. Their meanings, or really our interpretation of them, are constantly changing. They change over time and across cultures.
So how does a momma maintain a modest appearance for herself and her family if society’s views on modest clothing is always changing?
The best way is to stay close to God’s Word and His desire for us.
Because God’s Word doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. And thank goodness for that!
What is modesty all about?
Let’s talk about what modesty is and what it isn’t.
Being modest doesn’t mean being frumpy. No potato sack or head-to-toe denim is needed. In fact, the Bible tells us that the Proverbs Wife (#wifegoals) is dressed in “fine linen and purple gowns” Proverbs 31:22b. Some of you mommas are blessed with a fabu sense of fashion – it’s a gift, use it (and feel free to share it with us vanilla ice cream style mommas)!
Modesty isn’t being ashamed of your body. We have to remember that God made us in His likeness (Genesis 1:27). And not only are we created in His own image, but He considers us a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). Seriously mommas, who we to mess with that?!
Being modest doesn’t necessarily mean mandatory dresses 24/7. I believe that God will speak to your heart with specific callings for you and your family. He’s already laid something on your heart – that’s why you’re here and it’s why I’m writing this. He’s always talking to us, we just need to stop listen.
Modesty is not optional. It’s spelled out very clearly for us in 1 Timothy 2:9: And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
Modesty is what God puts on your heart. The way your family shows their modesty can be different from other families.
Maybe He is calling you to practice headcovering (if so, be sure to check out Elaine’s blog: Radical Christian Woman and Garland’s Of Grace) or to abstain from wearing pants – as in only wearing dresses/skirts… not going sans-bottoms!
Or it could also be smaller changes, like the length of your shorts and necklines or even your hairstyle.
Being modest is being comfortable. If you have to limit your movements to keep your private areas covered, it’s probably not very modest. If you wear shirts and pants that are not too tight, low, or short you don’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions.
Modesty is something to start young. Matthew 7:24-25 Reminds us to build up a strong foundation and Proverbs 22:6 instructs us to direct our children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
So if you lay the foundations of living modestly at a young age it will stay with them as they grow.
It’s best not to make “crazy” new rules as soon as your daughter’s body starts developing. It will cause confusion and shame about the natural changes – and most likely fan the flame of teenage rebellion.
Modesty goes deeper than what we wear. It is how we behave, how we speak, and how we treat others.
Living a modest life is full of grace, not perfection. I truly believe that we are not meant to live a legalistic life – one where we get so focused on how we do things that we forget why we are doing them.
I can’t go back and stop myself from getting tattoos, gauging my ears, spackling my face, or frying my hair. But I can live out the rest of my life listening to God’s will for me and my body as well as being the role model that my children need… and so can you!
What modesty looks like in my family
Let me give you the guidelines that we follow. Don’t forget, this can be different for your family, I’m just sharing the way we “do” modesty.
We are careful about the way our kids dance and pretend play. This starts with monitoring our kids’ tv time. There is so much inappropriate dancing and behavior on tv shows and the internet… let’s just say we don’t want our little ones to be mimicking Cardi B’s dance moves…
We also monitor playtime with friends. Pretend play can easily cross lines that can’t be uncrossed. Is that just me being overprotective? Maybe. But I’m totally okay with that.
Bermuda shorts and capri pants – no shorts
No spaghetti straps, off the shoulder collars, visible bra straps or sides, or low arm-holes (side-boob), no visible boob-crack (about two fingers below the collarbone for my young daughter)
No exposed midriff
Leggings or yoga pants are okay as long as a long shirt is worn with it to cover the caboose
Knee length (or longer) skirts and dresses
Layer up – We take extra precautions with dresses, skirts, and even some shirts.
A cheap pair of bicycle shorts under a dress will allow you to be active and stay cool without flashing your britches.
Walmart has bicycle shorts in fun colors in the girl’s department for less than $5… and they are the perfect thing to wear under a dress or skirt!
For mommas I highly recommend Undersummers by CarrieRae. Not only do they keep you covered, but they stop the thigh chafing -woo-woo! I’m not affiliated with them, but I love them so much I want to shout it from the rooftops… they seriously are a summer saver for us thick-thighed mommas!
Swimsuits… well that’s a whole ‘nother post. Let’s just say there’s we don’t do bikinis.
Limited use of makeup. There’s a little story for this one…
Putting on makeup used to be a staple of my daily routine. But one morning my daughter, who was four at the time, needed to put on her play makeup on before we left the house. She had a full on meltdown because I said no.
God whispered in my ear “enough.”
I thought, how can I be a model of “loving yourself” if I am constantly modifying my own appearance?
I want my daughter to see the beauty in herself just as God does and we (as parents) do. I don’t want her to feel like she needs to add anything to her appearance to be accepted.
So I eliminated makeup from my routine.
It doesn’t mean we don’t have makeup in the house. I’ll still put a light amount of makeup on for special occasions. When I do wear it, I include my daughter. We make it fun and a treat – not a necessity.
No more permanent hair coloring. The reason is the same as the for the makeup. This was honestly harder than the makeup because I’ve been doing it since I was 13 – thanks to a horrible experiment with Sun-In!
So go ahead and be rebellious… modestly of course
Embrace your inner rebel! Only, instead of using your rebellious nature to be loud and flashy – use it to be classy!
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world…