Modesty. It’s a subject that I’ve been aware of ever since I can remember.
When I was just eight years old, I knew exactly why I wore a one piece to the beach while most girls dressed in bikinis. At ten, my friends and I decided that mini-skirts were grossly innappropriate and looked down on those who wore them. And by the time I turned twelve, I was fretting over the fact that my tank tops were now too revealing. I knew that being modest was important.
I’ll never forget the feeling, oh, that feeling, of realizing that I was immodestly dressed. I walked into the room where some of my friends were gathered. I remember exactly what I was wearing that day for I had taken pains to make myself look nice and decent–I wore a dark blue sweater and light blue flare jeans. It wasn’t anything fancy but I had thought it looked presentable–that is, until I saw them all, dressed in their long, draping skirts. They stared at my form-fitting jeans and I felt certain that they judged me. I felt uncomfortable, ugly, and immodest. And thus began my love-hate relationship with modesty.
Its really been an uphill battle ever since then. “Is this appropriate?” “Does that show too much skin?” “How will they view me in this?” “Does it really matter anyway?” Even to this day, I continue to ask myself these questions, loving and hating every moment of it.
I’ve gone through so many phases with it all. There have been times of rebellion in which I totally dissed modesty and wore what I wanted. On the other hand, I’ve had many of my own periods of self-righteousness in which I check my clothing choices carefully and judge those who “apparently don’t.” There have been the few, very few times in which I have actually just minded my own business, clothed myself in what I felt comfortable and right in, and gone on with my life. But generally, it’s just a mess of loving and hating this thing called modesty.
Some people–maybe you’re one of them–can button their shirts to their collor bones and wear skirts well past their knees and proclaim modesty without a second thought. It doesn’t effect them and they wonder how it could ever be painful to anyone else. But there are others, who have been affected, deeply wounded in fact, by the careless self-righteousness of others. We have been hurt so badly that it can be hard for us to dress modestly and enjoy doing so, and much harder to proclaim modesty. Because sometimes, modesty just hurts.
Today, I mostly live the “love” part of my relationship towards modesty–or at least I try to. I’ve grown to have standards and even enjoy obeying them. Thankfully, God has cleared much of my pain associated with being the immodest outcast and I can wear things that I never thought I could wear. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the temptation to judge others is always far from my mind. It’s still a mess of love and hate, but I’m picking up the pieces.
So if I say something about modesty that sounds a little weird, this is where I’m coming from. I have a love-hate relationship with dressing modestly and I’m working through it, step by step. I’m not trying to judge, condemn, or rebel–just lay down my burdens, provoke some thought, and uncover the truth.