I’m just going to throw it out there: there is a huge difference between being sexually desirable and being a beautiful person. And furthermore, I honestly do not believe you can strive for both at the same time.
God has been… well, I’ll say “revealing” but it’s more like “beating me over the head with” TONS of material and things on modesty. I hear about it everywhere. I’ve stumbled upon Scriptures about it. Every major ministry I follow on Facebook or Twitter has posted about it recently. My boyfriend and I, as well as my step-mom and I, have spent hours discussing it. And, courtesy of my step-mom, I’m now reading a book focused on, “decency, modesty, chastity, and dignity” for young women. I feel like God’s word on the matter is following me everywhere.
Now, I never considered myself an immodest person, especially in the past year of my life since I was saved (I had my moments before then, but in general… yeah. You get the idea). But when the topic came up about people who take modesty to the extreme – like conservative Mennonites, the Amish, or even those of the Islamic faith – my defenses went sky-high and my sinful and prideful nature just ravaged the whole conversation.
Now, I’m not necessarily advocating their style, however there’s definitely a million ways to be trendy and modest at the same time.
I’ve always assumed that modesty was for MY sake – and don’t get me wrong, it is – but it’s not for my sake, alone. Yes, dressing scantily does do you no justice and it asks for trouble because you’re a walking billboard for sin, but it’s more than that.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and tell you what God has shown me…
Number one: There are certain things that only your husband should know about you. The way you look half-dressed is one of them (anything less than that should be a given). So walking around in shorts that advertise your butt, or so much cleavage you could lose your keys in it, should probably be avoided. If you don’t have a husband now, someday you might, and I’m sure he would greatly appreciate the value of your body because it has never been given or shown to anyone else. If you treat it like a jewel, he will too.
Number two: Some people have argued to me that “God gave them their amazing body, so they should show off His handiwork.” False. Yes, God did give you the body that you inhabit, but He did not do so for you to promote evil thoughts. Dressing like that only exists for one reason: attention. When you’re calling attention to yourself solely based on your physical appearance and not your soul – which is where God’s interest and brilliant craftsmanship really lies – you’re just cheapening His creation. Your body was made for more than sex. It was made to give you a vessel to worship Him through. That is its singular purpose and if it wasn’t, then I imagine we would be taking them to heaven with us, but they don’t. Use your vessel appropriately.
Number three: It shows that you have absolutely no regard for the people around you. In the Bible, it says that we are not to be stumbling blocks to those around us. Men are made with an innate desire and a much more active sexual appetite than women are, so when women are walking around leaving little to the imagination, what do you think will happen? It also says in the Bible that a lustful thought is considered adultery. So if I was showing off all that I had to offer and a married man walked by, his natural reaction is physically based and if a lustful thought about me were to cross his mind, he’s technically an adulterer. Not to make excuses for other people’s bad behavior, but at the same time, I’d be the one putting it out there for the whole world to see, can I really blame him for noticing?
That last one is where I’ve felt most convicted over the past few days, actually. I’ve realized that I’m a stumbling block to a lot of people – including my boyfriend, even just based on the jokes I’ve made and the things I talk about sometimes. I’ve taken a new outlook to my wardrobe and the content of my conversations and am trying to be really proactive about making these changes.
To get back to my claim though, that you cannot strive to be both sexually attractive and a beautiful person at the same time – what I mean is not that those who are beautiful people cannot be sexually appealing to others, but they don’t STRIVE for it. I really do believe that the two goals are at opposite ends of the spectrum and you cannot be in two places at once.
Saying that someone is “sexually attractive” implies only things about their outward appearance, while saying someone is a “beautiful person” says much more, to me, about the nature of their character. If you’re goal is to be sexy, then you’re not looking out for your own best interests, let alone the best interests of others, and that just drags you too far from the “beautiful” end of the spectrum.
In my opinion, we ladies would be much better served to focus on the content of our character, our level of dignity, and our relationship and level of respect for God, ourselves, and those around us than to worry about whether or not a man would take us back to his place. I believe we would have a much greater idea of our self-worth, our own value would increase, we’d have healthier relationships, and we’d feel much less defeated by the lies of today’s society about our physical appearances.