Modesty: Loud and Proud

Summer is a great time to sip a tall glass of sweet iced tea, kick back with good friends, catch some rays, and avoid staring at the copious amounts of skin on display – from the pool to the grocery store.

But amid the mid-drifts, you can spot the lone rangers. People who have chosen to dress modestly and, even, people who are proud to be modest.

Wait.

Proud to be modest?

How does that work?

Isn’t that like bragging about your humility?

During middle school, I was largely impacted by the “true love waits” movement. Writing painfully awkward letters to my future husband (he still hasn’t read them), kissing dating goodbye, sporting purity ring bling, and holding to a “modest is hottest” manifesto.

Yes, I was a bit proud of myself.

The problem with clinging to a set of virtues, be it modesty or humility or whatever, as a badge of honor is that we miss why we should embody those things in the first place. As a Christian my life takes on new characteristics because of Christ working within me and by no ability that I’ve conjured myself. These evidences of a new life are not for us to lord over others, but rather to follow Jesus by humbly serving our neighbors and proclaiming Christ crucified.

Hear me out, I’m not saying that every preteen girl jotting letters to her future husband or wearing a “modest is hottest” tee shirt prizes her demureness over Jesus. What I am saying is that when a manifesto becomes more pronounced than the Lord of all Creation, we have problems. And it doesn’t matter if your skirt falls below your knees.

I’m all for modesty, but I am no longer (let’s just say it) the twirp of a girl who was pretty proud of her pure standards. I think there are many convicting reasons to be modest, many of which come from a non-Christian framework (see Jessica Rey in her talk ‘The evolution of the swimsuit‘ and Jewish writer Wendy Shalit’s ‘Return to Modesty‘). At the same time, I understand modesty doesn’t have the saving power of the Gospel. People ultimately need Christ, not higher necklines.

May we all be more conformed to the image of Jesus, humbly walking in obedience to Him, and more concerned with how our lives are playing out our faith than whether or not our blouses should touch our collarbones.

The rest will come.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Romans 12:9-13

 

2 Comments

  1. Deanna on August 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Bahaha. Your youth sounds like mine. 🙂 (Except for the writing letters part. Not that I can remember anyway.) There’s been a Facebook message conversation going between my sisters and me this summer regarding modesty, legalism, cultural differences, it being a matter of the heart etc. Definitely seems to be a hot button topic among so many people, but you are right we all just need to walk in obedience and follow our Lord.

    • Victoria Wilson on August 12, 2013 at 7:48 am

      It is so interesting to see how this conversation changes each time it resurfaces. I totally agree that modesty is a posture of the heart. As far as what modesty looks like, it seems to me that varies from culture to culture. But if our HEARTS are right and modest before the Lord, I know our outfits will follow. Thanks for reading!

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