Our Presentation to the World: What Are We Advertising?


I have been so blessed by reading posts from some of the other Christian women’s blogs. I hope all of you have been browsing as well.  I know, I need to update my list (see Kindred Minds) because I have discovered some new ones to add…

As I was reading through some of these blogs, I came across some articles regarding modesty, which reminded me of the time when I first began to consider the way I presented myself to the world.  I don’t remember the year, but I do remember the time period in my life ~ it was in the late 1990s after our household first got on the internet, probably around 1997.

I don’t know which came first, but the two strongest influences in regard to my decision were a magazine from the wife of the man who was our pastor at the time.  The magazine, which I cannot remember by  name, had articles discussing modesty, gardening and doctrines, some of which I had never considered for myself, but God was working in my heart to make me open-minded and teachable, so I began to study my Bible and research on the internet to see what He had to teach me.  That is most likely when I ran across the article on modesty.  I have included a link below to the pdf for those who want to download and read it.  Again, please read with discernment. I do believe the author of the article had good intentions, but I do not necessarily agree with everything he says nor do I think that Bathsheba necessarily sinned.  I don’t believe we know enough about the surrounding circumstances to know if she sinned or not.  However, please don’t close your mind to what he says because of the way he says it. =)

The Sin of Bathsheba

This article is written from a man’s point of view and he does not mince words, but it certainly hit home with me.  After reading it, I got out every outfit I had and tried it on in front of our full length mirror and bent over in every position possible to determine if it was modest.  Did it hang open when I bent to the front?  Was it tight in the back or did it creep up too short when bending over?  Was it tight or short when I sat down?  I certainly do not want to be the cause of one of my sons or any other man to struggle with more lust than they already have to face in our day.

There is a wonderful list of questions that we can ask ourselves about our outfit after we try it on, which you can download here. This was written by some young ladies who desire to dress modestly.  Add some of your own to the list!

I also discovered another blog that discusses modesty and they offer a modesty e-book, which must be requested.  Here is a link to the page. to request the Modesty Handbook.

On a side note: I do realize that modesty is cultural to some extent, but just because it is modest in Africa to not wear a bra and bare your breast when you feed your baby, it does not mean that the men in America who are bombarded daily with suggestive ads and scantilly clad women (who have been trained by our culture to allure men and who most often have ulterior motives) have the same mentality as the men in Africa who have grown up sheltered from our culture and around the women who do NOT dress that way to draw a man’s attention.  There is a difference. Modesty is not just what you wear, but an attitude and motive of the heart.  Drawing too much attention to yourself or carrying yourself in a seductive manner, can be immodest too.

That said, I also believe there is a set standard of modesty that comes from God’s word which is regardless of any culture.  The Bible clearly states that a woman and a man are to be distinct, so a woman should not dress like a man.  Scripture also states that a woman should not be showy.  And the final standard is that a woman should not cause a man to lust by the way she dresses.  So, do we walk right next to the edge of the cliff?  Or stay as far from the edge as possible?  Personally, I do not want to be responsible for causing even the most sensitive man to stumble.

When I opened my eyes to my own way of dressing, I had to admit that some of the clothing I wore was for men.  A part of me liked men to look at me, and that is what our culture teaches.

I can remember when it began for me.  It was in Junior High and my heart was drifting away from the Lord in many ways.  We had just moved to a new area and I can remember compromising in several things trying to fit in with the youth at our new place of fellowship.  It was at that time that I began to wear the shortest skirts I could get away with (which were not very short at all, thankfully, due to my godly parents who set limits on me) and wearing nylons with high heels to show off my legs.  My nickname with some of the young men in the youth group was “legs” and even though that was as far as it went, that appealed to my flesh.  By all outward appearance I looked like everyone else (which wasn’t necessarily good) and acted like a nice, Christian girl… but in my own heart I knew the rebellion and flirting with wickedness that was going on.  I am so thankful that the Lord led my parents to move again before any serious damage was done.  Shortly after that God began doing a major work in my heart.

This desire to appeal to men creeps in everywhere, sadly, even among those in the Church.  A short time ago, we worshiped with a small group of believers where some of the women’s dress was immodest.  Our boys would be fine all week and then every Sunday they would have to avert their eyes because of the way the women were dressing.  This is the case in many of the places we have gone to fellowship over the past 10 years and it is a travesty.  Of all times and places, a man should be able to fellowship with other believers and not have to worry about how the women are dressed.

Although it is natural for a woman to desire for a man to look at her, wearing clothing that allures a man should be reserved for just ONE man, namely, her husband.  We need to continually check our hearts and be completely honest with ourselves to see what our true inner motives are.

Our clothing identifies us.  Those who wear all black are identified as Goth’s.  Those who wear “Plain” Clothing are identified as Amish.  Those who wear harlot clothing are identified as harlots or “easy”.  Those who wear business suits are identified as professional… etc.  Those who have odd piercings and strange hair color or hair cuts are letting the world know that they need to be loved.  What does your clothing identify you as?

I will leave you with one final question and then hope that this post will get a lot of feedback and comments =).  I know there are quite a few people reading this blog, so please comment so that you can encourage others who are reading! To comment, click on the little quotation looking thingy in the upper right hand corner of this post and let us know what you think.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Have something to add?

Here is the final question:

What are we advertising when we wear our clothing?
  • we can advertise our womanly body to men by wearing tight, revealing or alluring clothes
  • we can advertise our SELF or our beauty to everyone by wearing too much makeup or loud, gawdy and showy clothing or jewelry, wearing piercings in strange places, tattooing or getting unusual hair styles or colors
  • we can advertise our money to others by wearing expensive clothing, diamonds, gold and jewels
  • we can advertise that we are a child of God to the world by dressing modestly
  • we can advertise that we love being a woman by dressing in feminine clothing
  • we can advertise that we don’t value who God made us to be, by wearing frumpy, dirty clothing or having an unkempt appearance

Ladies, what we choose to wear sends a very POWERFUL message.  As godly women, we need to be very careful not only to send the right message, but also not to send the wrong message!  Let’s be considerate of the men in our lives and the Holy God whom we represent as we present ourselves to the world.

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11 thoughts on “Our Presentation to the World: What Are We Advertising?

  1. Emily says:

    I am glad to see this post…
    This has been a very difficult subject for me. I have wrrestled in the past with being a skirt/dress only lady. I have been convicted to wear head coverings more regularly. But I must admit I still sit on the fence about it all. I have read and reread my Bible, others commentary, talked with my dear husband about it, etc.
    You had me chuckling when you mentioned trying on your clothes and bending over and such, having been there too. Still I find something pure about the beauty of our bodies and yet understand that in our sinful world it may cause another to stumble.
    I have been comtemplting my blog picture ever since I posted it for these reasons. For me the picture represents the transparency that I aim to be and the plainess that I am (no makeup, no jewlry) but at the same time it can send another message. SO I must change the picture.
    As for Bathsheba…historically our ancestors whom entered the Mikvah (where baptizing came from)to purify themselves before entering the Temple were known to shed their attire before submersing in its water. This would have too been public. So while I agree that we should take into consideration how our every action brings consequences,good or bad, I am not so sure I would call what Bathsheba did sin either.

    • KARE says:

      Hi Emily,

      Thank you so much for your response and I appreciate your honesty. I struggled with the practice of headcoverings for a while too. I searched the internet and asked opinions and got so many different opinions. I finally approached it logically and came to the following conclusions. I hope you don’t mind if I share them here =)

      1. In 1 Corinthians 11 where it is addressed, some people say the covering is hair or it is their husband, but logically, this can not be. I discovered this by replacing the word covering with the word hair every time is it mentioned in that chapter (it’s actually very funny to read). If our covering is our hair, then men should be bald and we should put our hair on and take it off. If it is our husband, then how can a man even be addressed in this passage since he doesn’t have a husband?

      2. Some people say the covering must be worn all of the time because we are to pray without ceasing. While the Bible teaches that we are to wear a covering when we are praying or prophesying, I believe that IF a woman is required to wear a covering all the time, then it was unnecessary for Paul to say when she should wear one, because it would already be on all of the time. (again, I am just trying to be logical about this) Also, in the Old Testament Rebecca put her covering on when she saw Isaac coming, so obviously she didn’t wear it all the time.

      3. I also took a look at history and the fact that all women wore a covering when they went to meet with the Church until the 1900s. What changed in the 1900s that lifted this? I haven’t studied enough to know the answer, but this definitely raises a question in my mind because the last 100 years or less is very small compared to thousands of years of women wearing coverings. I find it interesting that to this day, when men meet with the Church or when they are in public prayer or praying at a meal, they remove their hats (at least where I live they do), yet the women do not put on a covering. Why is that? If the women are “released” from wearing a covering, then the men should also be released from taking theirs off, shouldn’t they?

      These are some of the things that clarified this subject in my mind…

      On that note, I found two websites yesterday that have some beautiful coverings and attractive ways to tie them. One is Jewish and it is at http://www.tznius.com/ and the other is for ladies with cancer and it is at http://www.headcovers.com/ I am going to place orders with both of these places…

      *******************************

      Thank you also for shedding some light onto the subject of bathing/baptism. I appreciate that.

      Karilee

  2. Emily says:

    This has opened up many questions for me.
    In some Hasidic Jewish groups, a branch of Orthodox Judaism, they actually shave their hair and wear wigs. I also have come across that a generation ago there was a shift in Judaism which the women no longer held as high of standards in covering their heads, leaning more towards conservative and reformed Judaism. But like you stated I am not sure why. Perhaps it is just apathy?
    To add even more to my curiosity, we watched a movie called The Mission not so long ago which took place during the 18th century in South America. The priests wore kippah like hats. Was this custom for all believers? I know the Hebrews practice it but a Catholic Priest? And like you stated what about the practice of taking off ones hat for men at meal time and such. All very interesting.
    Then there is also Tzniut (like the site you posted) which refers to a group of laws concerned with modesty, in both dress and behavior. This is referred to in Micah 6:8.
    I have been to that site before and considered a purchase but never have. Along with the scripture stating that the head covering is a sign of authority on our head for the angels, I also feel that it is a reminder to me to be humble and submit. And I need this. Yet I am dragging my feet. I also am faced with the fact that our country especially is lacking in discernment and prudence. And this may be an area where I can contribute positively rather than adding to the problem. But I like to pray all day long, if I can. While doing my work. So then I figured I should be wearing a head covering most of the time. I don’t mean to hijack your post but what do you think about this? Is it wrong to pray so informally? Am I thinking too much like God is my friend and not showing enough reverence? We use to kneel every night for prayers as a family. But we eventually felt like it was becoming too ritualistic and less from the heart. Sorry this is a whole other topic.
    So I again say thank you for this post it has been a blessing to talk about these issues with another who cares.

    • KARE says:

      Emily, I saw The Mission too. That is a powerful movie.

      I haven’t really looked into why Jewish men wear Yamika’s or Catholic priests wear their hats… but I decided not to worry about that because that is between them and God and my decision is between God and me. =)

      Here is my experience with wearing a covering.

      I wear it when we pray for meals. I wear it during my “Closet Time’ with my LORD. I wear it when we meet together as a family and pray. I wear it when we meet with other believers and pray. I’m sure there are times I should be wearing it that I do not.

      When I have been in a larger group of believers I find that wearing a head covering helps to shut out distractions and almost make a tent for me to meet with the Lord. (I wear the long type of covering and usually wear it loose.)

      My friend wears a covering all the time and she says men treat her differently than they used to… probably similar to men treating me differently when I wear modest dresses.

      I think a head covering on a woman not only commands respect, in a protective way (like men used to think towards women) but it does also do something inside of your own heart when you wear one. After all, how silly would it be to wear a headcovering as a sign of submission to your husband and then be a domineering, loud and stubborn woman. =)

      I agree with you too that it is a great way to be a testimony to the world. It would be very obvious that there is something different about you and would be a great conversation starter. =)

      Regarding wearing it all the time, I don’t think that is wrong at all. I didn’t mean to imply that. I just don’t think we are required to wear it all the time.

      I think it is absolutely lovely to pray all the time and God desires that! That is one of my aspirations listed on my Ambitions Page above! There is definitely a fine line between God being our friend and at the same time a terrible, awesome God. I think the way we can demonstrate our reverence is by living in obedience to Him and realizing what He is capable of. Not in fear, per se, but a healthy reverence like one would have for a very, very powerful being. And not a “high five” type friendship, but a deep, abiding relationship based on mutual love.

      Again, just my thoughts. I don’t ever want anyone to take my words without checking them against the Scripture and then it must be between each of us and God. No one will never be accountable to me, but we will all stand before God and give account for what we did and didn’t do.

  3. Avivah @ Oceans of Joy says:

    Kare, thank you for bringing up this important topic.

    Emily, as an Orthodox Jew I want to clarify about our position on head coverings. In the Orthodox world (the hassidic are only one group on the Orthodox spectrum) the standard is to cover one’s hair with wigs, hats, or scarves and is very widely practiced, and definitely hasn’t declined in the last generation – if anything women are more careful about this now than their grandmothers were fifty years ago. The question isn’t if a women will cover her hair, but what she will use to cover it and how completely she will cover her hair.

    • KARE says:

      I appreciate you sharing this with us, Avivah. An inside look is always very enlightening! Do Orthodox Jews wear a covering all the time or only at certain times?

    • Emily says:

      Avivah, (that is a beautiful name)
      Thank you for correcting me. I am glad to hear that there is more thought put into head covering now than 50 years ago. Forgive me, my sources were mainly from reading. I understand that Hassidic Jews are only one group on the Orthodox spectrum, my intention was to take into consideration some of the other viewpoints out there on this topic.
      Karilee,
      Thanks for sharing what you do and your thoughts on my questions. Iron sharpens iron, and I think it wise to bounce these sort of questions off one another for edification. But I assure you, you need not worry about me taking a man or woman’s word before cross referencing it with The Word and much prayer.

  4. 0 celebrities without makeup says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog.
    A great read. I will certainly be back.

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