June 18, 2014
Just after graduating high school, when I was way too cool to participate in anything meaningful and designed to point me toward maturity, my church hosted a fun evening of separate Father/Son and Mother/Daughter events.
The men were going camping, complete with a whole-pig roasting and “Dressling” matches, a clever little sport where participants put on thrift-store dresses over their clothes and wrestle, as seen here during a rather intense match several years ago:
Believe me, it’s good, clean fun.
And then there was the itinerary for the Mother/Daughter evening:
And I quote, “Moms and daughters are going to get together at the church and talk about modesty.”
So the men were roasting a delicious, juicy ham and making fun of each other in dresses, and we ladies were going to meet in the Fellowship Hall and discuss appropriate wardrobe choices.
Now, granted, my too-cool, 19-year-old self was not terribly clever, but I knew one thing: Someone was getting ripped off in the fun department.
(Hint: it wasn’t the guys.)
If my life has a theme right now, it is surrender.
God is saying, Give it up, Hannah. Die to yourself all the way. Go all in. Give me everything. Surrender and be free.
You may not want to read me anymore after this one, but I have to surrender that.
You may file me away as a stuffy old lady on a soapbox, but that’s okay too.
Because I am surrendering.
So as much as I want to be the one hosting the pig-roasting party, instead, today, I come full circle.
Today I talk about modesty.
Let me be clear: I hate modesty.
For me, it has been one of the greatest struggles in my walk with God. Not because I was determined to dress like a floozy, but because it’s just not fair.
It offends my flesh, and my flesh loves a good fight.
Women are encouraged to dress modestly because of verses like this: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt 5:28.
But so what? Why is that my problem? Shouldn’t guys just keep their eyes to themselves?
Yes, of course they should. But this is a fallen world we live in.
And adultery, by definition, requires two parties.
Harsh, I know.
Proverbs describes how a man seduced by an adulterous woman “followed her like an ox going to the slaughter.” Proverbs 7:22.
This was the verse that finished my fight with God.
The visual of an ox, that powerful animal, being so unknowingly lead to his own death struck me as deeply grotesque and painfully pitiful.
A man, my husband, your husband, our Christian brother being lead to his death.
How does that sit with you?
It kills me.
Sometimes dying to yourself is loud and everyone notices.
Sometimes it’s quiet and subdued.
Dying to ourselves over how we dress is a whisper.
It seems unfair, and probably no one but God will notice. We will not get glances from other men as we once did. We will not feel that rush of validation. And, sadly, there will still be plenty of other women out there determined to catch our husbands’ eyes.
But something greater is at stake here.
Because modesty is not so much what we wear as it is why we wear it.
Whose glory are we seeking?
God’s? Or our own?
We must decide.
The answer is critical.
I went to the lake this weekend with friends who are lovely and beautiful, and who clothe themselves with dignity.
They were intentional about what they wore, and I appreciate that.
They respected me and Josh and our marriage enough to not flaunt their curves or show off more than necessary.
They were thinking of something other than themselves.
Do you have friends like this?
Find them if you don’t.
They are invaluable.
Choosing modesty is choosing to die.
Yeah, it stinks.
But the alternative could mean the deaths of our husbands, our marriages and our dignity.
Modesty is surrendering unto death.
And it’s hard.
But it’s the death that brings Life.
Do we believe it?
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24.
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