You are More

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These days I’m noticing more and more just how much women are objectified. Women are viewed as pretty objects, pleasurable things to look at and toy with, something fun to use for a while until they’re temporarily satisfied or a prettier one comes along.

Before I go any further, let me get this straight: I am NOT a feminist. In fact, I feel that I’m about as far from modern “feminism” as one can possibly be without being labeled a “sexist” (like many men are wrongly accused of being these days, when actually all they’re asking for is a little respect. Funny how their cry for “equality” is always labeled as “sexist.” Shouldn’t we be calling it “masculism” and quit shoving “feminism” down their throats, because last I checked, every human has rights. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic for a whole ‘nother day). So, no — I’m not a feminist who hates men, and this post is not about how women are mistreated and we need to stand for equality, blah, blah, blahhhh. Nope, none of that nonsense here on my blog, people.

Anyway. Now that we’ve got that straightened out (and if you’ve read any of my other posts it was clearly obvious already), let me just get back to what I’m supposed to be talking about. Sorry for rambling.

As I was saying, women nowadays are severely objectified. And while I will point out that males were intentionally created to be very visual people and their brains are just wired differently than females’ — that’s how they always have been and how they always will be — it doesn’t at all mean they have a good excuse for looking at a woman and lusting at her body, or only “caring” (if I may flippantly use that word here) about her physical appearance. But y’all, there is a huge difference between attraction & admiration and lust & selfish sexual desire. A man is naturally going to be attracted to and admiring of a woman’s body — again, that was exactly God’s intention — but there is a line that must be drawn there, so that attraction doesn’t turn to lust, which can then become merely a selfish desire to be sexually satisfied. Outside of marriage, sex is not a holy thing created by God; it is a sin. And thinking of someone, who is not your spouse, in a sexual way, is lust. Because of their visual characteristic, men have to work pretty hard to control their thoughts and guard their hearts in this area in order to be pleasing and faithful to God.

But I’m not here to harp on the men. I’ve explained enough and said plenty about them up to this point, but I am obviously not a male and therefore not qualified to instruct the male population how they ought to conduct themselves (#notmyjob).

Yet, I’m also not writing here today to harp on my fellow female population, either. I just want to make a point in as few words as possible and be on my way (because I am doing such a great job being so short winded thus far — ha ha).

When I said earlier that I’ve noticed women being viewed as pretty objects and things to be used, I didn’t specifically say that we’re seen that way only by a lot of men. No, women are seeing themselves that way, too.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

Society is telling women that “you’re beautiful just the way you are” while at the same time using half naked women in advertisements in order to sell everything from underwear to books to cheeseburgers. Hypocritical much?! It’s no wonder we’re so confused!

From the beginning, when God made the first man and the first woman, He made them special. He made people in His image (Genesis 1:26) and then when He was finished creating on Day 6, He “saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). First and foremost, you were created by God in His image, and He says you are good.

And as if that wasn’t enough, He says that women specifically are very special. A virtuous woman — a woman who is good and kind — is so very valuable in this world. Proverbs 31:10 says that a good woman is worth “far above jewels.” Later on in the same chapter (verse 30), it says that charm and beauty will fade away, but what is on the inside is what’s really important: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who reverences the Lord, she shall be praised.”

We can dress up — or like so many around us, dress down — or fix our hair or wear nice jewelry, but that’s not what makes us beautiful. What matters most and what truly defines genuine beauty is our heart. Our heart is so very precious to God, and if we have a good heart, the right people will see it and it will shine so bright it makes us beautiful on the outside as well. I’ve met people I thought were gorgeous on the outside until I got to know them a little, and came to find that their heart was bad, and unfortunately that then made them ugly on the outside. Peter tells us what God thinks about the inward-to-outward beauty in I Peter 3:3-4: “Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

We can wear pretty clothes and fine accessories, but true beauty lies beneath all that. And if someone can’t see past what you have on in order to know you are beautiful, or if the only way they think you’re pretty is if you’re not wearing anything, then you’re not looking to the right person to attract. A good man values women as precious humans to be loved and cherished, not looked to as a pretty thing with only one purpose — to please them.

Paul said in Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” Ladies, if we are to be treated by our husbands as Christ treats His church, then we can know that our value is more than skin deep, and we don’t have to dress provocatively in order to be beautiful.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather dress modestly and discreetly and be respected by real men, called beautiful by my own husband, and know that I am cherished and valued by my Lord than to dress in as little as possible or show a bit of cleavage or too much of my legs in order to turn heads everywhere I go just so guys will think I’m pretty on the outside.

You are pretty on the outside, because God made only one specially perfect version of you, but don’t let that alone define you, because outward beauty is shallow and temporary. My great-grandma used to say, “Pretty is as pretty does,” and I remind myself of that often. If your heart is pretty, you’re a pretty person. Worry about being pretty on the inside, and that will shine out of you so that others will see your true beauty, inside and out. Wearing skimpy clothes doesn’t make you beautiful; it just takes away from the real you. You are more than how you look on the outside. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and that’s enough, so don’t ever tell yourself otherwise.

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand…” (Psalm 139:13-18)

Have a great day!
~Courtney Faith

Choosing Modesty

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Nearly two years ago, I wrote an article about modesty and how not only is it physical, as in how we dress, but it is also a mindset we are to have– an attitude of love for our brothers so we choose to dress respectfully in order to help them maintain their purity and we, at the same time, preserve our dignity and still look beautiful, the way God intended.

Today I’m going to elaborate on a different aspect–sort of–on modesty. Yes, it is physical. Yes, it is an attitude, a reflection of the heart. And yes, it is what God desires of us all.

“Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NASB)

But it is also a choice. Once we realize it’s God’s way, we must decide whether or not His way is going to become our way. And once we make the decision to begin making His standards our own, we are going to have a lot to think about, guidelines to go by, and rules to follow.

“…[C]hoose for yourselves today whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15 NASB)

It won’t be easy.

There will be days when you’ll think those girls at the mall look “sooo cute!!” and you’ll wonder why you can’t dress that way too, because “what’s the harm in it?” and you’ll need to pay close attention to the little voice in your head reminding you why you’re choosing godly standards for your outfits. There may even be some days you look at what the girls at church are wearing and you start thinking, They’re good girls; if they can wear a dress a little too short or a little too tight or a little too low, why can’t I? And that’s when you’ll desperately need to hear that small voice in the back of your mind telling you it’s not about looking cute, it’s not about getting looks from the guys or a compliment from someone, and it’s not even about following the standards and guidelines of other young ladies you may look up to (yes, maybe even at church). No, this is about honoring God.

“Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them; else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 ASV)

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ASV)

I was raised my whole life knowing I had to dress modestly, but that didn’t mean it was always easy. There were times when I was younger when my mom or dad would have to tell me I couldn’t wear or buy a certain outfit because it wasn’t appropriate. As I got older, I knew what my parents allowed me to wear and what they didn’t, and I began to also make my own rules and standards along with theirs.

I remember one pair of jeans in particular that I had when I was about seventeen. I had worn them two or three times before one day my dad saw me and asked if I really thought I should be wearing them. He was going to let me make the decision, but I knew that if he had felt the need to ask me what I thought about them, there must be something wrong. I did think about it, and he was right. The pants were very snug. So I changed and got rid of the tight jeans. A simple question from my dad put my focus back in the right place. I needed that reminder so I would set my priorities straight again.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30 NASB)

Just this past Sunday I had to get rid of a dress my husband and I decided that although it may not have been considered immodest, it was almost too short and just the fact that we were having the discussion about whether or not I should wear it was good enough reason not to. I’m extremely thankful to my husband for helping me to dress modestly and for encouraging me when it gets me down some days.

Choosing modesty is an every day commitment, and from what I’ve noticed, it doesn’t really get any easier, but with the right attitude, you’ll know it’s worth the extra hassle on shopping trips and you can still look and feel beautiful without revealing your body. I’m 5’5″ and long-legged, so dress shopping can be quite discouraging sometimes, but thank goodness for maxis!

“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10 NASB)

So, to the good girl out there who wears extra layers even in the Summer, looser pants even though they’re so hard to find, and covers up at the pool even though it’s “not cool,” way to go! You’re not alone, and it’s worth the extra time and hassle and care you take to get ready.

“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NASB)

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: neither present your members unto sin [as] instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:12-13 ASV)

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB)

Have a blessed day!
~Courtney

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Modesty: An Attitude of Love

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For a while now, I’ve been wanting to write to the ladies about modesty. It’s kind of a big deal and a huge study once you try and get the information to talk about it, but I’m going to try to write on this topic in as little words as possible, but with several passages from the Bible.

First off, I’d like to say that although immodesty/modesty is obviously a physical issue, having to do with what you wear and how you wear it, it is not completely about that. Modesty is mainly an issue of attitude. The way you present yourself says a lot about who you are as a person. The way you present yourself physically says a lot about your character and outlook on life. It says a lot about your own self-esteem, but most importantly, is says a lot about your love for others, in particular your brothers in Christ.

     When we dress immodestly, we are sending a message to fellow Christians and the world that we don’t really care what people think of us. We are saying it doesn’t matter that we might be distracting to someone or causing a man to stumble — we just selfishly dress in a way that pleases ourselves, and might say it’s not our fault, but theirs for lusting after us.

But this isn’t completely true. Sure, the men need to guard their eyes and hearts and not think bad things, but have you been to town lately, or turned on your TV, or looked at a catalog that came to your mailbox recently? Immodesty is everywhere!The guys have got it tough enough. I don’t think we girls who claim to be Christ followers need to be contributing in any way to that sort of thing. We need to make an effort (no matter how hard you may have to look for modest clothes), to be an encouragement and not a distraction to the men around us.

We need to realize that once we have put on Christ in baptism, that we are no longer our own, but God’s, by purchase. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and  you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Once we have put on Christ, we are His and in Him, and have no right to dress inappropriately to draw attention to ourselves. “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25) “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

We need to look out for the best for not only ourselves, but those around us. What we wear may make us feel good, but it’s not helping those around us to grow closer to the Lord and remain focused on Him. “Let no one seek his own, but each other’s well-being.” (1 Corinthians 10:24) “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others. Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.“(Philippians 2:3-5) “Let all that you do be done with love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)

 “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which  is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

Again, modesty is not only physical. It’s an attitude, looking out for others in the way you behave and the way you present yourself. “Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel —rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4) This doesn’t mean we can’t dress up and look pretty; it just means that the outside is not what matters, but rather to be ladylike and pleasing to God.

No one said it’s going to be easy, but doing what is right will never go out of style. We need to lead by example, even if we’re one of the very few who are doing what’s right. “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) “Be diligent to present yourself approved of God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” (2 John 5-6)

Have a blessed day!

~Courtney