By Ciara O'Modhrain
After sitting through a Porch message on women and dating, I found my heart SO stirred.
“Modesty isn't about hiding your body, it's about revealing your dignity.”
Modesty. Hmm. A word I, quite frankly, have hated. Granted, I'm not saying I want to dress provocatively. I've just found the idea so restrictive. Visions of Little House on the Prairie and Sound of Music come to mind as I wrestle with “that word,” and as a passionate woman, educated in the liberal arts, I find myself conflicted when it comes to calling women to plainness.
But when D-Marv defined modesty this way, I couldn't argue. Being modest isn't simply looking “frumpy,” but rather relying on other attributes and qualities as your go-to. There is no need to sacrifice fashion or style for the cause of decency, but rather we, as women, must counter the culture that values our bodies and force it to value our hearts and minds.
Not “Made to Order”
In college, I took a course on the “Sociology of the Body.” This in-depth class revealed the multitude of ways in which society and its ideologies become embodied, literally. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this study was how drastically women’s bodies have been infiltrated by society. Put simply, we have become what's “ordered.” Tall, thin, tan? Done. Sexy, willing, non-opinionated? Order up! This fast-food version of women has become instantly available by way of the media, and don't even get me started on the influence of pornography.
The superficial has loudly taken center-stage, silencing the honest beauty of real women.
So how does one of these now “chorus girls” grasp the limelight of the lead? By conforming.
We diet. We tone. We tan. We buy. We whiten. We straighten. We hide. We hide behind the mask we find socially acceptable instead of standing firmly in the unique design of ourselves.
Instead of getting frustrated looking at Beyonce's Instagrams, Victoria's Secret ads, or practically any commercial/movie/magazine/etc.:
Let's turn the tables!
The Body Battle
In Matthew 21:12, Jesus entered the temple and was enraged by how people had violated what He had deemed sacred. So it should be with us. As 1 Corinthians 6:19 puts it, our bodies are temples. If we understand this truth, then why are we letting them be used for purposes society deems commonplace and even profitable?
We must call out the impropriety and shine light on the darkness found in our culture. As chosen ones of the King, we cannot cower in our “steeples”; we must wage war. Ephesians 6:12-17 reminds us of the battle we are in. I mean, we are told to put on armor, for goodness sakes! May we recognize that we are in the middle of something serious and let us not remain content with the status quo.
Ladies, in this “body battle,” seek modesty. May we be intelligent, passionate, loving, joyful, and serving women who take these issues of exploitation head-on. May the gospel be our battle cry. My prayer is that we show our world true femininity.
As someone who has a long history with body image issues and insecurity, let me be the first to say that I recognize how cheesy this may seem. “Be beautiful, that's you!” Although it sounds like a $3.98 Hallmark card your mom gives you on your “once-again” single Valentines Day, it is the truth! How can we cling to Scripture about God's strength, sovereignty, and sacrifice in Jesus and yet throw the Proverbs 31 woman to the way-side, or laugh when we read 1 Peter 3:3-4? Please, Do NOT get hung up on the facade of “The Beauty.” Recognize the precious gift you have in Jesus and get excited when you dwell on the ways in which He can use you to glorify Himself—maybe even starting with breaking the mold of immodesty.
In this “beauty” debate, I refuse to be the woman who waives the white flag of apathy. Rather, I pray that I would root myself in Jesus Christ. That I would recognize my deep need for Him, His unyielding love for me, and that even on days when I fail at this and complain about myself or long to have Kate Upton's legs, I would be reminded of His promises and His intentional design.
Let's turn the tables.