8/5/13

modesty & humility: why it is important



Modesty.

Did you just cringe? I did.

Modesty is a touchy subject. Each person has their own association with the word modesty and for many the association brings a mix of emotions: dread, shame, guilt, confusion, embarrassment, judgement, bitterness.

Growing up in a home that encouraged modest dress, I associate modesty with---you guessed it---clothing. Thankfully, my parents did not take the contradictory, thwarted approach of "If you dress immodestly, guys will stumble" (which I will discuss later why this is so, so, so wrong). Nevertheless, modesty was important. After getting the go ahead to dress how I please I found that, after only a few outings in short skirts or bikinis, I preferred the idea of modesty even in dress.

But then I began thinking.... what is modesty?

Is showing the human body immodest? Because, actually, I thought the human body is supposed to be beautiful. Made by God, his creation, fearfully and wonderfully made and all that. What's more, does modesty only revolve around the way one dresses? What about a woman's heart, demeanor, manner of being? Look up modesty in the thesaurus and the synonyms given have nothing to do with attire. They are humility, unpretentious, reserve. Sure the way one dresses can be put into this category but these words do not sum up dress as a whole. Besides, I have known many a person who walks around in deemed modest clothing but who beg for attention in every other aspect.

Yes, modesty reaches far out of the box we have put it in. It deals with the realm of the heart and the motives we bring more than the clothes we wear. 

The Bible proves this. Look in 1 Peter and you find the shift from physical focus to internal when it comes to modesty:  "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 

Proverbs 11:22 speaks to this truth, as well. "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion."

Summed up, modesty, humility, selflessness, reserve and discretion are important. Not only that but they are beneficial to the feminine heart. 

Join me as I seek to destroy the chains we have on our mind when it comes to modesty and please bring grace because I am seeking to learn how to let modesty and humility become attributes I possess. I am far from the finish line and will likely fail many times after this series is finished and forgotten about. But let us learn to turn to our Maker and the Word as we debunk this complexing topic.

Also, as an ending note to this first post, A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit has been exponential in this journey towards a modest life. It is not a religious book nor a self-help book, but an analysis of how our running away from modesty has hindered women in the past few decades. I would encourage you all to find it on Amazon and read it. I am re-reading it now and am finding just as much insight as my first reading.

What first pops in your head when you think of modesty? Do you think modesty is important in a woman's life? Do you think modesty is only about the heart, only about dress or a combination of the two?

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