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Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Battle with Modesty

WARNING: I'm not sure about the appropriateness of this for if you think it's bad, stop reading. Okay?

I read Jay Lauser’s excellent post on A New Kind of Modesty (which you really, really, really should read, though I won’t post it up seven times like my big sister C’rissie :P) yesterday, and thought I would like to blog my struggle and weakness in that area for...encouragement? General opinion? Not quite sure, although it certainly wasn’t out of self consideration. :P

Then I read C’rissie’s post connected with Jay’s, A Rant on Modesty ;), which you can read here.

And decided that I felt too embarrassed after reading that, because they were both so good and covered the ground enough, so I wouldn’t. Well, this morning, I changed my mind. (Although after rereading it again just, with all the comments, I feel quite small about posting this...*hits send before I rethink*)

It’s not too often that I gain a victory over my worldliness to be happy in the clothes I’m wearing. This morning, I had one of those sadly rare times when I could walk along the street triumphantly, smiling innocently at the girls who stare wide eyed at me, passing the boys gawking with a firm and friendly face, ignoring the girls who walk past tittering and the guys who stay just out of earshot in a group behind me, whispering and laughing, and yes, even find it in myself to laugh at their narrow minds and pity them for it. I’m not even wearing the more extreme style in clothes; just my old blue cardy-jacket, zipped up all the way, and a nice, mid length (between ankle and knee) very loose and swirly blue grey skirt WITH POCKETS. (If you know me quite well, you will know that I LOVE pockets in my clothes, and that the attachment developed with the frustration of being constantly in a uniform with no pocket in the skirt, two in the working shirt that you’re not really supposed to use, and absolutely ZERO in the best blue blouse – to the boys’ two in trousers and two in working AND best blue.) My hair is plaited back (yes, plaited. Horrors.) from my forehead and then plaited into a bun. And although I’m not extremist, I have been the only girl of my age (give or take ten/twenty years) that I have ever seen dressing to my level in my home town. Actually, when walking around other cities, there is only the rare one or two, and they are Mennonites.

Do you know what was nice about it? I was walking along with a jaunty step, listening to my tape of Relient K and Tenth Avenue North (oh, and my best friend Kyle’s rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon D. Mustn’t forget that. :P ;) ) and feeling – safe. Yes, safe. Everyone’s eyes were actually directed where I want them to be. At my face. Not going up and down me. And I’m sure the joy I felt in my security and in actually standing out FOR CHRIST showed in my face. I wish it would all the time. I was thinking about what Jay and Carissa had both written, and praying that somehow God would use me to bless someone, to encourage someone to take a stand. I have no idea if that was answered or not; but that’s His business, not mine. The way the guys behaved was interesting, too. Not the younger ones; they ignored, gaped or whispered. But the older ones stood aside, spoke to me politely...I even had one lady in a shop call her son to serve “the lady”. *laughs*

And so today’s lesson for me? Walk like you own the world, for you own something far greater. Not just modesty, and not just purity. But the gift of God’s salvation and blessing, and if you’re living in the former two, how much more likely it is that the latter will be blazed out to the world.

Umm hmm. Happy story, and the way it’s meant to be. A victory in Christ. But I don’t live it every day.

My parents didn’t bring me up this way. Although I used to wear dresses and that when I was younger (oh yes, I had my lovely supply of smocks and dainty frocks for Sundays ;)) I also had my large supply of two or three culottes and a drawer full of shorts. Short shorts, and all. My Mom wore jeans, day in and day out. Apart from Sundays. Then at some point when I was about eight or nine, perhaps a little younger or older, Mom changed her heart and style and she wore skirts every day. Never did she insist that I wear them, but when I reached nine or ten and started to outgrow my shorts, the length of leg exposed began to embarrass me. I never had a prejudice against skirts in the slightest; I always loved the feminine look and the individuality they expressed, but they were not practical for my favourite activities – rolling round the mud with my twin brother, playing snail races up the wall, hiding in bushes, crawling round the floor playing with a toy train set. :P (Actually, the last time I did that, I was 13.) However, I began to change my activities (not to my brother’s happiness, I confess) and got into skirts day in and day out. It’s never been a change I regret, as I am not a fashion girl and dress in my own style. Even during my two backslides, skirts have never been a problem for me...the shortest skirt I own is my uniform skirt, which actually transgresses the standard for uniform in that it is a little below my kneecap instead of just on it.

Length of skirt has never been a problem. Looseness of skirt – has. I don’t wear things that cling to every inch – not just counting the modesty standard, it’s blooming uncomfortable to walk around in something that feels like a second skin! Unfortunately, I have been cursed or blessed (depending on a – way of looking at it and b – my use or misuse of that advantage) with what the world terms a good figure. And I have deliberately worn things that use it to my advantage. Modesty protests were quelled with the fact that it’s a skirt and it’s not as bad as what the rest of the girls wear. And it wasn’t all that tight, either. However, by God’s standards...? Yeah, I have to flinch and duck. Some items in my wardrobe still need weeding out, I confess.

By the way. Have you ever noticed how freeing it is to wear a loose skirt? All right, it doesn’t make you feel powerful and on top of the world. I find I feel safer in Christ hiding in a shroud (and yeah, dying to self) and standing out than I do by blending in with the world. :P

At college the other week I was wearing a lovely, long, flowing black skirt and a t-shirt that I confess...isn’t modest by the highest standards. Yes, I was wearing a modesty panel. Yes, it covered every inch of skin that shouldn’t be seen. (I am not debating necklines – not in the mood and I think it’s a person’s own decision, up to a point.) The material was stretchy elastic. I think now and then that I really should dispose of it, but it was a gift off my sister and is unfortunately quite a pretty top – black with a pattern of silver roses and leaves delicately draped over the front. Guys don’t seem to notice as much when I’m in worldly clothes – I know that that sounds like a contradiction, but if I am in a dark mood and simply want to blend in, I will wear that or something like that. Not only does it make me feel more...powerful? And more attractive, but since the guys don’t seem to bother me when I wear stuff like that, there’s hardly any encouragement not to. I’m blending in clothes-wise, and it’s way more comfortable.

Tops have always been a problem for me. Unless I did wear a feed sack, there is no way I could hide I’m a girl. I don’t wear blouses every day. It is not practical in the slightest, as all of mine are fancy and I would wreck them. T-shirts are favourites...but the problem with t-shirts is that...most of them...aren’t...the best kind of clothing in the world. :P Modesty panels (and boy, I’m so thankful that my parents got me some! I can now wear tops I couldn’t wear before) help a great deal with sharp v-necks, but then there’s the question of watching material, patterns, etc. I don’t like looking like a freak with a v-neck that ends in a weird way, or with horizontal stripes – and believe me, I have three or four t-shirts that make me look like a freak. :P But the others I wear have a line between being attractive and overly so. However, being the problem that t-shirts are for me, I confess I don’t watch them closely enough. How closely I need to watch them, I have no idea, so I usually go by how I feel when I go outside the front door. If I get the definite urge to hide in a coat...well, it’s probably not decent enough. Whether I do go and grab another t-shirt, cardy, jumper or coat usually depends on my mood, and usually my mood is in a don’t care mode. No one else cares, so why should I? I don’t look or feel like a freak, I’m decent (ish), my parents don’t mind, and while I still have my own fashion, I’m not standing out so far from the crowd that everyone’s going to start gawking.
That’s partly why Jay’s post was so encouraging. It does matter to the very few if we stand to make a difference. And although I can’t promise that I’m going to always make a stand and try to be as radically different as I know I should be, I will definitely put a bit more effort into it. For Christ’s sake, and for His servants. God grant me the strength.

Oh, by the way. (I nearly used the slang btw then! Grrr. *glares at self*) Please don’t get the idea I’m condemning shorts or trousers. :P I use trousers at least once a week to clean out the chickens (even though they’re the sort of trousers that makes me look twice to make sure no one’s around before stepping out the front door :P) And I also use combats when doing a greens exercise or a cleanup with cadets, and occasionally uniform trousers (yech – they look horrid. Literally. Gem and I both hate them.) when going gliding or flying. Just – I prefer skirts. Although I try to be like a guy in some things, I do like hiding behind my girlishness in that way. :P

Hope this has been of some interest! Although it is not, I misdoubt me, the post that Jay was expecting when I said that his had sparked me off to want to do one. *laughing*

God bless!
~ Janie