It’s confession time…
I’m a 30 something year old Christian woman, who was raised in a Christian home my entire life. Yet, for most of my adult life I was an immodest Christian woman.
Looking back over my young adult life, much of the time I knew I was dressing immodestly, but that didn’t stop me. Until it was too late. Too late to change choices I had made. Too late to alter who I’d affected by my actions thus far. Too late to alter some of who I had become because of how I dressed for so many years.
As a teenager I received a lot of attention from boys…and I enjoyed it. A lot. I never got along with girls, probably because I was always welcome in whatever activity the boys were doing. Modesty hadn’t even crossed my mind as a teen, I wore jeans, cowboy boots, my dad’s T-shirts and I loved it. Make up and dresses were for church and birthday dinners.
At 16 I had my heart broken…then I found myself in a bad marriage. It was in my first marriage that I began to dress immodestly, which my husband liked. He enjoyed showing me off and once again I began to receive attention from men and I liked it. It didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t my husband giving me all of the attention, I just liked the attention. Being in a bad marriage didn’t help, but it was not the cause of me liking the attention.
From short shorts to low cut shirts, to mini skirts, fishnet pantyhose and knee high boots. My attire caused attention to be drawn to me and I enjoyed it. Men would tell me how good I looked…even right in front of my husband.
After my first marriage ended, I found myself a single mom, living back home with mom and dad. I was thankful to get a job at a brand new chain hardware store. I would spend the next 6 years working mostly with men with male customers. Not the place that I should have been looking to work, but I had a son to raise and I was financially responsible for him.
While the short shorts and mini skirts wouldn’t have been practical for my new job nor acceptable to the dress code or management, tight fitting jeans, a smile and southern belle charm fit the bill just fine. Once again, I found myself receiving the attention from men that I had grown up enjoying, though I had never intentionally sought the attention previously. It was something I had grown to expect and now it had become a need. After several failed relationships I felt that I needed to know that I was still attractive…desirable…wanted. I longed to be loved, but had forgotten what love really was and had instead settled for attention from men.
After meeting my current husband, my attire and attitude did change somewhat. Yet, I still dressed immodestly at times. I wore skirts a little too short when we went out to dinner together. My shirts were lower cut than they should have been, because I thought he enjoyed it. I found out that while he did enjoy me dressing up, he didn’t want to show me off. He wanted me for himself, he didn’t want to share my body with other men around us.
This was a whole new ballgame for me. I was used to men who enjoyed showing me off, like I was a trophy. I had his attention, but he didn’t want to compete for my attention with other men. He wanted all of me. My body. My heart. My love.
I had to let go of my pursuit and enjoyment of attention from men. I had to alter my actions, my attitude and my attire. I had to change who I had become over the course of over 10 years.
My husband has spent the last 5 years teaching me how many men react to my southern smile, kindness and attitude. While my attire had SO much to do with how men reacted to me, it wasn’t just my clothing that was an issue. I am a very friendly person, due to my family roots and being a southern girl…those combinations make it easy for a man to misunderstand kindness for flirtatiousness.
10…no, 5 years ago I wouldn’t have even thought about writing this post. I didn’t see anything wrong with the way I dressed. Yet, through God’s working in my heart and opening my eyes through my husband’s patient direction, I am here to tell you that it does matter what you wear BUT it’s more than that. You must look inside yourself and figure out WHY you are dressing immodestly, what is the CAUSE of your desire to dress immodestly. Changing your clothes without changing your mind and your heart is just covering up the issue and I promise, it will not remain hidden forever.
Take the time to get to the heart of the matter, don’t just try to cover up the deeper issues by changing your clothes. Don’t go to the other extreme and ignore the issues and keep dressing immodestly. You will become someone you don’t recognize anymore someday and it will take a great deal of work to find your way back.
You can find more from Misty over at Beautiful Ashes!
For more on this series: The Heart of Modesty