The Church’s Influence on Modesty

My experiences with modesty over the years have had their upswings and down.

If you’d asked me about modesty in my early married years, I would have defined it differently than I do now. Back then I didn’t see anything wrong with wearing tight jeans, etc. I figured if my husband liked me in them, what was the problem, right?

Remembering how blas√© I was keeps me humble. After all, I was 18-21 years old, a Christian, active in church, etc. Sure, I didn’t wear my tight jeans to church, but some of my blouses dipped a bit lower than they should have, and I had at least two long skirts with slits that weren’t quite innocent. At all.

When I was 19, my husband and I started attending a church where most all of the women wore dresses. Conservative, matronly dresses. *Smile* Or at least they seemed so to me.

So I started teeter-tottering on the age old “what to wear to church” question. I did my best to conform to the standards of those around me.

Fast forward several years. We left the above church in order to attend one that my dad had recently accepted a position in as Associate Pastor. Because of something I misconstrued at the first church as a strike against modesty, I spent three years wearing only dresses/skirts in public. Anywhere in public. I admit it was mostly a pride thing at that point, though I’ve always loved the femininity of dressing in long flowing materials.

After this three years of “dresses only”, my dad and mom moved out of state to a different church, and hubby and I moved back to our original church. And dress codes there had changed with the times.

I began slacking off (to me) on Sunday mornings, eventually joining the “dressing down” crowd at church, and wearing mostly slacks.

However, my little girls loved dresses and would ask me each week why I didn’t wear my dresses to church anymore. Well, for one thing, a lot of my straight skirts didn’t fit so well back then after having just given birth to baby #3. But they really wanted their mommy back in dresses. And that among other things propelled me to make a stand on one side or the other of this seeming Divide.

Also, I realized after all these years of feeling pulled to dress “appropriately” on Sunday mornings, I finally saw it as a way, in obedience to God, to stand up to the culture. To be “in this world but not of it”.

I look at it this way. It’s too easy to reason away the choices we make in dress. I’ve worn skorts that look like mini-skirts because I’ve thought it was “more modest” than wearing shorts. It’s even easier to reason this way when everyone you appreciate and look up to is doing the same thing.

So I decided almost two years ago that I’d always wear skirts/dresses on Sunday morning. I still wear jeans or Capris for helping in AWANA, and for other evening church functions. I have no problem with the vast majority of modest Christians out there today that wear pants and shorts to church services.

But my line in the sand has been drawn, and at this point, there’s no crossing back over. That said, I think everyone has to come to this decision on their own. It’s intensely personal, and the best way to get across your point, is, in my opinion, by following your convictions and letting your actions speak for themselves.

Most everyone is pretty hip at our church now, and I’m the one in danger of feeling dowdy wearing skirts and dresses each Sunday morning. Especially in a church full of beautiful young chicks all slender and svelte and wearing the latest fashions.

But finally I know I’m doing it for the right reason. I may go back to wearing dresses/skirts even to evening church events, if I’m so convicted.

Only God knows. And that’s all that matters to me.

For more submissions on modesty, visit Rebecca, this month’s hostess for the modesty blog carnival, at Between My Peers