I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately about how we as women deal with beauty. Beauty is a battle in and of itself. Every woman longs deeply to have a beauty all her own and for it to be seen, admired, and appreciated. Unfortunately, the term beautiful has been greatly distorted over the years.
Now adays beautiful is confused and associated with other words with a little more spice to them, words like hot and sexy. But that’s a problem!! Hot and sexy inspire lust which often times leads to sin (see James 1:15 below).
In the words of Ethan: “There are two types of girls for most guys I’ve talked to: girls that are hot that you just want to have sex with, and girls that are cute, that you actually want to be with.” Whenever Ethan told me “I always thought you were cute,” I was never particularly thrilled with this compliment, knowing that there are girls out there like Kim Kardashian and Olivia Wilde littering the cover of every magazine and advertisement. One day, I finally asked: “But do you think I’m hot? How could I possibly compete with all the other women out there that are considered the hottest women?” He told me I didn’t get it, and then he explained. It took me abount a half hour of talking to understand that cute > hot. By far. Cute is beauty, outter and inner combined, where inner beauty is the leading role and only enhances the outer beauty you already possess and that they were already attracted to.
Now, Ethan is a wonderful man. He is loyal beyond belief. He told me that he was doing his absolute best to not look at any other women after we started dating. He told me this before I thought any man was remotely capable of doing it. I was floored. I was also flooded with an overwhelming sense of peace. This type of commitment shouldn’t be as rare as it is. Ethan is constantly questioned on what he thought of this girl or that girl at his work. He always tells them he stopped looking a long time ago. They are also floored. Most don’t believe him. Some have told him that they admire him greatly for that. However, this doesn’t mean this battle is easy. He says he is constantly turning away from things… Tv, magazines, girls running, girls at his work, girls his friends hang out with, movies, the home page of your email for crying out loud… Skin is everywhere and it is in abundance.
What I’ve been struggling with lately is the thought that while I may be fairly modest around Ethan so that I’m not any more tempting than I already am to him, OTHER women are still flaunting their bodies all around him on a DAILY basis! I feel the desire to compete at times… A lot of times… Okay, almost all the time. I feel the desire to wear the sexiest outfit in the room so that I know beyond a doubt that Ethan’s eyes will only be on me and he won’t have to make the conscious effort to turn away. But this is a selfish desire of mine. This is a desire I have to keep fighting, because while, yes, Ethan’s eyes will be locked on me, so will the eyes of others. Men, women, boys, girls, young women, young men…
I do need to make this clear to everybody reading: some do not feel convicted about this, and I understand and respect that, we all should.
Women that are convicted – it is not our job or place to guilt them, shame them, or scare them into dressing more modestly. We have to give God room to work in their hearts, and He knows when and if they are ready to change that part of their lives. Also, we don’t know every woman’s story. We don’t know what her past entailed. We don’t know that she’s even purposefully dressing to show skin, or if she’s just getting dressed like she always has and it’s what she’s used to. Give grace like the Lord does. It’s not our place to judge and correct. We can speak truth into their lives only if we are put in the unique position to do so out of love, which often involves a genuine relationship with that person.
Women that are not convicted – pray about it if it is stirring something in your heart as you read, the Holy Spirit will let you know if it is something you need to change or work on.
Here are my reasons for pursuing modesty:
1. I don’t want to be a temptation to other men. Whether they may be single, in a relationship, married, divorced they should not be looking at me lustfully (see Matt 5:28 below). I’m taken. Before I was married, my body was God’s, and still is, really. Now that I am married, my body is to be enjoyed by my husband alone in that way.
2. I don’t want to instigate feelings of jealousy and competitiveness in other women. If I struggle with this, I don’t want to cause other women to struggle with it.
3. I don’t want to inspire lustful thoughts in young men or boys. I want to show young men that there are beautiful women out there that can feel and look beautiful without flaunting their bodies. I want to give them something to strive for in their future dating life. I want to be an example of a Godly woman, and the Lord told me this is a way for me to do so.
4. I want to be a good example for young women and little girls. The media is bad enough. I want to show young women and girls that there is so much more than meets the eye. That we as women and God’s daughters are worth so much more than what our bodies have to offer. I want to show them that with modesty is a form of self-respect and therefore the draws the respect of others. I want to inspire them! I want them to know that there is a difference between confidence in your beauty vs. confidence in your body, and that you can have confidence in your beauty while dressing modestly.
Confidence in your beauty comes from knowing who you are in Christ, emanating how God sees you, showing your natural beauty that comes from being who God made you to be. Am I saying makeup is bad? No. Am I saying that you should wear a maxi dress under a turtle neck every day? No. What I am saying is this: be conscious of whose attention you are attracting in what you’re wearing, and listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Strive to be sought after, not lusted after. Strive to find a man who is attracted to your beauty, not your body. Beauty of the body always fades with time. True beauty lasts forever, and everybody is blessed by it. (See 1 Peter 3:4 below)
1 Peter 3:4 says “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.”
1 Timothy 2:9-10 says “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”
Proverbs 11:22 says “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.”
Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Matthew 5:28 says “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
James 1:15 says “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
Another interesting and thought-provoking article on beauty here.