Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Until Jesus Says So..."

Who’s going to join me?

Summer is quickly approaching.  In the warm weather months of May, June, July, and August, girls (and boys too) are required to make decisions about modesty.  Because it’s hot outside, we wear less clothing than we do in the winter.  But just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean it’s OK to dress immodestly.

A few weeks ago, Leah Darrow came to the High School in my town and gave a talk to the students and whoever else wanted to join.  Leah spoke about her incredible life journey.  If you want to know more about her and her mission click HERE.

Part of Leah’s talk was about how important modesty and chastity is in her life.  This meant a lot coming from her, considering she used to be a model.

In the beginning of her conversion back to the Catholic faith, Leah expressed how difficult it was to embrace modesty.  She told of her struggles and about how giving up bikinis and other immodest summer clothing was the last thing to go.  She was convinced that it was the right thing to do but didn’t really know why.  Her “aha” moment came while at a beach party with her husband and their friends and spouses.  She was wearing one of her bikinis and she felt uncomfortable in front of her girl friend’s husbands.  She realized that she felt bad because she respected her friends and their husbands.  She loved them and would never want to cause them to sin.  Since we are called to respect all people and recognize their inherent dignity, why would that not include men we don’t know?  So after that enlightening day, Leah was committed to not wearing immodest swimwear.

Herein lies the dilemma.  She said she didn’t want to donate the articles of clothing and swimwear, because she didn’t want anyone else to commit sin by wearing it.  And she didn’t want to throw it all away, because, it’s still in good condition.  So her compromise was to put the articles in a box, tape it shut, and label it “Until Jesus says so…”  It’s a funny line, but it means that maybe we’ll live until the end of time.  And maybe we’ll have our glorified bodies and there will no longer be sin in the world.  And maybe then and only then we can wear whatever, including those swimsuits.

At first, I laughed at this project.  At the end of time, I highly doubt we are going to be concerned about what we wear.

Nonetheless, if it gets you to give up wearing bikinis, I think it is a good thing.

You see, I too had been holding onto my bikinis even though I had come to the conclusion that it was immodest to wear them.  I just couldn’t part with them.  I first laughed at Leah’s idea because I thought for sure I could pitch them.  But when it came down to it, I realize that I was still holding onto them and I just I couldn’t follow through with getting rid of them.  The only step I could live with was putting them in a box.  I taped it good and shut and labeled it, “Until Jesus says so”, like Leah suggested.  Who’s laughing now?  Not me…I am smiling because it worked!

Now, that was a lengthy introduction, but I still want to get to the point of this message and why I think it fits in well with trying to have a nourishing life.  You see, I think the message of modesty goes along perfectly with promoting a positive body image.

Why do girls dress provocatively or immodestly?  My guess is that they are, most likely, trying to get attention and affirmation from other people.  The attention doesn’t necessarily have to come from men.  We can receive a twisted form of pleasure from being envied by other women concerning the way we look.  If you are seeking to re-affirm your worth and dignity from other people concerning the way you look, you probably have low-self esteem and a negative body image.  If you are searching for fulfillment outside of yourself, then you are trying to make up for what is lacking on the inside.

Another piece of this puzzle has to do with weight.  Some people hang on to clothes that they want to fit into someday.  I’m guilty of this mistake as well.  However, the too-small-clothes in your closet will become a noose around your neck if you choose to hold onto them for vain reasons.  The longer the articles stay in the drawer untouched the more they will make you depressed.  Through the action of holding onto clothes, you are subconsciously telling yourself that you have to change your size or weight in order to be happy or in order to be loved.  If you have this philosophy, you will never be happy or satisfied with the way you look.

If you feel like you are pressured to look a certain way and are comparing yourself to others, you will be miserable.  The clothes you wear should enhance your confidence, not cause you anxiety.  Those skinny jeans you bought will only cause you to stress, not motivate you to exercise or to lose weight like Pintrest says.  If you have clothes in your closet that are too small or don’t fit, donate them to Goodwill, or have a garage sale or something.  If you can’t part with them, take them out of your room, put them in a box, label it “I am enough”, and hide them in the basement.

Reversely, if you wear clothes that fit and flatter you for the size you are, you will feel more confident.  Wearing clothes that are modest will also give you more self-esteem.  Because how you dress yourself, tells the world how you feel about yourself.  You will be treated with more dignity and respect by others around you if you dress modestly.

Dressing modestly shows yourself and others that you love yourself the way you are and you don’t need other people to tell you that you look hot in order to boost your self-esteem.  And just because you are a bigger size, doesn’t mean you cannot dress beautifully.  You don’t have to hide your body either, by wearing baggy clothes, or dressing “frumpy”.  On the flip side, covering up your body or hiding your body with clothes will also promote a negative body image.

It is not only good for your soul when you dress modestly, it is good for others too.  Speaking from a moral standpoint, you will not cause others to sin by lusting after you.  And you will be a good example to other girls to dress modestly.  By the small, simple action of dressing beautiful yet modestly, you will be creating a ripple of positive body image boosting.

Challenge of the Day:  Who’s going to join me?  Put your immodest summer clothes, your bikinis, and your clothes that you’re holding on to even if they don’t fit (you know the ones I’m talking about) in the garbage.  If you can’t do that yet, put them in a box, like Leah and I did, and tape it shut.  Label the box, “Until Jesus says so”, if you want.  It is a good reminder that dressing modestly will help us get closer to Jesus.  Try it!  It is worth it…You are worth it!  You don’t have to look a certain way to be loved.  You are good, deserving, and beautiful the way you are.

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