By Contributing Writer, Kim Doebler Excerpt from ESP (explain, show, and practice) Character Training:
I Tim. 2: 9-10 “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
Our appearance and grooming are our first expression of orderliness that people see. Quick judgments can be hard to undo. Women are to dress modestly. Titus 2:5 uses the word chaste to describe how a woman is “to be”. Chaste is a word that means clean, innocent, modest and pure. It is also worth pointing out that it is c-h-a-s-t-e and not c-h-a-s-e-d.
MODESTY—starts with Mom. There is no Biblical, black and white regarding length or height, we must each seek God and ask our own husband. A few points my husband has shared with me over the years are:
1) “If you do not wear a bra every man will notice. Almost all will linger in viewing too long and it will not be your eyes they will be mesmerized by.” A few months after we were married my husband and I went to Shopko. After we returned to the car my husband asked me, “Did you see that?”
“See what?” I asked.
“That lady without a bra on.” He stated in an “I can’t believe you don’t know what I am talking about” tone.
As I looked over my shoulder I asked, “Where?”
“At the end of the parking lot in the next row,” he directed me.
I was flabbergasted, “You have got to be kidding me– you saw a lady without a bra on…that far away?” That is when he assured me that every man in the parking lot had seen that woman.
2) “If your nipples show, it will not go unobserved.” Many of us women do not understand this so I will share a real life story to prove it is true. While on a business trip down south during the summer, my husband entered the hotel and noticed a group of three men standing looking at the entrance. At first he didn’t know what their fascination was with the front door, but then he connected the dots.
A woman entered and the men stared, started smiling and chuckling among themselves. If you haven’t figured it out it, let me give you a clue. Think about what happens to a woman’s breast when she leaves a warm climate and enters a dramatically cooler setting.
Yes, these grown men were getting kicks and giggles watching women’s nipples stick out as they entered the air conditioned building. This is why I encourage women to wear padded bras and padded swim suits.
3) “If you give the impression of not wearing a bra it is the same as item number one.” Men are not aware of all the different bra options out there; they just take things at face value.
4) “Too tight or too low of shirt or pants pulls a man’s eyes and his mind will follow.” What’s too tight or too low? I have no desire to add to God’s Word, so I’ll just give an encouragement to err on the side of loose and high verses tight and low.
5) “Dress how you want other women to dress around your husband.” Please do not be the woman that your husband has to explain because others ask, “Why does your wife dress that way?” Here is a good example: The AWANA Grand Prix is always a highlight of our year. The one exception was the time we were greeted at the door by a woman wearing a top that could not be ignored.
Watching as men entered, they would shake her hand and struggled with where to rest their eyes. Frustration enveloped me; but nothing compared to when on the ride home my husband sarcastically stated, “Sure was nice looking at her boobs all night.” Righteous anger flooded me. That’s my husband and my son she is affecting!
It was about a week later that I had a chance to talk to this woman alone. I cried as I shared my heart of protection for my husband and son. Unfortunately, she seemed to think it was my husband’s problem. A flicker of softness did surface when she considered my son. Although a modesty revival did not occur, she did commit to better coverage around our family. In the end, I had hoped for more. But, I couldn’t make that happen—so I accepted her terms, hoping to at least help my guys.
6) “Cross your legs or ankles.” This one was a surprise to me. One evening we were visiting some friends and hanging out, chatting. I had been sitting on the floor and changed my position to where I was leaning onto a pillow, my one knee popped up into the air while my other leg was extended on the floor. It was a wonderful evening of connecting. Perhaps I had noticed my husband was acting a little strange, but it wasn’t until the car ride home that I found out how uncomfortable I had made him. He informed me that the way I was sitting appeared very “inviting”. Who knew? Not me; but now you don’t need to make that mistake yourself.
7) “Bare middles create curiosity.” There is a cure for bare middles and it is layers. Wearing a long camisole or even a man’s muscle shirt under a prettier layer will provide security when bending over or reaching up.
Modesty for children ( No law here; I am just going to share what we do.)
1) Our girls always wear shorts under their dresses and Mom does too if dress is not considered “long”. This simple practice protects little ones when the urge to do a somersault comes over them. Also, Mom no longer has to worry when bending over or down with little ones. The fear of little hands lifting up dress or skirt accidentally is erased.
2) Wear shorts or skirt over swim suit. Little buns seem to insist on showing themselves. A skirt or pair of shorts helps with this “coverage problem.” Although shorts cover well, they can sometimes cause chaffing between the legs. Skirts are comfortable, but finding a little longer skirt can take effort. Some of the mini-skirts available don’t cover peeking out buns.
3) We do not allow any skinny strap tops or any shirt that looks like an undergarment. Basically, it is not our desire for our girls to be comfortable showing their under- garments to the general public. We have drawn this line in the sand for them.
4) No tight pants, shirts or dresses. This can be hard as girls grow and clothes shrink. Do your best and just be aware. I know how difficult it can be to make this call, as shown by the day my daughter and I came home from town. My husband pulled me aside to inform me her shirt was too tight. Oops. I have to admit, I had wondered if it was too tight. This child isn’t prone to dressing “cute” and the top was “cute” so I wavered. Do your best, and again try to err on the loose side.
5) No tummy showing–if problem, layer. Each of the girls own several long camisole tops to put under shirts. Camisoles have become a normal part of getting dressed, instead of having to discern each day if the shirt of the day is too short or will ride up.
6) One thought on boys. Modesty is most often thought of in reference to girls but boys too need to be aware of too tight and too low especially when it comes to their pants. Even a guy with too tight of a shirt can be a distraction. Girls aren’t as visually stimulated by boys, yet boys can be considerate of their “sisters” by not drawing attention to their bodies.
REMINDER: It is easier to decide your rules now and raise children with them, then to add rules when they are ten, twelve or sixteen.