A New Way to Think About Modesty
The wheels began to turn during Purpose Over Popularity Part 1 of the Life.Church message series I Choose. Before this, I did not realize the thin line between a God-centered purpose, my Chazown, and a worldly centered purpose. My Chazown revolves around finding, noting, and sharing the values of ourselves, all beings, and all life has to offer in Christ. Two words are essential and represent the fine line. If I take out the words "in Christ," the entire meaning changes. One statement focuses on worldly popularity, value by earthly standards, the other, focuses on the spiritual, my value in Christ.
As the message addresses, purpose "diminishes distractions," "pushes you through the pain," and ultimately, "empowers you to please God."
My purpose is to embrace and affirm others, especially women and young girls, in their value in Christ. My main distraction from this purpose is the concern for earthly value; this is also my biggest pain.
The issues of negative body and self-image are a major part of this blog; my hope is to provide resources, inspiration, encouragement, and a safe place for healing and prayers for anyone suffering from these issues. I fully believe, that knowing, understanding, and accepting our value in Christ Jesus is where healing from these matters begins and ends.
When we realize what Christ did for us and how much we are loved and valued by Him, we can free ourselves from seeking and craving worldly value. CLICK TO TWEET
It is hard, I realize this, I struggle, and finally realized the extent of my strife in the few weeks since hearing Part One of the I Choose message series. However, God is with me in this strife, and I choose His purpose for my life. "Living for the approval of people keeps you from the purposes of God." I choose purpose, so I am going to discuss a few ways to practice choosing purpose over popularity.
Pray for guidance first thing in the morning. I can start each day by praying for God's direction and purpose; I want God to be in each and every decision and thought I make throughout the day. It is easy to get caught up in distractions, for me, this primarily means comparing myself to others. I must take each thought captive.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:5
This verse was raised during therapy; however, I didn't fully realize the significance of the verse until recently. It is about spiritual warfare; the enemy knows what thoughts distract us most from God. For me, when I am preoccupied with thoughts about how others see me or what others have that I do not, I am focused on myself and therefore, not focused on the purposes God has for me. How much time have I wasted being distracted by others and letting comparisons bring down my self-esteem? What if I had spent that time doing work for the Kingdom?
Comparison will get me nowhere.
God has a unique purpose for me, just as He does for everyone, I need to focus on His unique plan for me. As well, God created me beautifully just the way He intended.
For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. - Psalm 139:13
Again, I need to embrace and love the body God created for me, through it, I can accomplish much for I was "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14). Therefore, each day I must pray for guidance, to carry out His will, not my own. I must take each thought captive and refrain from distractions.
I choose more modest dress. More modest clothing is another way I can practice choosing purpose over popularity, which also relates to body image. After another recent Life.Church message titled Less is More (part of the Making Change series) I decided to weed my closet. After years of body image issues, I finally decided to rid myself of the clothes that feed my negative body image, clothes that had me enslaved. These clothes did not fit well, the clothes showed excessive skin or the clothes were too tight in areas I am self-conscious about. A revolutionary thought had come to mind.
Instead of wearing clothes that made me focus on and dislike certain areas of my body and wishing I was "thin enough" to feel comfortable in them, why not get rid of them and focus on wearing clothes that I felt comfortable in and that fit well?
Why was I wearing clothes that drew attention to the areas that I was uncomfortable showing? My clothing choices were completely paradoxical to my values, and I was objectifying myself! How had I not noticed this? I was dressing to seek worldly approval, and it always left me feeling inadequate and less than. I was focusing on myself and what others thought about me, not focusing on God and how He feels about me.
When it comes to clothes, I realized I need to check myself, what's my motive. Am I trying to bring attention to myself in the clothes I wear? Am I trying to conform to earthly standards? Will the outfit distract from my intrinsic value? The body is a beautiful creation, but the body's purpose is to glorify God, not ourselves.
When I recognized that I do not have to dress to "impress" others or wear fashion that makes me feel exposed and uncomfortable in my body, it was a remarkably freeing feeling; CLICK TO TWEET
I felt empowered and excited about clothes in a way I hadn't for a long time.
Since I weeded my closet, I took some clothes to a local resale shop and with the money received, I did a bit of shopping. As I tried on clothes with a different perspective, I felt pretty, and I valued my body more when adorning it with respectable clothing. Further, I felt I was honoring God by respecting the "temple of the Holy Spirit."- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
My value does not come from how I dress, how my body looks according to worldly standards, or what others think of me it comes from God. "I can't please everyone, but I can please God." All in all, choosing purpose or popularity is about humility, it isn't about me, it's all about Jesus, and He is good and perfect.
Yours Truly, LeNae
P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to my exclusive monthly newsletter and gain access to the Members area which includes free resources! Also, let's be dear friends. Follow me on all my social media. Leave a comment below; I'd love to hear from you.
Image from RealHer Makeup (Affiliate link) ~ “RealHer is a natural, cruelty free makeup brand that inspires women with motivational quotes on each product as a reminder about how powerful you can be if you truly believe in yourself.”
"For every product sold, RealHer donates 20% of all profits to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a top-rated, nonprofit that advances equity for girls and women through leadership programs, advocacy, education, and research." Taken from the RealHer website May 2017.
Graphics created on Canva
Only products that I have used first hand and that I fully believe in and support have affiliate links. If you choose to use the affiliate links, I will receive a small commission. My posts are not in any way sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own.