Sunday, January 6, 2013

Set HIGH "Personal" Standards

Modesty is something that really challenges the modern Christian woman!

Don't you agree, my dear Modesty Pledgers?

As time passes by, more and more revealing clothes become more and more accepted in the society.
Before, exposing a little amount of skin besides your hands', neck's or face's makes you the society's black sheep. I assume that if the typical woman today travels back to the past, she would be considered the most shocking, controversially vulgar, obscene woman around! Haha!

But today, it's not the case.

That's why we Christians feel free to modernize our concept of modesty.
We manipulate our own standards of modesty to make it easier for us. We lower the bar, so we can allow ourselves to wear pieces we adore.
But are the things that provoke the lustful thoughts in men today different from what provoked them decades ago?

I recall the stories I hear from my mom. She would tell me how different things in the past. Accidentally touching the finger of a lady would already be a reason for them to be forced to marriage! Imagine the chances men were given to touch women. Imagine how they were deprived of the sight of the female body. Maybe, just seeing a girl's knee could already excite them.. I don't know. Haha.

Let's compare it with the society today.

Go outside and you'd see so much skin. Does this make the skin common and boring to the eyes of men that only so so so so much skin could be able to excite them?

I guess not.
If that's the case, why do I hear some of my Christian guy friends complain of being distracted simply by a backless dress? If that's the case, why are there men who still care to stare at bare legs? If that's the case, why would I still see men intentionally tailgates women wearing "innocent" sleeveless tops?
Ladies, seeing bare legs, bare shoulders, bare backs, bare whatever else, in every place you can think of, does not make bare skin any less tempting to men!
It does not mean that when every girl wear shorts, legs would become less of a temptation.

This is why I challenge you to raise the bar.

To be honest, being a serious Christian for almost 5 years now, I thought that I was modest "enough". I thought to myself so many times, "Yes, I wear shorts, I wear sleeveless tops, but I think I'm still modest and decent. At least I don't wear stuff that makes me look like a prostitute."

But then, in July 2012, God asked me this question..
"Is that the best you can do?"

And that's what motivated me to take the journey towards a deeper understanding of modesty.
There I found myself being prayerful for literally every clothing I wear!
I also found myself negotiating with God about my wardrobe. Is it okay to wear shorts, sleeveless tops, mid-thigh dresses and other stuff offered by the fast-innovating fashion world? 

Here's an actual bargain I had with God.. Haha!
Me: "I think it's okay to wear tube dresses on the beach."
God: "No, please don't. The beach, huh?  Some men are there purposely for babe-hunting. Remember the drooling beach guys you watch in American movies?"
Me: "But, what am I supposed to wear on the beach?! It's the beach, and I'd look like some fool if I wear long sleeves with long skirts."
God: "Men aren't less prone to temptation at the beach, are they? The beach isn't a magical place where temptations just fade away.. You might fuel the fire of the desires of their flesh without even knowing it. Is the tube dress you want to wear the only beach outfit choice you have? Are you sure you do not have any alternative?"
Me: "I mean, there are other women on the beach who are unquestionably immodest. There are women there who wear bikinis!! I don't.. I just want this tube dress..  Oh please! Okay, I'd wear this but I promise, I would not take pictures or post pictures on Facebook."
God: "Do you ever know what goes in the mind of the men you'd meet there? I do."
Me: "But.. But.. Okay, you win. I'll wear my cardigan.."
You know what happened the next day? My mom came home and showed me a beach dress she bought for me. She knew my modesty pledge so when she saw this beach dress, she bought it for me. It had sleeves and was knee-length, but it was made for the beach! Yey! God indeed knows what's best. After the beach trip, I was even able to post photos without the nervous feeling that the picture could easily be a stumbling block. Hehe

I always tried to bargain. And I always wanted my ideas to be favored, maybe because of pride.
I've been unmindfully wearing immodest stuff for the most part of my Christian life. And if God rebukes me for wearing a certain piece I usually wore, I feel ashamed of myself. I did not want that feeling of shame, only because of pride. I hated feeling suddenly back to zero because of immodesty. I thought so highly of my spiritual maturity and I thought that I knew what I was doing with my clothes. I thought that my wardrobe is already modest.. relatively.

That was until God rebuked me and humbled me. He knew that that wasn't the best I can do about modesty!!

I started from a lot of bargainning until I realize that it's definitely not about drawing a line between what is modest and what is immodest. It's not majorly about the length of your dress.
Modesty is a lot about realizing the gravity of the temptations men face. Modesty is understanding that carefully choosing every piece of clothing you wear could leave a big impact in how men around you struggle!

The next time you go out of your house, ask the right questions.
Do not ask,
"Is my outfit acceptable? Pweds na pweds na?"
"Could my outfit be a stumbling block to any guy? (If it would be a stumbling block for even one guy, forget that outfit!) Would my outfit be a distraction for some? Does this outfit usually get uninvited stares from perverts?" 

Set the highest standards for yourself. Base your standards on how your clothes could help or hurt men around you.
It's best to set your standards with the goal of helping the most perverted man in the world keep themselves from sinful thougths!

Of course you should not prioritize guys who're already disciplined in this aspect..
They could be the least negatively affected by what you wear. Instead..
Think of the most manyakis guy, 'cause you might just meet him anywhere.
Try my advice.. And.. Tadah! You set the highest standards for yourself.

(I emphasize applying your high standards to yourself alone. Because when God gives you the discipline to follow these standards, you might just get the wrong idea and use the high standards in judging women! You might suddenly begin judging and condemning women around you just because they do not follow the standards you set for yourself, like you do. Don't. Your high standards should make you love the women around you even more - be ready to share your cardigans, scarves, or sarong!)

White Shirt: F&H || Denim Vest: Petit Monde || Belt: F21
This post is so much inspired by Ate Mycha and Ate Ricci. :)

I wore denim vest over my plain shirt not because I'm maarte and I want to look super dressy. Haha. I wore that because I learned how fit tops could actually be distracting to some.

Do you think that your modesty today is already your best take on modesty? What parts of your personal "modesty constitution" would you change to raise your standards?

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