“I AM A grown woman.
30 years old.
Married to a preacher.
And yet, I am still struggling to get modesty right.
The word ‘modesty’ means, among a slew of variations, ‘disinclined to bring oneself into notice.”
While my body isn’t exactly hanging out of my clothes, I do like being noticed.
Honestly, I probably dress to get noticed.
Recently, I began coming to terms with my clothes problems.
I’ve set some severe limits on both the number of items in my closet and the likelihood that any given item might turn heads.
I’ve realized that I have unhealthily defined myself by my wardrobe, allowing what I wear to dictate my moods, my level of confidence, and my feelings about others.
I’ve also realized I care way too much about what other people think of me.
More than that, I care way too much if other people think of me.
When I’m real with myself I admit that I prize compliments and seek affirmation.
I can recount every compliment I’ve received on an outfit at the end of the day.
Once, while shopping in Anthropologie (clothes heaven), a particularly well-dressed salesgirl ‘LOVED’ my scarf.
That off-hand comment fed something inside me.
I felt like a better person for having received it.
But looking back on it, I feel a little gross.
In Wendy Shallit’s book, A Return to Modesty she says the essence of immodesty is ‘a desire for spectators.’
I hadn’t ever seen it in that way.
In fact, I think subconsciously I’d decided dressing was all about spectators, about representing myself to others through my clothes.
I’d taken such care putting together outfits because I expected people to look at me, and when they did, I hoped they see a me I could be proud of.
I wanted people to look and say, ‘That Jennifer is so stylish,’ or “That Jennifer is so quirky and feminine,’ or ‘That Jennifer looks like she just stepped out of an Anthropologie store window’ (yeah, I’ve got Anthropologie hang-ups).
When I think about it now, I can’t believe I cared so much.
I am not my clothes, but sometimes I felt like I was, like if my outfit was great – I was great, and if my outfit was sloppy or out of date, well, I felt like a mess.”
Jennifer Gerhardt, I Really Want to be Modest and I Really Want to Be Noticed: http://jlgerhardt.tumblr.com/post/3624151346/i-really-want-to-be-modest-and-i-really-want-to-be
“Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – 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 Pet. 3:3-4
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike