Fitting In with Clothing

Today I went shopping, and I really like to shop.  I shopped at a thrift store, which is my number one favorite place to shop!  I like the prices, I like the “hunt,” and I like being able to rotate my clothes faster! However, I readily admit that sometimes when shopping (especially in the mall), I become obsessed with worldly beauty, and I feel the “materialistic” side of me rising.  Literally, I have identified the feeling and shopping brings out the worst in me!  I see styles that I have interpreted in my mind as pretty, successful, or attention getting.  I think sometimes (secretly of course) that if I could only buy this, that, or the latest other thing, that I’d get the job, the promotion, the man, the deal, the happiness (I’m sure you can relate). I have learned to identify this lie, yet dealing with it and destroying the lie is a whole ‘nother story!

I love girly things.  I like clothing and style and high heels and makeup.  I just do.  Thus, shopping poses a problem at times.  I see cute styles. I want to wear the styles I see.  Yet often, they are not modest.  I believe that modesty is a heart issue, first and foremost.  And there are the super-conservative opinions of clothing mixed with the liberal views of modestly, to the simply outlandish styles which no one in my groups of friends would ever wear. And all these represent views of people who think they’ve got modestly down to a science!  I’ve started trying to ask God His opinion.  He has the best eye anyway, and again, He doesn’t say I have to look out of style or even unattractive, just modest.  I’m learning to let Him identify modesty for me, to let Him identify appropriate style, and allow Him to challenge me so that I might be pure in body and soul. (Who was it who said that a woman’s clothes should be tight enough to let men know she’s a woman, but loose enough to let them know she’s a lady?  I like that!)

But I struggle sometimes.  I don’t want to look too old, nor too young.  I don’t want to say I love God with my mouth, but cause stumbling of eyes or thoughts due to my dress.  (I had a crush on a guy in high school.  He once voiced an opinion on the lack of modesty at the high school to another guy, and I happened to be within earshot. That really got me thinking!)  Thus, I don’t want to let my appearance suggest that my body is not a temple of the living God.  How do I reconcile this desire for modesty, style, and attractive dressing with the words of the Bible?  I decided to tape the following verses to my clothing bin where I hold my rotation of seasonal clothes:

  1. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)
  2. Your beauty should not come from outward appearance, but rather the inner beauty that is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)
  3. Put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature… and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

Along with my desire for cute clothing, I also struggle with greed in clothing.  While I have little comparatively, I likely have more than I need.  I like beauty, but want my heart to be far more beautiful than my body.  I don’t want to follow the habits of this world, especially the western world with selfish mindsets and the insatiable need for more.  Yet I find myself drifting in this direction from my desire to fit in.  It is a constant struggle, one that God is working in me to overcome and counteract.

One thing I know for sure is that God knows where I live: the economic structure around me, the era I live in that is vastly sexual and immodest, the challenge of Christian women shopping for attractive attire while maintaining discretion and modesty, and the need I have for clothing!  He is truly a gracious God and the more I meditate upon the verses above, stop reading fashion magazines or go shopping just to seek the latest and cutest, and pursue a heart of purity and modestly, the more He helps me stop caring about the fashion around me.  I’ve still got a long way to go, but isn’t that what the pursuit of God is — a constant refinement of every fiber of our being, until we no longer care about this world and fix our eyes only on Jesus?

How I pray that my eyes are fixed firmly on Jesus, that as a woman I declare God’s glory and life within me with how I dress as well as with my words, and that I learn to pray that this world have no hold on me! Let’s continue to be different from the world in every arena of our lives!

(p.s.  I’m not trying to condemn anyone.  All of us are at different places in our journey with God.  I am trying to challenge you to seek God’s opinion in your motives, dressing habits, and spending habits.  This is a lesson that I have been in the process of learning, and which I’m still learning!)

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