Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Why I Wear What I Wear

Calling all ladies! Today, you're getting the lowdown on my clothing standards! So exciting!
(ha, NOT!)

In all honesty, yes, this is what I'm talking about here today. But its the nitty gritty-the stuff all we girls deal with. So not really that exciting. Just to clarify. =)

It never ceases to amaze me how people are so interested in what I choose to wear. So many times I just want to say "Please, just go home and ask God what He wants YOU to wear. What's it to you what I wear?"

But the truth remains that this is a very real struggle in our culture. Women who follow Christ want to dress in a way that honors and glorifies Him and Him alone. And sometimes, navigating those waters of standards and convictions can be rough.

I know, I've been there.

So today, I want to talk to you girls as an older sister. Pull up your chair, and imagine that we're having a little chat together. With coffee, of course. And cream in the coffee. And both the coffee and cream in a big oversized mug that fits like four cups of coffee/cream mixture.
Now we're all set! =)

First of all, I don't have all the answers. Not even close-goodness, no. I mess up, and I make mistakes,  and I'm right there with you wading through the racks at the store and having those times when I get discouraged.

To be totally honest, I even have my moments where I think, "Eve had it SO EASY back before there was sin. She didn't even have to worry about modesty at all!"

Seriously, can you imagine? How nice would that be? clothes. No worries if it was not enough, or two much, or whatever. No agonizing over if a neckline was too low or pants were too tight if you didn't have any of that to begin with. She just didn't have to think about any of it. What a life!

Okay, okay, I digress....Moving on!! (hehe)

If you are looking for a formula, you will be disappointed in my answer today. Because the answer isn't measured in inches, or fittings, or lengths, or types. It isn't measured in tight or loose. It isn't measured in pants vs skirts, or shorts vs pants, or skinny vs baggy, or high vs low, or any of that.

That is just not the point.

The answer is found in knowing the Word of God, and in knowing the God of the Word.

Here's the deal. Whether you like it or not, what you wear matters. Your clothing is the first impression someone gets of you. (scary thought, that!)
Before you have a chance to say anything, your clothing has already made a statement about the kind of person you are. And if you are a child of Jesus Christ, than you're gonna need to be dressing a little different from everyone else. You are set apart. You are PRECIOUS in His sight. And you are DIFFERENT.

I'm a lover of quotes on this subject. I've found some great ones that I want to share with you:

"My fellow women of the world: 'Put on some clothes. You want men to give you the time of day? Leave a little up to the imagination, and respect yourself. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder is anyone you want it to be'."

"If Cinderella didn't need to take off her dress to get the prince, then neither do you." 

"Modest is not something to be ashamed of. It is strength, not weakness." 

"What you wear is your billboard. So...what are you advertising?"

"Dress how you want to be ADDRESSED."

Aren't those amazing? I would highly encourage you to write down one or more of them and tape them up on your bathroom/bedroom mirror, or wherever you get ready for the day each day. We all need good reminders like these!

I understand that this modesty thing is easier said than done. We live in a culture where everyone wants to tell everyone else what to wear. You know what I mean---it's either that super legalistic friend who tells you she "can't be friends" unless you start dressing "like a real Christian" (as she puts it), or its that left-wing aunt who tells you that you need to "stop being so frumpy and always wearing gunny sacks".
Honestly, thank goodness we aren't in this to please people because it's just about IMPOSSIBLE! Let me say that again-it IS impossible. Everyone either thinks you are too liberal or too conservative. Once in a blue moon someone recognizes the  beauty and class in true modest dress and tells you so, but those moments are rare and if you're living for the affirmation in those you will be sadly disappointed because they don't happen very often.

Quick commercial break here though...I have to tell y'all the story of how this actually DID happen the other night. My sister was telling me about how a guy at work told her that he appreciated that she dressed modestly and beautifully. I must admit I flipped out and said "Allison! Who was this man? Is he brother-in-law material?!?!" to which she rolled her eyes and responded, 
"Chels, he was like FORTY!" 
Obviously I totally agree that she dress modestly and beautifully but it's not every day that someone else TELLS you that! And a man at that! I wish it wasn't so rare but honestly it is and when I heard that a GUY told her that I was extremely impressed. And wanting him for a bro-in-law. Except that he was forty. So I guess not after all. (sniffle)
End of randomly inserted story. =)

Girls, we can't listen to the sources that want to dictate our wardrobes, whether negative or positive. Those dress codes and rules and "it has to be this length and this size to be modest"?
Those lists were all written and directed and planned by humans who are just as liable to fail and be wrong as anybody else. Also, remember that we aren't called to answer to a church or an organization, for our dress standards. We are called to answer to the ONE who designed modesty, the One who loves us more than anyone else ever could, and the One who is waiting and willing to guide each of us in our quest for godliness in our dress.

Quick note here to the few guys who were brave enough to read this post.
You might think it's weird to tell a girl that you appreciate how she dresses. Well, it's not weird. It is a BLESSING to us women, and we love you for it! Well maybe not literally. But you get the point. You have no idea how much it means.
 I'll never forget a few years ago when I was at a conference and one of the young men stood up during sharing time and publicly addressed all of the young women who were attending the conference. He specifically thanked us for dressing modestly and said how much he appreciated being at a conference where he didn't have to be constantly adverting his eyes. He probably didn't think anymore about his comment afterwards, but let me tell you that I KNOW I'm not the only girl who still remembers and greatly respects that guy for sharing that, even though it was 4-5 years ago. It was such an encouragement to know that there are still a handful of guys out there who not only notice but who care and appreciate the work it takes to dress in a godly way.

And it is work. It is definitely the path less chosen, and the harder of the two options. It takes time, and courage, and hard work! But it is infinitely worth it.

We've got to get back to the place where the only basis for our life, the only basis for where we stand, how we stand, and WHY we stand, and what we do and subsequently wear, is JESUS CHRIST and HIS WORD.

That's it. No minus, no plus, NO ADDITIONS. Just you and God and seeking His face.

I said it before, and I'll say it again-I don't have the answers. There are different clothing items that, to be honest, I'm not sure about. I wear what I wear based on personal standards that the Lord has led me to, and also certain family standards that my family has, and that I have chosen to honor as long as I am living at home. I find that, as with anything, it is very dangerous to get to a place where we think we have it all figured out, where we think we "have arrived" and know the perfect "dress code". I feel right now like I know less than I ever did! Except for one thing, and that one thing is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does care about this area of my life, and that He will be faithful to guide me if I diligently seek His face and His truth.

At the end of the day, I want more than anything else to be able to say, "I stood firm on Jesus Christ and His Word and the truth that He showed me."
This is not only the area of modesty, but also in every other area of my life.

I love each of you girls. That is why I am sharing this with you. My heart's cry is for every woman reading this to find true joy in serving Jesus in every area of her life, including through her clothing, because it is a service to Him! 
I view my wardrobe as an act of worship. After all, if it glorifies Jesus, that is worship, right? Right! 

God's Word has so much to say about this. My favorite verse on this subject is found in Corinthians:

"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, 
which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price:
 therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Most importantly, we can't forget that the heart of modesty really has nothing at all to do with actual clothing, but it is all about having the FEAR OF THE LORD and the Holy Spirit living within us:

"Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30

I'll end on a light note, with a favorite quote that is funny, but really quite sobering when you stop and think about it: 

"Dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure. 
                                  Yes, you'll get attention...but mostly from pigs."

You don't want that, honey. Pigs Boys like that aren't worth your time. Jesus created you for SO MUCH MORE
So step out of your box. Be different. Be set apart. Choose the royalty and dignity and glory that is fitting for a daughter of the Most High King.

And that is why I wear what I wear!
 I'm praying that each of you will commit to seeking Him in this area of modesty, and that you will be blown away by His faithfulness in showing you what He wants you to wear!

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! 
And. Be back this weekend for a super exciting guest post 
and giveaway of an amazing book on modesty!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Welcome to Iowa + the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

This was my view this morning as I drove down our country road. 

Gorgeous fog, gorgeous golden corn, gorgeous skies. Its Iowa, y'all. Those who think this isn't beautiful? They just don't understand.  

It is Iowa country in its full glory. And this is the most wonderful time of the year, because harvest just started! (insert confetti bursts and happy dances all around) Harvest time, my friends, is beyond exciting. The hum of the combine and the sound of corn filling the wagons are some of my favorites. The smell of a freshly combined field is one I could breathe in anytime, anywhere. The constant activity on our farm of tractors/combine coming and going is exhilarating. I love love LOVE it.

It has been an amazing year. Full of travel, adventure, and God stretching me in so many new ways. I am so grateful for all of His provision + guidance. I wouldn't trade the past nine months for anything. 

But I will admit that the current job of putting away the concert clothes/gear and preparing for all things fall and harvest is filling me with this wild joy of a little child. 

Because for the next three months I'm going to glory in the joy of being a country girl and living life on this beautiful farm I call home. And that, my pretty awesome. =)

What's your favorite thing about fall?