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? Just...no 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!" 
Bummer. 
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!
-Chels

62 comments:

  1. Awesome post!!!
    -reader from Michigan

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  2. Thank you si much Chels! You totally put it in a different light. Btw, does to guest post and book giveaway happen to the by Kristen and/or Bethany Baird?!

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    1. Yes-you guessed it! So excited! Have you read their book yet?!

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    2. No, I haven't, although I would love to! I can't buy it right now, so I'm so excited that you're doing a giveaway!!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! It's encouraging and refreshing to read about modesty from this perspective, because to be honest I get so sick of pants vs skirts, skirt length etc discussions. I've been thinking that how we dress should be a reflection of our inner life. So if we are connected to Christ, that will show, and He will teach us what is and isn't appropriate. The thing is then, people who appear equally connected to Christ sometimes have entirely different standards to each other... How come, if they're both following God and the Bible?
    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts...

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    1. I think its because of principles and standards. I'll explain it like this:
      All Christians who are truly following the Lord and wanting to follow Him should have the principle of modesty in their lives. I can almost guarantee you that any Christian to whom you would ask the question, "Do you want to dress in a way that would honor the Lord?" would say a hearty YES.
      But some Christians unfortunately don't place standards in their lives to protect those principles of modesty. (this could apply to many different areas, by the way)
      They have the principle/conviction, but they think it will just happen on its own and they take no steps to ensure its safety.
      Then other Christians, who DO place standards in their lives to protect their principles, differ from person to person. As in, one person may have this standard, and the next may have a different standard, but they each have a standard that they are seeking to live by.
      This has been something that used to really bother and confuse me quite a bit, but our pastor preached a message on principles/convictions at our church earlier this summer and it was a great help to me in understanding this more fully!

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    2. Thank you so much for explaining, Chelsy. I've never come across the principles-standards idea before, but it makes a lot of sense, and has cleared up a few things in my mind.
      God bless! :)

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  4. Thank you so much, Chelsy! This was great! Currently I wear a lot of what I do to honor my parents/church's standards (although I definitely believe in modesty and have standards of my own), but I want to truly think about the heart of the matter. Because my own standards differ from those I adhere to currently, it's easy to be obsessed with trying to look the best I can within those standards, but I don't think that's right-when we are so obsessed with looking great and trying to see what all we can get by with (even if we have no problem with the shorter sleave length or whatever we're trying to get by with) I think we're missing the point. Don't get me wrong, wanting to look neat and pretty is good, but it's when we're constantly stressing about it that it's not.
    Excuse the rant...just what your post has me thinking about. And yay for giveaways!

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    1. Great thoughts there-I love your heart and totally agree with what you are saying!

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  5. Lovely post- so encouraging!

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  6. Thanks for the wonderful post Chelsy!!

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  7. Can I just say, Wow Wow Wow!! I think this is one of my favorites! And it may not seem that exciting to you but let me just say that all of your blog readers out there love when you do these kind of post, because the truth is that we all look up to you. And to you it might not seem like its that exciting but it really is to us! I love getting your opinion on these things and I also love getting your advice. I love the cinderella quote, it is so true. And of course I love all of the other quotes too! Thank you for giving us such great advice and for always doing great posts!
    blessings
    - mackenzie

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    1. Aww, thank-you dearie! Just remember to look up to JESUS and not me.
      But I'm thankful if this could be an encouragement to you!

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    2. sorry , thats not what I meant. ..... I look up to you as some one that shows me how to be even closer to the LORD . I didnt say it the right way... sorry. But i am excited for the give away!

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  8. This post has really helped me on who we are as Christian women an chooseing that way to choose the Lords way an not ur way or listen to others about how we should dress an yes I think the same way of my wardrobe now that I think about it so u are so right on that ur wardrobe is like a way to worship God I love this post thanks for posting this thanks for helping us girls as we stand us young hearts seeking the Lord an do what's right for him an u so thanks lov the quotes on here an the story about aillson I wish more guys could be like today in this world is hard to seek guys that are blessed by the way u choose to dress that is such a blessing to her an about that guy at the conference that is just so amazing that he the guts to just stand out an say the about how much he loves the way we choose to dress ect ect so thanks hugs lov u an God bless u lov u too girly praying for u too girly hugs lov u an God bless u

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  9. Thank you for sharing! AMEN!

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  10. What a well written post! Our ultimate goal is to be honoring to God. Whether we are a married woman with children or a young lady looking to a future with husband and children we need to not look for the attention that clothing can bring but the glory we can give to God in our attire. Will this outfit turn heads or will people see past the outfit and to Christ. Love you! Lisa

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    1. Thank-you so much, Miss Lisa!
      Praying for you + your family-miss y'all!!

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    2. Miss you all as well! Thanks for the prayers and we keep you in ours as well!

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  11. I appreciated reading your thoughts on the matter. I've always thought that how we dress is an outward display of the inner man. Meaning, how we are as Christians, is shown on the outside. Who are we representing? Christ or the world? Who are we trying to draw attention to? And like you said... there is not perfect solution or dress code. I think part of it is because so much of how we dress is because of our attitude. Why are we dressing the way we do? When I go to put something on, I have to think of my motive for wearing it. And are we always trying to push the limits in every aspect of life or are we willing to live a life of modesty? Thanks for sharing all your thoughts... they were encouraging to read through, and I whole-heartedly agree with them. :)
    - a girl of 20 with similar beliefs

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    1. You are so right. Thanks for sharing YOUR thoughts as well!!

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  12. I love how you write in such a way that I can totally HEAR your voice as I read, it cracks me up. You are so great - love you. :) this post is awesome..love all your thoughts and your heart behind it.

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  13. Your heart is so beautiful my friend!! I wanted to add an "Amen!" or a "Preach it Sista!!" at the end of many of your paragraphs. ;) Gretchen over at Life Lived Beautifully Blog just finished a 4-part series on Modesty & the Gospel and I'm so riled up/ excited about this topic right now.
    I think both of you so beautifully brought forth the fact that how we dress conveys a message, and that message should be Christ. This quote from her blog sums it up pretty well... "Modesty is more than we have deemed it. It is not about rules and regulations, but about the state of our heart and the object of our worship."
    And, I can't help but share this definition of modesty by Covenant Eyes "Modesty is a respectable manner of adorning one’s body and carrying oneself, born out of a freedom from a worldly definition of beauty and worth, and motivated by a hatred of sin and a desire to draw attention to God.”
    I wish I could hug you right now to thank you for the timeliness of your post. I'm so excited for the young women who will read this and be pointed to Jesus. If we are redeemed, we should dress (including having the attitude/countenance) of one who has been washed of her sins and is now an ambassador of Christ. We shouldn't be looking to others for our convictions since we have the privilege to boldly approach the throne (Hebrews 4:16) to ask this of the Almighty!
    -Kayla

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    1. Ah, thank-you so much for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to check out that blog series.
      And the quote! Amazing.

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  14. Love this post! I agree wholeheartedly! Love all the quotes.

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  15. Super encouraging post! Thanks so much - a great follow-up to the retreat session on becoming a woman of principle :)

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  16. Thanks so much for the encouragement and challenge to evaluate our clothing choices as young women seeking Jesus!!!! It was a blessing<3 {the quotes were great too:))}

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  17. i love your post.I think modesty is so important. I don't think it is a matter of skirts vs jeans. You can be modest in both or not so modest in both. I am working hard on teaching my daughter the importance of it. Thanks

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  18. Thanks so much for the offer to pull up a chair...how nice of you! ;) Seriously, I don't have an older sister, so its helpful to read posts like these. I agree with a lot of your sentiments here, but have been quite frustrated lately with all the never-ending opinions regarding what is modest and what is not. Like you say, it should be a personal conviction, and my experience has been that enforcing personal standards on someone else {many times} results in disillusionment and maybe even total abandonment of modesty.

    I would like to hear what you think: Is there a degree of deception or dishonesty in placidly going along with set-forth standards (either in church or home) that aren't personal? Some people say it's "leading people along" to not "let it be known" what your personal standards and convictions are, or it's making people think you're something you're really not. I've gotten these kind of speeches lol, because I'm more of the peace-seeking, non-controversial type, so even if I strongly disagree with a standard, I might just go along with it to keep the peace. Is it hypocritical of me to do one thing and think another, all in an effort to keep the peace and unity? (Here's an easy example: a girl wears skirts 24/7 even though her personal modesty standards would include pants)

    --your younger sis, 21

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    1. I appreciate your heart in seeking and wanting to know what is the right thing to do! That is a great place to be!
      I personally believe that fear of man/conforming to standards should have NOTHING to do with how we set our standards.
      However, even if you disagree with a standard you should go along with it IF it is a matter of obedience or honor. (this is how it is in some areas for me right now)
      But if it is fear of man, or fear of what others would think, than that is different.
      Also remember that obedience to your father/husband or family standards is totally different than obedience to a church or organization. Your father/husband is placed as your head and authority, while your church is not.

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    2. Thanks for the reply! I appreciate the good advice :)

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  19. Chelsy, you have NO clue how much this blog post meant to me. I honestly think its the BEST post you've ever done. It was so easy to read, and so interesting, and SO encouraging. I love you girl so much, you are SUCH a great example to me. Xoxo, Mary

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    1. Aw honey-you are too sweet. Honestly, Jesus gave this post to me so just thank Him. =)
      Love you!

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  20. Chels!! This post is exactly what I was needing at this time -- thank you so much!! Love your heart for our King!
    xoxo,
    Ali Turner

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  21. Chelsy,
    I was so encouraged by your blog post! Thank you for sharing! I agree with you, it isn't all about standards and all of that. It is truly about the heart and what God calls as a personal conviction to yourself! However, I think there are still girls out there that struggle with where to draw the line. They still have to ask the questions, "What is too short? What is the appropriate length to wear?" Yes, it is more about the heart, but a girl has to still determine where she draws the line with her attire. I think it would be helpful to so many if you were able to share in depth where you draw the line on clothes and why. Also, answer the question, "Why is this my personal conviction?" if it is a personal conviction for you to all of us.
    I would love to hear your thoughts on that! :) Thank you for always being so encouraging and open on your blog! :)
    Glory

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    1. So thankful it encouraged you!
      I have chosen to not share my personal standards because I feel like it would be a hindrance to a lot of girls in keeping them from seeking Jesus personally for themselves on this issue. As humans it is so easy for us to hear someone else's standards and "jump on board" with that because it sounds good, instead of seeking the Lord for ourselves! That's why I have never shared my personal standards-I don't want that in any way to distract girls from seeking Jesus for themselves. Its so easy to put a person up on a pedestal and I don't want that to happen with this. I want us all to look to JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith!!
      However, I have found a resource (come back tonight to find out more!!) that shares some thoughts about why it is a good idea to avoid certain items of clothing for certain reasons. I feel like that is a much better approach to share truth while still encouraging people to seek Jesus for themselves, because it isn't saying "wear this!" but rather "it might be wise to avoid this...and ask Jesus what you should wear instead."
      So come back tonight to hear more about that! =)

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    2. Oh, that is so true! I should have thought of that beforehand, because I feel the same way too- it being all about Jesus! One person may have a personal conviction for whatever reason, but another may have a different conviction on that same thing, both feeling it because of what they think the Lord is telling them. I wholeheartedly agree with what you have said and completely understand!
      It has definitely been a long time since I have see y'all! I would love to see you and Allison sometime soon! Whenever you are in FL, near Jacksonville, just let me know! :)

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    3. Chels,
      I just wanted to say that I really appreciated the fact that you DIDN'T share your personal "what to wear when" standards and convictions, for the reason that you said here...it would be to easy to say "well, Chelsy wears it so it must be ok" =))) And because each of us as young women need to seek the Lord to determine our own individual convictions and standards on clothing{and everything else, really}
      Yes, thank-you for your openness in sharing...I love your focus on Jesus! And my sistas and I were saying how we loved your sisterly writing style=)
      Much love+blessings<3

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    4. Thank-you Glory + Rachael!
      And yes Glory-would love to see you again too! We may be in Jacksonville in February!

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  22. Oh. my. goodness. Where do I even begin!? Okay first... THANK YOU! Thank you for saying what's gotta be said! I LOVE the way you write! So genuine! I can hear you saying EVERY word that you write! So much truth in this post. Can't get enough of the quotes either!! I just adore every word of this, girl!! #keeponkeepingon
    P.s. I love you more!

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    1. Its all about Jesus, girl! So thankful He placed this on my heart!
      Love you too!

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  23. P.p.s. I LOVE the part of guys not being bashful to compliment us on our outfits too!! Basically love all of it.

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  24. This is by far the best, Chels-LOVED this post! =)
    Thank you from my heart.
    Love you!

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  25. That was absolutely a.m.a.z.i.n.g! You did such an awesome job wording all of that...I do have to say that this quote "Dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure. Yes, you'll get attention...but mostly from pigs." was my absolute favorite :) Although I don't know you in person I'm sure you're an absolutely incredible Christlike role model for girls around you.

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    1. I love that quote too; from the moment I first read it I have just loved the humor + absolute truth in it! =)

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  26. Chelsy, I am so thankful God has gifted you with such grace and the boldness to share! THANKS SO MUCH for sharing!

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    1. I'm thankful too for the work He is doing in my life and all of ours!

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  27. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to write this post, Chelsy! I was deeply encouraged! I've been struggling in this area and love to hear other girl's thoughts on this topic.
    I love your beautiful heart for others and your willingness to share.
    God bless you, friend! ♡

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    1. Thankful the Lord could use it in your life!

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  28. Great points, Chels. Love it. Keep standing for Truth!!

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  29. I think this is very encouraging! It really encourages Me to keep being modest!

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  30. Thank you for this post. Modest dress is something that we all need to focus on, no matter how old we are. And you're right; it IS people's first impression of us; how we dress our bodies that are the temples of the Holy Spirit. This was actually a hot topic in Canada, as we just had our federal election and elected a new Prime Minister. I came up with my own slogan, and since it rhymes, it may be a song, lol.
    Build trust, not lust.
    And arguments come up from BOTH extremes; those who cover up SO much you don't see any of the PERSON,(and, on a practical side, how DO they eat?) and those who show too much; not caring about, well, anything.
    Great video with the young ladies from Modesty Project/Girl Defined. Lots of creativity there; though I tried the jean-shorts thing once with a pair of jeans worn out at the knees; didn't work. I guess I need my fashion designer friend to help me next time.
    As for the people who want to see what your standards are, all they have to do is scroll and look at your photos. I consider them general guidelines, but yes, go home, look at the mirror, and ask God if this is something He wants you to wear.
    I love that comment about manure and pigs too, lol. Makes me almost want to get a pet pig and put lipstick on it, lol.
    Thanks again, Chelsy.

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    1. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts + for the encouragement as well!

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  31. The question, as emphasized by one, should not be how liberal we can dress or what we can "get by with", but rather, as a temple (jar of clay that carries an imperishable treasure) of the Holy Spirit, how far away can we stay from lustful dress? Now to qualify that statement, burlap sacks are not the answer. ;-) That is one extreme and the other extreme is described above. But as you wrote, Chelsy, we do ALL for the glory of God! There is a middle road, walking in the Spirit, that keeps us from bother ditches.

    The Rebelution Blog by Alex and Brett Harris organized a Modesty Survey several years ago: input from the guys. My favorite part of this survey is the comments these young guys left--encouraging notes for us ladies to keep glorifying God by modest dress. They said they notice when girls are dressing modestly and they appreciate it! I highly recommend these comments for any fellow lady in need or of interest to what young Christian guys think on the matter!

    Grace today,
    Chantal

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    1. Ahh, I love the modesty survey too-wonderful resource!!

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

    Ah, that's good.

    It was also very good for me to "hear" you say that it's actually BEST to be in a place where you are always seeking out the heart of God in the way of what modesty means for each of us individually. It's easy to get stuck in a certain way of thinking and not allow Him to keep molding my convictions/views. Thanks for sharing truth as fearlessly as you do!

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    1. Praise the Lord-so thankful this could bless you today!

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  33. I really like your article about modesty and I (15) have also felt like no one cared wether I dressed modestly except my parents. So I was encouraged earlier this year when I was complimented that I dressed modestly and that he liked girls who dressed modestly. He was a Christian guy that I had just met at a wedding and his sister and I were already good friends. He was like 22. Thank you so much for your encouragement. Your sister in Christ, Faith Metz

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