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Thoughts for Girls on the Gentle Art of Modesty

"Beauty without modesty is like a flower broken from its stem." --Vance Havner

"Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion."
~Proverbs 11:22~

What Shall I Wear Tonight?
What shall I wear tonight?
How oft have I said thus?
While viewing dresses, not a few,
Decide which one I must.

What shall I wear tonight?
Blue? yellow? pink? or brown?
My closet's full, but it's not so
The whole wide world around.

What shall I wear tonight?
Well might I blush for shame,
Somewhere someone is cold in rags --
How can I be so vain?

What shall I wear tonight?
A robe of righteousness --
A meek and quiet spirit, Lord,
Then matters not which dress

~By Ada Mae Zimmerman

Also to Blame
A young girl came home in anger one day and told her parents that a young man had spoken to her in a disrespectful way. Her mother was as angered as the girl when she heard the story, and both thought the father should take up the matter.

But the father said, "Daughter, you are not an immoral girl; but let me tell you a few things that may help you t look differently at this matter. You are young and attractive and your dress is such that it displays all your charm of face and figure. You wear short sleeves and your arms are bare, your waist is cut so low that a good portion of your shoulders and chest are exposed to view, your skirt is so cut that every line of your figure is seen in bold relief.

"You went on the street with your companions and saw this young man and knew that he was a stranger; but you laughed and tossed your head as you passed him and perhaps made some light remark that he overheard.

"He is a stranger here and did not know that you were a moral girl, for he would not think so by your appearance. I'm sorry that this occurred, but daughter, you are as much to blame as he."

~Author Unknown

"...Man looks on the outward appearance..." --1 Samuel 16:7b

'Tis Not Fine Feathers That Make Fine Birds
A peacock came with his plumage gay,
Strutting in regal pride one day,
Where a little bird hung in a gilded cage,
Whose song might a seraph? s ear engage.
The bird sang on while the peacock stood
Vaunting his plumes to the neighborhood;
And the radiant sun seemed not more bright
Than he bird that basked in the golden light;
But the little bird sang in his own sweet word
"'Tis not fine feathers that make fine birds!"

The peacock strutted -- a bird so fair
Never before had ventured there.
While the small bird hung at the cottage door,
And what could the peacock wish for more?
Alas, the bird of the rainbow wing,
He wasn't contented -- he tried to sing!
And they who gazed on his beauty bright,
Scared by his screaming, soon took flight;
While the little bird sang in his own sweet words,
"'Tis not fine feathers that make fine birds."

Then prithee, take warning, maidens fair,
And still of the peacock's fate beware;
Beauty and wealth won't win your way,
Though they're attired in plumage gay;
Something to charm you all must know,
Apart from fine feathers and outward show--
A talent, a grace, a gift of mind,
Or else small beauty is left behind!
While the little birds sing in their own true words,
"'Tis not fine feathers that make fine birds!"

~Author Unknown

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting" ~Proverbs 31:30a~

I Admire a Girl...
Who is neat, but not "dolled up;"
Who enjoys meeting people, but is not forward;
Whose life inspires others to Christian virture
and purity;
Whose presence causes others to be God-
Who reamins can in situations others would not;
Who is a good conversationalist, but does not
Who loves to do housework;
Who has an appreciation for beauty;
Who is refined, delicate, and feminine;
Who loves children;
Who can lend a good listening ear;
Who knows when silence is golden, and when it's
          just plain yellow;
  Who is generous and finds happiness in living unselfishly for others;
  Who is thrify, industrious, and despises idleness.

~By a young man

"...A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

~Proverbs 31:30b-31~

Seek to be good, but aim not to be great;
A woman's noblest station is retreat;
Her fairest virtues fly from public sight;
Domestic worth; -- that shuns too strong a light.

~Lord Lyttelton

The selections above are from a collection of upbuilding thoughts for girls, and I hope you are blessed by them! I also want to share a few more thoughts/ideas/convictions that I have an the subject of modesty. As Abigail said, not everyone sees eye to eye on this issue :-), and it can rightly be labeled as a "controversial" subject! However, since I do enjoy some controversy :-), I'm going to write some controversial material. :-)

One humorous statement my Daddy often makes is this: "I'm so glad that when we get to heaven, you're finally going to agree with me!" :-) Funny, but true! Of course, as he says, he'll agree with them as well! :-)

"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Cor. 13:9-10 & 12).

Heart First
Without a pure and modest heart we can't be modest. I can't make my heart pure, but I can ask God to make it pure. Psalm 51:10 is a perfect verse to use to pray for modesty: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

Sharing the Right Spirit
Whether our spirit is right or wrong, we share it with others. What's inside of us comes out. Most times, if a person doesn't act chastely, they don't dress modestly, either. However, we can dress modestly and act terribly! We may also not realize what clothing isn't modest.

I think the best remedy for this is to ask God to open our eyes and help us get rid of every item of clothing that doesn't meet His standard (see 1 Pet. 3:3-4 and 1 Tim. 2:9-10). We must also ask counsel from our parents and perhaps other mature CHristians. They can point out things that we just haven't seen. We should dress to match the message our lives have to share. We shouldn't be confusing to the world by saying one thing with our mouths and quite another with our clothes and actions. Our message should be clean, simple, and pure.

Jezebel's Daughter's
Really and truly, is makeup modest, or does it make us look sensual? This is another area to really pray and seek God about. "Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair, and looked out of a window" (2 Kings 2:30).

I once heard from an elderly lady about a man who was giving a class to some children on this subject of makeup. He showed the children some beautiful, pure white lilies. "Lily wasn't satisfied with how she looked," he explained, and preceeded to demonstrate how Lily tried to "fix" herself. After Lily had been sprayed with black, red, and blue pain, he asked the children, "Is Lily pretty now?" Of course, she wasn't! She was ruined!

A girl named Jamie wrote in another magazine how she felt about makeup:

"When someone looks at me, I should want him to notice my overall expression and the message it conveys, not the individual features of my face or body and how they look after I've groomed or dolled them up.

"Let me explain: To "doll up" one's features means to me to shape or color them in a way that they are not on their own... To "groom" oneself means to truly take care of one's physical externals. This is right and necessary...

"I find I trust and relate to a woman better and look at a girl as more open-hearted (not exclusive or "sophisticated") if she isn't wearing makeup. I don't so much notice that she's missing it, as I notice if she's wearing it: gaudy or not, it causes her to look more imposing, less feminine, less gentle, and (at least with eye makeup) less joyful. Not everyone is attracted to the same things, but I say it just depends on what kind of admiration you think is better to attract..."

Personally, I don't feel makeup is modest. It isn't simple, it costs money, steals time, easily becomes an idol, and attracts wrong attention. Never forget, a pure lily outdoes Solomon in all his glory!

"Nevertheless, I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel..." (Rev. 2:20a, NIV)

Even With Just Girls
I love to swim -- I love the water! The Lord has given us several places to swim with girls only. Some people might feel that if we're swimming with just girls, it's alright to wear things that you might not wear at other times. May I tell you a story that made me look at it differently?

Traci, Violet, Jane, and Vera Jones skipped happily down their lane. Mother had said that they could swim for an hour. How blessed they were to live on a quiet country road with a small river across the street! How good it felt to cool off on a hot day. On the way to the swimming spot, Alice, Crystal, and Mary Smith joined them. The girls chatted happily as they crossed the river at a shallow spot.

Now, the Jones' family rule was that girls should swim while modestly covered in their dresses. That was not the Smith's rule, however. They swam in clothing that was a bit skimpier than their normal clothes. Sometimes Traci Jones would sort of wish that she could wear something more like what Alice, Crystal, and Mary wore.

On this particular day, the girls splashed and played. They took turns swinging off a rope swing which a neighbor's father had made. What fun it was! They'd stand on the bank, grasp the rope, take a big jump, and sail over the water. They they'd let go and drop into the water. Traci loved doing this!

Suddenly, two strange boys, who had passed on the road, reappeared. They didn't have shirts on, and Traci grew alarmed as she saw them cross a bridge up the river and head for the girls. Traci was the oldest girl swimming and she urged the girls to get out of the water. Terrified, Traci and the other girls ran away. Finally they stopped, and Traci told the Smith girls to put their other clothes on.

Traci saw with relief that the boys retreated after they saw the girls flee. Traci had been so frightened and realized how sad it was that the Smith girls hadn't been more covered.

Those boys haven't been seen since, but I am Traci, and this experience will serve me as a gentle reminder to always dress modestly.

Eyes See
Sometimes long dresses aren't modest! If a skirt is tight and revealing, the length makes no difference. We need to be careful that our clothes don't have immodest eye traps. For instance, I've seen girls in long jumpers, but the tops are cut low and suggestively. Things such as buttons and buckles or bright spots of color placed om certain spots draw attention to that part of the body. Sheer fabrics, lacey stockings, slits in our skirts -- these thigns attract the eye. Eyes see, and it's easy to see and imagine more. Vile men will do this, and we need to be careful that our clothes don't have eye traps.

I'm Grateful to be a Woman
Jennifer Lamp writes:

"Are you glad to be a woman? Does that show to those around you? Does your dress reflect that you are grateful for the way God made you? This does not mean that lace and pale pink must dominate our wardrobes, but do we look like women, or does our appearance suggest we wish we were more like men? Do you know one of the primary reasons that I have been careful to keep a feminine wardrobe? ...mostly to contradict everything for which feminism stands. To emphasize the fact that there are differences between men and women, and furthermore, to express that I am grateful!"

We have a privilege to contradict feminism! Pants/shorts did come with the "women's lib" movement. By wearing dresses, we can say loudly and clearly, "I'm grateful to be a woman, and please to dress modestly like one!" (If you feel you need pants or shorts for certain activities, try wearing them under your skirts. We do this to swim and play in the snow.)

"A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this" (Deut. 22:5, NIV).

On a Woman's Break
Jennifer Lamp again says:

"A speaker recently shared that 'in the past it took an entire sheep to cloth a woman, but now a silkworm can do it on his lunch hour...' It shows so little respect to our brothers when we let them down in this area. There is enough for them to fight against...don't be yet another stumbling block to them!"

So, when you're tempted to put on something that's not modest, think about the silkworm quote... :-)

When It's Hard
Sometimes being modest is hard (for me at least). I think all of us girls want to be attractive: God gave us that desire. At times it may be tempting to gain attention by immodest actions or dress, particularly when "everyone's doing it."

Here's one thought that, for me, helps it seem more "fun" to be modest. All that I am, I want to save for my husband as a precious gift to give only to him. Every time we're tempted to show off what should be modestly hidden, we can choose to be modest, and so add to the value of the gift our husband will receive.

Even if God does not plan to give us a human husband, He is our husband. "For your Maker is your husband forever. The Lord Almighty is His name..." (Is. 54:5) We can give our whole selves to Him forever!

"So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty;
for He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him!"
--Psalm 45:11

~By Hannah Joy G. from PA, for HW, Vol. 43

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