Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Contemplations of a Young Wife, Tenth Part

It's okay for me to want to be found beautiful. It's not okay for me to want to impress anyone but my husband.

The awesome conviction of the Holy Spirit, juxtaposed with relevant circumstances, made me revisit a subject I hadn't thought of much since the days of middle school puberty: modesty.

I was always the good girl growing up, and I mean always. I followed dress code. I wore one-piece bathing suits. You name it, I did it--I could've been the cover girl for "Stuff Christians Like". At the same time, I longed for the boys to think I was pretty. I wanted to  steal breaths at "Junior-Senior Banquet" (our equivalent of prom) armed with an elegant, long red dress as much as I did walking down the hallway armed with shining eyes and a smile.

Thus began the Freudian suppression of the insuppressible desire to be desired. Confused and warring values created prudishness, since I didn't know a way to emulate beauty (a healthy want) other than the "bad" way. Fear and legalism--that dastardly pair that almost always go together--gnawed at me. 

During my junior and senior year of high school, the legalism began to break down. By sophomore year of college, I recognized that God had given me a good face and body, and started to appreciate the ways he made me beautiful, which is what I wanted all along. However, the revelation meant I had power in my hands that I didn't know I had. Forgive me the quote, but as Uncle Ben tells Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility!"

I conclude that beauty is a power that all women have--when we wield it, relationships change on all sides, for better or for worse. 

My personal struggles didn't present a problem until this year. Immodesty (even "subtle" immodesty) was just another form of my age-old search for affirmation in all the wrong places. As I tried to figure out my value by looking through the eyes of man, my subconscious remembered I would be admired if I wore shorter shorts and lower shirts, which I did, which became increasingly shorter and lower as I pushed the boundaries. Sin is a lovely lure, you know.

Finally, after a conversation with one of my best friends, Katie, and my mentor Ann (both women I admire and want to imitate), I decided it was time to deal with the fact that while I've always maintained purity of body, I have not maintained purity of mind.

Chris didn't know my underlying motivations for my actions; even so, God would not allow me to get by with a mere show of godly wifehood. The fact that I would dress to impress any man but Chris had to go. I want to honor my husband--I want to be for his eyes only, something inherent in the vows I spoke that is a means of showing my faithfulness and desire for him. 

Most importantly, though, I want to honor God. Immodesty is symptomatic of my disrespect for myself as God's creation ("Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?"), as well as dependence on man and out and out idolatry.

I am memorizing Psalm 24:1-4 this week, and the last portion echoed in my mind as I contemplated these things: "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false..."

Why do modesty and purity matter? For crying out loud, what's the point? 
The point is that no one can serve the idol of one's body or human opinion, and serve God and represent Christ at the same time. 

There's just no room for two great loves.


  1. Great post! Very well-written thoughts on the subject.

  2. Really good post, Jaimie. Thanks for your faithfulness.

  3. Thanks for your honesty Jaimie and for writing so well what most women struggle with. Women are so good at hiding things that often when we walk through something we feel like we are the only one. As I am sure you know, you are most certainly not alone in this! I think that your heart is pure because a pure heart is able to feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit, recognize sin and then turn away. Thank you for your pure heart! :)

  4. Oh, that dreadful desire to be desired. If only we could remember ALL the time that we ARE and ALWAYS WILL BE desired completely by the KING of KINGS! Wouldn't that just solve everything? We forget about God's faithfulness even though he provides manna each day, and we beg for meat or try to collect as much manna as we can and store it up somewhere. What a shame. A waste of time and effort really. I love you friend and am right there with you. Thanks for your honesty and openness!

  5. Thanks much for the comments--they are, as always, very encouraging. Things (namely, sins) are easier to laugh at and despise when they're thrown out in the open!

  6. You truly make me wonder. I dress 'immodestly' compared to some. I dress comfortably and fun depending on my setting. You have no idea how amazing it was to wear nothing but jeans and cute shirts once I got out of school! I'm into the monokinis nowadays.

    Newly single I crave attention. But what I also know is I don't want attention for the wrong reasons. I am apparently eye candy enough by just my precious smile and tiny figure.

    Your blog shows maturity to want to consciously impress only Chris. This is a true battle for the married; and I admire it.

    Something to remember is to never do anything to impress anyone but your own standards, morals, faith, etc. You said something about serving human opinion and that reminds me of being a people pleaser. Just do what you gotta do and don't worry about what others think. Don't worry about how others think about you. Good or bad. You will never be able to control it anyways, right? It doesn't fortify or defile your motivations and convictions.

    Hold your head and pant waist high!


Talk to me, or send via telepathy. But don't be rude!

Personal attacks, trolling, spam and anonymous posts will be deleted.