Two women sit chatting in a small booth. One is demurely dressed in a flowing skirt and a neatly pressed high-necked blouse. Her hair is pulled back gently, while soft bangs frame her pretty face. She is the picture of beauty and perceived modesty…and she knows it. Her eyes flit from here to there, taking in every person who walks through the door. A few well-dressed men pass by and her lovely eyes bat just a bit as she smiles coyly at them. When the waiter returns to collect the remains of the meal, she giggles and swats at his hand with her still clean napkin, teasing. Flirting.
Her friend sits across the table, quiet and self-controlled. Her clothing is much less notable and clearly isn’t the object of her thoughts. Her plain, long-sleeved shirt paired with crisp blue jeans stand out in stark contrast to her pristine companion. With her hair neatly gathered into a ponytail and barely a trace of makeup, she can’t quite understand why it is her the waiter keeps noticing. Keeping her eyes averted and making only polite replies when spoken to, she gracefully refutes the unwanted attention. They are, after all, two married women simply sharing a lunch together.
These ladies are mere symbols of the confusion among Christian women today. We hear the message God has for us, but so often we fail to process it, and it never reaches the depths of our souls. And so we make the right purchases, gathering clothing that befits a reputable woman of the church. We wear the look on our outward selves, but it fails to transform us. Because true femininity begins in the heart, not at the clothing rack.
We read and study and apply. We’re earnest in our desire to do right, but we forget to allow God to imprint His word on our heart. And so the changes we make are surface and our testimony lacks depth. He first wants to be granted entrance into the secret places of our beings. The inner most corners where insecurity and indecision dwell, cluttering the soul.
You’ve seen people who get on a kick to get rid of “stuff”. They work themselves into a frenzy when they can no longer stand the accumulation of things. Boxes are donated, bags are trashed, shelves are emptied and organized. But no sooner than they finish, they haul home new finds to take the place of what was removed. And so the cycle continues and the stash is replenished. So very much like what we unknowingly do in our spiritual lives.
How different the experience would be if we didn’t hurry to make change, but waited on the Lord to fill us. If rather than reading something and scuttling off to make it ours, we allowed it to penetrate the heart and mind. If rather than exerting so much energy trying to work reformation in our lives, we simply permitted God to reform us. We want what is good. We desire what is better. But God knows what is best. We can trust him to adorn us modestly and femininely, from the inside out.
****Note~Please understand that I am in NO WAY indicating I think modesty is not important! I most certainly do! But I believe we so often run a few strides ahead of the Lord, failing to soak in the redemption that truly delivers us from our former selves. No change in clothing or dress can trump the importance of allowing Him to wash us with the grace that transforms us from the heart.