This may sound ludicrous to some, but I’m consciously working on removing “girl” from my vocabulary when referring to myself or other grown women. You’re scratching your head and wondering, “Uhhh…why?” Let me clarify… Definition of Girl 1. A female … Continue reading
Monthly Archives: April 2015
Have you decided what you plan to do with your last name if you marry?
I remember how “rebellious” it was to keep your last name growing up and now I don’t see it as a big deal. It’s a personal choice and people shouldn’t read anything into it. In the last few years, a friend of mine decided to keep her last name for professional reasons. She married right before graduating and it is just easier bigger picture. She loves her husband dearly and there is no negativity to her not changing her last name. On the contrary, I don’t feel that it makes one lesser to take on their husband’s last name. Or combine them. You are a unit now, decide as a unit what’s best for your family…
My brother and I are the ONLY TWO carriers of our last name for our ancestry line for the current generation. Our relatives have married and taken their husband’s name and so that makes my brother the last one if I change my name.
I plan on keeping my maiden name by adding it to my middle name for this very reason. It is the way I want to honor our line.
Modest is Not Hottest – How I Woke Up About Modesty Standards
Sorry everyone, long post!
As a Christian, modesty has always been a hot topic. I used to be on the modesty standards bandwagon until I realized my views on modesty was more personal opinion than biblical! I wanted to do workshops on how to dress and teach the preteen/teen girls I mentored what I grew up hearing… and you know what? I’m glad my workshops never happened. It was God’s way of sparing them from bad information from me!
I started thinking and wondered…
1. Why do we use a sexualized term to promote modesty?
2. Why do we define modesty with rules based on visual opinion?
3. Why do we focus on women more than men?
4. Why do we judge people as prude or “holier than thou” when they define things differently?
5. Why does men’s opinion mean more than God’s opinion?
I posted an article a few years ago that called out the phrase “Modest is hottest.” In fact, it was titled, “Modest is Not Hottest” and that title alone was enough for someone to attack my character. I had someone reply on my facebook post with just a verse reference: “matthew 23:25.” They didn’t bother to ask me to explain…they didn’t question anything. They just went straight to accusing. That’s when I realized that a lot of modesty issues are just ways people unjustly judge others.
This is what Matt 23:25 says:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”
Ouch, right? What are we telling the world when a fellow Christian is that quick to judge? I’ll admit I was hurt.
So, here’s what I think about modesty:
1. “Hottest” is a sexual term and I don’t like the association.
Using it to teach children/youth about modesty is counterproductive. It also associates a term a person uses while checking someone out. It’s catching someone’s attention in a sexual manner. It tells them indirectly that guys will find you more sexually attractive if you’re modest. But is that really true modesty?
2. Modesty is as simple as Romans 12:1-3.
Romans 12:1-3 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” Modesty is something personal, between you and God. It is Him whom one should please, NOT OTHERS. This was my wake up call. Who was I to please? Who was I accountable to for my actions, how I dress, and what I do with my body? God!
3. Modesty is a personal decision to please God, not your parents, not your friends, not your pastor.
I believe modesty is a personal choice – not a social obligation. Be careful whom you are pleasing! This also applies for parents raising up boys and girls. I loved gaining my parents praise and approval growing up. If I am told that I cannot do x, y, z growing up because it is a rule, that does not mean as an adult I’ll feel the same when I’m outside of my parents’ instruction. Modesty is not about rules, really. And I honor that each family has different standards for dress, and do not judge, but I personally don’t think they should enforce it as a modesty issue. I think it’s better to enforce it as a family rule. For example: “The Smith family rules is no shirtless boys and no mid-drifts for girls.” I think when teaching modesty, it should be taught as PERSONAL obedience from the start. I would like to be open with children in their dress and attitudes and have them decide what they find is personally immodest and what is pleasing to God. I want to nurture an outlook that will last them a lifetime, not a rule that only lasts in my household.
Which brings me to my next point…
4. Modesty is a heart issue rooted in obedience.
This is why I don’t like rules and regulations regarding modesty. Suggestions and tips are great, but the real matter is their heart. Why should I judge a fellow Christian in a 2 piece bathing suit when she is in charge of her modesty and that is between her and God? Her accountability is not to me. Is barking at that teen girl for showing 2 more inches of thigh really going to pay off? Shouldn’t I be more concerned about her walk in general and focus on more important issues, like how her week went and what I can pray for in her life? I think we nitpick and focus on little things rather than the bigger picture at times. What message am I truly conveying if I feel I can tell someone to cover up but have never gotten to know them? Surely, if I am to disciple them, there are more important things I could spend my time with them about. How about that Christian gym trainer guy who keeps winking at ladies and gets really flirtatious? Can I rule him off as a “bad Christian” just to find out this is an area he struggles with and is personally working on? I also have no idea if that random person is a new growing believer and if my words would hurt them more than grow them. I am also certain that in the lifetime process of sanctification, God will reveal to them if their dress or attitude need work. They may not be quite there yet. That’s okay.
5. Head coverings, skirts, covered collarbones etc. does not mean people live under a rock or oppression.
Guys, I am so guilty here. I have judged in the past the ladies and gentlemen who have personally decided that modesty for them includes a few more personal standards. I’ve mocked head coverings. Shaken my head at guys who only wear slacks and suits. I’ve complained that it’s ridiculous that collarbones need to be covered and that some ladies never wear pants.
You know what? That’s just as bad as judging those short shorts on a gal or shirtless guys. I have no right to call one outdated, prude, or extreme for having a view that does not look like mine. I have no right to say they have gone overboard. It is between them and God. I also need to see them as people and understand that there are more important things than dress in their sake too. Am I prejudging them based on what they wear? If so, I’m at fault.
6. But wait, there’s more!
I’m not going to neglect that there is more to modesty than what I’ve addressed. While modesty is personal, there are ways it affects more than me. The Bible does instruct certain things to consider as one outlines what obedience is with God in regards to modesty. 1 Corinthians 8 talks about being mindful in consideration to prevent causing others to stumble and using our freedoms wisely. 1 Timothy chapter 2 goes into some details based on Paul’s feelings but again, I want people to read this and draw from it what the Holy Spirit reveals to them, not my opinion. 1 Cor 6:19-20. Matt 6:28-30. Titus 2:11-12. So yes, if someone’s thinking, but wait, there’s more! There is! But that is between you and God, as my modesty is between me and God. My only advice would be to pray for discernment for the details.
In a nutshell, what I’ve learned is that modesty is an inward heartfelt decision of obedience to God and that it translates differently outwardly for each believer. It’s not as complicated as people make it out to be!
Redefining and Refining
I’ve got quite a bit of downsizing and organizing ahead of me and as I work out what is truly worth keeping and what really has value, I’ve decided it’s time to refine my style and space a little bit. I have too much stuff, and as horrible as it sounds, stuff often makes one’s life more complicated.
Instead of a closet full of clothes, I have a closet, chest of drawers, and a few laundry baskets full. Do I really need that much? I probably wear about a quarter of it regularly, yet when it’s time to get ready, half my wardrobe lands on my bed as I try this and that.
Boxes of old school work, writing, and drawings. Do I need to keep all of it? I don’t need all my doodles from college.
I tried asking a friend and my boyfriend what my fashion style was to help define my wardrobe and got the worst answers! My friend said, “I don’t know…sometimes you dress American and sometimes you dress Asian.” Umm…okay? My boyfriend said, “I’d say you dress like a grandma.” Painfully true, as I joke about that quite a bit. I’ll take comfort over fashion but I still like to look put together and avoid appearing frumpy.
Here’s what I’ve written down as both those answers hardly help!
Romantic (Floral prints, lace, soft grey/cream/brown colors)
Edgy (Ruched items, color block, rock inspired)
Jewel tones (violet, magenta, mint, turquoise, emerald, aqua, teal)
Blues, whites, greys
Soft or neutral grey
Soft or neutral beige
Blue bedcovers and curtain panels
Metallic or ornate accents
Things to Get Rid of:
Souvenir/one line saying tees. They’re not versatile nor work appropriate. I hardly wear them.
Mismatched/worn out PJs. I’m a lady. I want to look classy even at bedtime.
Old/worn tank tops and undershirts.
Vee necks that tip too low to wear alone. Over it.
The jeans I swear I’ll fit again one day.
Fussy coats and cardigans with iffy buttons. I need stuff that lays nice on my full chest.
Button ups that also don’t lay well or pop open because of my size and chest.
Ugly undies. Again, I’m a grown lady. No more ugly undies. I want to feel refined even if that confidence boost is just for me.
Here goes nothing! 🙂
Weight Discrimination…from Both Sides.
Opinions from outside:
A lovely lady whom I look up to for her natural health knowledge wrote a beautiful article about weight discrimination happening to someone they love. It was really dear to my heart because it is written so thoroughly and from an outside perspective.
Opinions from Inside:
Yesterday I was at a bachelorette party and realized that while I’ve worked very hard at accepting myself and having body peace, I was still being critical of self. The rest of the girls at the party were typical sizes and I was the only plus size girl. I wore black slacks and a fun top and ruched jacket over it while everyone else had modest mid thigh black dresses and showed a little leg. First, I felt bad that I might have been underdressed, and two, I didn’t have the fancy heels and club-type apparel like the rest of them. I even spent an unnecessary 10 minutes debating what covered my arms best and realized I shouldn’t have felt ashamed to hide them.
We all carpooled, 5 of us total, in one car. And that’s where my self-discrimination started setting in. I panicked for a second wondering if they’d make me sit up front because I’m biggest or if people would complain if I was sitting in the back.
“Bride to be in the front!” The driver called out. She deserved the front passenger seat and they didn’t even think twice about her being up front.
I took a deep breath and slid in the back and tried to pretend I could take up less space. Nobody complained on the ride to our destination or on the way back home. Nobody called out my black slacks instead of dress. Nobody questioned my kitten heels when everyone else had stilettos. They treated me kindly. I was my worst offender.
Sometimes we are the worst discriminator. We make our weight a big deal when it’s not. I know this is something I need to work on. Yes, I am conscious that I take up more space, but I shouldn’t make it a bigger deal than it is. I rob my own joy when I self-consciously think about myself as being fat when I should be enjoying my time around others.
When the night ended, I was grateful that nobody made my size a big deal, and that I needed to worry about it less. I should reinvest those thoughts into encouraging reasons to exercise and eat right, if anything. And in hindsight, I wore kitten heels because I knew they’d be cute but comfortable with my top, and WE DID do a lot of walking and standing. I would have hated myself if I wore anything taller. And, I wanted to wear pants because I wasn’t in the mood to wear a dress. So, lesson learned. Be content of self. Have a good time. Don’t fret the details. Be grateful for people who see you as a person, not a large person, and treat you like everyone else. 🙂