What I wish I had understood in high school....

Posted by  | Thursday, February 9, 2012  at 1:27 PM  
One aspect of preparing for marriage that no one really wants to talk about is modesty. I thought that I understood the basics... My parents and I had many battles over the length of my skirts and shorts growing up! I was incredibly obedient and in fact overly modest until about 8th grade when a "cool" friend told me that I had great legs and I ought to roll up my skirt a bit to show them off. I had never even thought about it before, but that opened my eyes and began the lie in my heart that I needed to show a little skin in order to be beautiful. I was careful to cover up my cleavage and belly, but oh, did I try to get away with short skirts! I think back to what I tried to get away wearing in high school and I cringe in shame. It was pale compared to many girls in my school, but appalling by my current standards of modesty.

The truth is, I had been well instructed in modesty by my parents, but I never really understood the struggle that all men face so it was not a rule that I thought was important to follow.

I thought that all they had to do was look away if they felt tempted, just as I would look away if I saw a movie with something inappropriate in it. Not hard at all for me to do, so why should it be a big deal for them? In my mind, it was their problem, not mine. (And yes, I know how horrible that sounds; I'm just being honest. I have struggled with many sins over the years (obviously self-righteousness and pride included), but lust has never been one of them and I simply could not understand.)

By the time I met Mark, my standards had improved greatly because I knew the kind of guy I wanted to marry and I knew he wouldn't want a girl wearing short skirts! All my skirts were pretty close to my knees so I was greatly surprised (and incredibly mortified) one Sunday afternoon when he sat down and brought up this discussion. He told me that I was beautiful and that he loved to look at me but would I please make sure my legs were covered up during church because he found it hard to focus on God when I was sitting beside him with bare skin. Even though my skirts were almost to my knees, when I sat down, they rose up (of course). So that day I learned just a bit of the struggle that guys face and after getting married I understood more and more.

Disclaimer: This post is not at all about how long a skirt needs to be and I don't dress with skirts to my ankles even today. I happily dress for my husband and he helps me to know what he thinks is pretty and appropriate and what he likes to see me in around the house and out in public. What is most important is my heart's motive in dressing and I thank God that He used one of the most godly young men I had ever met to convict my heart.

I am writing this post because I am sure that there are many other young women who, like me, do not understand the battle that goes on in a man's mind. I recently saw the following video from CJ Mahaney and immediately knew that I should share it on here. Please watch it. Please watch the entire video. You might think you "get it" after the first minute, but as you continue to watch your understanding will deepen and your desire to serve your brothers will grow. It is worth your time. THIS ARTICLE by Mary Mohler is also a great resource, particularly if you are hoping to help your daughters understand modesty. And I recently listened to a great downloaded sermon from Dr. Pete Schimm from his Church's website. You have to scroll down to Sept. 4, 2011 to the one entitled "On Lust part 2." The entire sermon is good, but the conclusion is especially helpful when he directly addresses men, women, and teenagers practically. But if you don't have time to check out the other resources, please spend a few minutes watching this short video:

1 comment:

Aarmel said...

I couldn't agree with you more! I never truly understood the importance of modesty until having my own little boys. Now I grieve for them and the battles I know they are going to face in the coming years. Thank you for posting on such a relevant and important topic in Christian circles.

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