I saw you at the pool today walking with your friend. Your body barely filling out the teeny tiny string bikini you were modeling during your numerous walks around the pool grounds.
I saw you at the party walking ever so gingerly and carefully in your oh so high heels and itty bitty little shorts. You were afraid to move the wrong way because there was no room for error with the height of your shorts and the depth of your shirt.
I saw you hanging out with your friends. Your bra straps and cleavage taking up more space on your body than the teeny tiny “shirt” you had on. Skin tight pants with an obvious thong…there was nothing left to the imagination.
I saw you…my boys saw you. I imagine any male, young or old, saw you and took notice.
You were made for so much more than this.
I do not write this with a finger waving at you in the air. I do not write this thumping my Bible and preaching to you. I do not write to you to cast blame or judgment. I write to you to tell you that you are beautiful. You are treasured and created in beauty. You are fairer than diamonds, more precious than the finest gems. You are a masterpiece of the Lord, created just the way He wanted you to be, crafted by His hand. You are like no other. You are special, unique. Your are beautiful.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. Psalms 139:14
I wish that I could run up to you and look at you in the eyes and tell you that your beauty goes far beyond outward appearances. Beauty is something within. It’s a comfort in being you. It is a feeling that exudes from a woman who knows that she is a child of the Lord and that her true value comes from Him. Beauty actually has very little to do with a pretty face or a nice body. Beauty goes much deeper. It is found in a quiet, tender spirit. Take away the fancy clothes, pretty hair, lovely make-up, and sparkling jewelry, and see that beauty is still to be found.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment… . Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:3-4
True beauty has little to do with appearances.
I was recently food shopping and found myself stuck behind an older gentleman. He was likely in his late 50’s or early 60’s, and with each aisle we traveled, I watched his head turn and his eyes survey many young women. There was one commonality in the women he took the time to check out. They were all barely dressed. Not surprisingly, very short skirts, spandex pants, tiny tanks, and barely there shorts were to his liking. His motions were very obvious and his gaze lingered in an eerie way. I also noticed that there were some women who escaped his glance all together. They must have been “ugly”, right? Not so. Those equally attractive women were dressed in loosely fitting shirts, modest skirts, or knee length shorts. They weren’t hanging out of their shirts or barely dressed. This man had no interest in modesty. He sought to disrespect and get a free peep from women with questionable attire. It was completely nauseating.
You are worth so much more than the wandering gaze of that strange man.
I hope you realize that this is not a call for you to wear turtlenecks and floor length skirts or to have your hair in a bun and to throw away your lipstick. Not at all. It is a challenge for you to think about why you dress the way you do. Are you looking for attention? Do you want to feel sexy? Trying to fit in with your friends? Wanting to get the attention of a specific boy? Looking for ways to intentionally challenge your parents? I can’t answer those questions for you.
Please know that I can relate to you. During the first two years of college (when I was young and thin), I absolutely found power in a low cut shirt and a tight pair of jeans. I found that I could turn heads, meet guys, and get attention. I also found out that the guys who were interested in my low cut shirts and tight jeans really had no interest in getting to know me for me. I gave the impression by my choice of clothing that I was an easy pick-up. I wasn’t interested in casual hook-ups; I was looking for a relationship. Thankfully the Lord opened my eyes and showed me that He valued me and was actually interested in a relationship with me. I found worth and the freedom to just be me in Christ alone.
I want you to know that there are parents who are raising their teenage boys to respect you. They are being taught that your true value is not found in your outward appearance, where beauty can change and fade, but instead they are being taught to look for inward beauty, in your heart and mind. They are being taught that a lady’s first love should be the Lord, as should theirs. They are being taught to steer clear of temptation or anything that will cause them to stumble or fall. They are being taught that you are more than just a pretty face or a nice body. They are being taught that they are accountable to the Lord for the way they treat you. I hope and pray that they follow what they’ve heard and what the Bible says, just as I hope that you will do the same.
There are young men who are being taught to love and respect you and to appreciate the beauty of a modest young woman.
I pray that you will realize the great love your Heavenly Father has for you. I hope that you realize what true beauty is. My desire for you is to respect yourself enough to think about the way you dress. Think about why you dress the way you do. Please know that there are young men who are being taught to value you for who you are. Seek them out. Wait for them. Don’t compromise yourself.
This post was first featured on Life in the Van.
21 thoughts on “A Letter To Christian Teenage Girls About Modesty From A Mother of Three Teenage Boys”
A very balanced and beautiful view but when I see modesty and the scriptures it never means what we are taught it means. Yes it does mean to dress appropriately but Rachel Held-Evans wrote this:
In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, the apostle Paul writes “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” The Greek word translated “modesty” here is kosmios. Derived from kosmos (the universe), it signifies orderliness, self-control and appropriateness. It appears only twice in the New Testament, and interestingly, its second usage refers specifically to men (1 Timothy 3:2). In fact, nearly all of the Bible’s instructions regarding modest clothing refer not to sexuality, but rather materialism (Isaiah 3:16-23, 1 Timothy 2:9-12, 1 Peter 3:3). Writers in both the Old Testament and New Testament express grave concern when the people of God flaunt their wealth by buying expensive clothes and jewelry while many of their neighbors suffered in poverty. (Ironically, I’ve heard dozens of sermons about keeping my legs and my cleavage out of sight, but not one about ensuring my jewelry was not acquired through unjust or exploitive trade practices—which would be much more in keeping with biblical teachings on modesty.)
And so biblical modesty isn’t about managing the sexual impulses of other people; it’s about cultivating humility, propriety and deference within ourselves.
Just sharing, thanks for the article, I have learned not to over dress in church so as not to make others feel their attire isn’t worthy of “church clothes”. God bless, andrea
I agree that dressing modestly is not about managing the sexual impulses of others. Ultimately every young man (or any man) is responsible for their reactions to and thoughts of any woman. Our boys are taught that regardless of what a woman may choose to wear, they are to show nothing but respect. It is then their responsibility to keep their thoughts in check. My big question here, which I posed, was what is the thinking behind some of the clothing that young, Christian girls choose. When Paul is writing he is using modesty in the sense that the outward adornment or dress should not be a distraction to others, specifically in worship. Thanks for you insight!
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I love how you are raising your boys to be respectful of women.
Let’s just say we’re trying! We’re not bringing up robots; they will ultimately do what they will do, but at least they’ve heard what’s right and seen their dad treat their momma well!
This was beautiful. I love how you called out the heart of the matter in a nonjudgmental tone. As a young woman, I wish I would have realized that the clothes I wore were just a deep cry for attention. I wish I would have understood then that that cry can only be answered by Jesus. And I hope when my bitty girl is grown, she will be wiser and more aware than I was. Thanks for sharing!
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You will certainly be able to use your own experiences to help guide your daughter. God wastes none of our experiences. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.
Thanks for a fantastic post! beckielindsey16.com
Thanks for popping over!
Dressing modestly does not keep men from leering, lusting, or acting inappropriately, as is suggested in your post.
As a parent of both a teenage girl and teenage boy, I have to say I don’t worry about what others look like at the pool. Maybe it is because I have one of each but I honestly don’t worry about what my son sees at the pool. If I really did, I guess I would keep him at home.
As I stated in my post, my biggest question is the “Why” behind why some young girls dress the way they do. It is certainly not the responsibility of any woman to try to control the thoughts or actions of a man. But as a friend with a teen girl told me, some girls do not realize actually who is gazing at them. Ultimately, a man is responsible and accountable for his thoughts and actions and his respect or lack there of for any woman. There are men who lust, and you are right, appropriate dress will not eliminate that. The whole lusting part is another topic that I will likely address down the road. Our society has been bombarded by inappropriate dress: billboards, the back of buses, tv ads, websites, magazines….I could go on and on. It is a woman’s prerogative to dress as she wishes; I am again interested in the why, the heart, behind those choices.
I just started blogging and I love the points you made here! my blog is really my online christian teenager journal sort of, but I would love it if you would check it out!
Thanks for stopping by. I write as a way of sharing my thoughts with my kids in the later years. It’s a kind of a record of what I am thinking right now. Keep on writing!
Coming from a teenage girl, this post really hit home. I always thought being told to “dress modestly” was so teenage boys don’t get excited and lose control. I used to get so mad, and so angry – why should I cover myself because some boys can’t control themselves, but I realised that it’s to do with loving myself! And to know that I am valuable and fearfully and wonderfully made, and I don’t need to ‘flaunt’ myself to show that, but modesty and confidence radiates more than flesh! Also my body is a temple of God! And I should treat it as such.
You are an inspiration and I truly hope your son’s appreciate this too!
I respect women like you, for also teaching their boys to respect women too. So thank you. May God bless you and your boys!
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Well, thanks for making my day today! Worth and value and beauty have everything to do with the inner you and with how God sees you!
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Aw! No thank you, honestly ! And that’s so true, I wish that a) I learnt that sooner and b) more girls knew this !
I do not know Greek nor Hebrew. I am for the empowerment of women, but I think that one thing that women have fallen prey to is the thought that equality and empowerment can be expressed by lack of modesty. If you truly think about it, men’s attire as a whole is more modest then women’s attire. Yes, they can wear tight tank tops, and yes, very rarely, I see short shorts on a man, however, comparatively speaking their attire is more modest than ours, if you are walking down the street observing men and women in any country. During warm months, I see women with shorts barely below their bottom, and tops that reveal the outline of their nipples and cleavage. Comparatively speaking, I do not see men wearing shorts that expose their bottom or much Lycra type material that expose the shape of their genitals, and to be honest I don’t see a whole lot of ribbed skin tight tank tops on men. If we live in a patriarchal society where we want equality in the workplace, I don’t think this is the way to attain it. Oh, I’m sexually liberated, I’m a feminist, no you are objectifying yourself, those attracted to women are not going to listen to you, if you are talking about calculus or the sculpture you created because they are distracted by your cleavage or your barely there shorts. “Well, they should take me seriously anyway, it’s not my responsibility to control them.” Well, no but get real! You are half naked, and have a nice body, and the person you are talking to likes women, so yes they are thinking of you sexually, not she’s attractive, oh she’s pretty, but more sexual thoughts about your body parts that you are displaying. Our teen girls have been sold this idea of equality through showing my body. I always say “Well, honey, if men rule the world, how many biker shorts and see thru tops do you see them wearing, oh hardly any, well, then perhaps you should do the same, if you want equality in the workplace.” Also, if we are to accept the Great Commission of proselytizing constantly through words or deeds, EVERY Christian, then if our body parts are on display, it interferes with converting others and spreading the word through our words or deeds which we are to do constantly as Christians as Jesus commanded through the Great Commission. I applaud your post on modesty, please continue to encourage our young women to be beautiful, modest women of God, as we are to be.
This was a wonderfully written article. As an eighteen year old girl headed into ministry overseas and writing on my blog (and hopefully books) I love to see this viewpoint out there. Thank you for writing this.
So glad you popped over! Modesty can be a real sensitive subject. Keep writing and sharing!
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You are very welcome! Oh, definitely! Thank you 🙂