The kids and I were geared up and ready to go swimming…in the kiddie pool in the backyard. My husband made a strangled noise as we walked by him.
“You’re wearing that, outside?”
“Yeah, the boys and I are swimming!”
“Well, the neighbors a couple houses over are outside and they’re having a party or something.”
“Do you think maybe you should change?”
At this point, I was annoyed that my husband wasn’t excited about me wearing a swimsuit (tankini style). Goodness, I hadn’t worn one for years, before I had kids. I took the opportunity to actually look in the mirror. And he was right. So out came the t-shirt and yoga pants. And we all went outside to enjoy the nice weather.
Now, before anyone gets upset and starts screaming “body shaming,” let me clarify. My husband was right, I looked good, too good. Where the suit nicely covered my body before, it was accentuating. If I had taken the time to look, I would have changed of my own accord. Two little kids excited to get out don’t leave you much time or brain capacity to give much consideration when changing up your outfits. I’m glad I have a husband who loves and seeks to protect me. My intention is not get attention. It’s enough for me to know that I’m appealing to my husband.
The world encourages us to seek attention, which is in our human nature, but things have gone a step further with our bodies. We’re told that it doesn’t matter. Our culture is so oversaturated with images of scantily clad women (and men) selling products. You can hardly turn your head in the supermarket aisles but to see skin walking among you or lining the shelves.
Do you want men to look, and you dress in a way that’s sure to turn heads? Let me say this, they will look. Paul indicates that women should be self controlled in their dress (1 Timothy 2:9). So what is self control? It is a fruit of the spirit, there is no law against it, and it is freeing (Galatians 5). And you are not only vulnerable, you’ve already lost the battle if you lack it:
Like a city whose walls are broken through
is a person who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
Then how are we to dress in our freedom? We are to use our freedom in dress as we do every other freedom from God, in service to Him (1 Peter 2:16). Self control and modesty are not chains that keep us from expressing ourselves, they are the keys that free us and those around us to look beyond the outward appearance. The flesh is a barrier that blinds others from our true self. My value, your value is not based on a seconds-long assessment of your sex appeal.