It has been years since we’ve come to the beach during the summer season. We usually try to go in the fall to much less built up and more secluded beaches. As we crossed the bridge into Ocean City, Maryland, the small town girl in me began to cower inside. This may show my lack of comfort with city life, but to see a skyline at the beach intimidates me. As do the strong accents that surround me and the lack of conversation with the people in the elevators or next to us on the beach. No offense my northern friends, but give me my southern shores of North Carolina any day over this!
Something else that intimidates me is the beautiful people in their less that modest swimwear. I knew I would struggle with body image before we got here. My body has gone through a lot of trauma over the past year, and the chemo has aged me in many ways. As I walk down the beach with my husband, there is flesh everywhere. Beautiful people in beautiful bodies, and I want to grab his hand and pull him away, running far from the assault of nudity that surrounds us. The selfish part of me says I do not want him to see what I do not have. The part of me that loves him doesn’t want him to see what could make him struggle. Yet as much as I hate it for him, I am so thankful that he struggles rather than just allowing the culture to take hold of his soul.
I’ve thought a lot about modesty these past weeks as I’ve watched Audrey and joked about how in 10 years we’ll lock her in a closet and never let her out. Even baby girls’ clothing is not exempt from immodesty. How is this possible? I’ve looked around on a Sunday morning at church and wondered “How are we any different?” Not that we need to sacrifice style or modern trends for modesty, but how do we include modesty in our fashion rather than succumbing to the culture? I am shocked at the amount of cleavage that shows up on a Sunday morning, much less anywhere else. As Sophie writes so eloquently, women are “taking their sexy to Sunday School.” And I’ll add to that how our teens are bringing their sexy to youth group, and it makes me ask questions. What are we teaching our children? What messages are we sending to our men? Where are the parents in our children’s lives?
I look around and I find myself getting angry. Angry at our culture and at the lack of respect women have for their bodies and for men. Angry at the lies of Satan that the less we have on the more attractive we are. Angry at a culture that teaches our girls that fashion is a two-piece swimsuit that you have to stuff everything back into every time you move, but “hey, you look good!” Angry at how sin has affected our world so much and how Christians are buying into it. Angry because I want to protect my husband’s eyes and heart and mind, and yet even Christian circles aren’t safe… full of women and teenagers who parade around in essentially their underwear in front of men. Not caring about the impact it has. Not respecting my husband or the husbands of so many others.
Rather than being angry, though, I must choose to go to God and to pray. Pray against a judgmental and legalistic heart. Pray for protection for the heart of my husband. And pray for a world that would turn their hearts back to Him.
Over at Allaccess, Sophie has a great post about modesty that I highly recommend. Read the responses, too, because her post generated a lot of “conversation”. It’s always interesting to me to read and hear other views on this topic. A topic that is not so black and white as some make it, but also not so gray as many others claim. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with being sensitive to others than with crying for our rights and liberty? I also highly recommend the book Christian Modesty And The Public Undressing Of America by Jeff Pollard. It makes you think, and ya’ll know I love books that make me think. Better yet, it makes me pray, and I am praying hard today for my husband, for my brother and father, for all those men who must daily undergo the assault to their visual senses that we women throw at them. And I am praying for a heart that isn’t critical but rather seeks to honor God in my actions and attitudes. May He alone be glorified!
Leave a Reply