01 Jul Episode 2: Modesty: How do I balance modern styles with timeless biblical principles?
July 1, 2020 | Susie Rock (Interview with Caryn Hazzard)
Happy Canada Day, everyone! So glad you could join us for this very important but controversial conversation today. The topic we’ve chosen for today is: “How do I balance modern styles with biblical principles that are timeless?” As you can imagine, this conversation often triggers some emotional response and sometimes even some defensiveness, so I always enter this conversation very carefully. Because it requires such an emotional response, I’m also very aware that this is a conversation that needs to continue to happen. I recently read a quote that said, “The more you fear a conversation, the more probable it is that you should have that conversation.” So, we’re going to talk about some very important things today and we know that as God’s representatives, we want to be holy as He is holy. I’m going to go to 1 Peter 1:13-16 which says, Therefore, preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘you shall be holy for I am holy.’ In fact, we should make sure that in our sexuality we are very holy. I actually like the term holiness better than purity, because holiness actually inspires awe. Not awe of myself, but awe of God. Just like the psalmist says in Psalm 99:3, Let them praise Your great and awesome name. Holy is He. When we recognize that everything that God has told us to do is a call to be holy, we’re going to try and point holiness back to God in everything that we do. That includes going to the beach, going out for the evening, or when we’re going to the gym. I have Caryn here with me today. Super glad that she could join us. Caryn has a passion for pointing people to God. She loves women. She actually leads the mentoring ministry at our church and she really likes to help women pursue purity in this crazy world out there. Caryn, I’m going to be asking you some questions that will be very relevant for the women that are listening today. We’re just going to get right into it.
Susie: Caryn, I’m just wondering, for the Christian woman that actually says, “I want to be modest. I want to be pure, but I don’t even know how to go out and find a bathing suit that would be appropriate,” what advice could you give her?
Caryn: Okay, so the first thing that I want to kind of mention is everyone always says that they can’t find a modest bathing suit. The thing is, modest bathing suits aren’t going to be popular so you’re not going to find them for $5 at the same store where you buy your accessories, but they are out there. So what I usually mention to people is to actually go to stores that offer bathing suits in a wide variety of sizes and body types. This is going to allow you to find something that probably fits your body rather than just fits the stick figure. Then, once I have that, I put the bathing suit on in front of a mirror. I bend over. I do jumping jacks. I turn around and I actually even go as far as to take a picture of myself so that I can see what other people would see if I was wearing this bathing suit. So that’s kind of my go-to when trying on, and then I always want to direct people to certain stores that I know have really good quality. Joe Fresh has really good quality, really great prices. But then if you’re looking for online, places like June Loop. It’s a family, female-run company and they make really modest bathing suits that are meant to be active in. So if you’re going to go to a pool party and play beach volleyball, you can jump around without worrying about things falling out of your shirt. The one thing I do want to say about that is, modest bathing suits are often a little bit more pricey, but you have to remember that you’re paying for more fabric. So it makes more sense that it’s not just going to be $5 or $10. But if you’re used to spending $5 or $10 on a tiny itty bitty bikini, save that money up, instead of buying multiple throughout the summer, buy one really great priced great quality swimsuit.
Susie: Good, that’s some excellent advice there. I can’t say I’ve ever done the jumping jacks, but you know-
Caryn: I’ve done the jumping jacks.
Susie: I’m impressed! That’s really good. So, what about this one? For the mom or the mentor who is wanting to invest in her teenage daughter, and her teenage daughter says, “What’s the big deal about bikinis or even yoga pants? Everybody wears them.”
Caryn: Okay, so I’m going to start with bikinis since we were just talking about bathing suits. So we wouldn’t find it appropriate to be in our bra and underwear and walk out down the street. That would be awkward. It would be really uncomfortable. But yet, we somehow think that it’s appropriate to wear that same amount of clothing to the pool, and it’s not. Our bodies are first God’s, and second our husband’s or our future husband’s. So if you’re going to swim in a bikini, you’re actually allowing strangers to look at the most intimate parts of you, the parts that are supposed to be a blessing for your future husband. So no. No to that. Next, yoga pants. Okay, like you said, this one’s a little delicate. So yoga pants were actually designed for when you’re exercising. They were designed to be doing those deep stretches without having to worry about your pants falling down mid lunge. But that’s not often what they’re worn for anymore. They’re worn now as pants and they’re not meant to be worn when you’re not exercising. They’re not everyday pants because they emphasize your butt, which draws everyone’s attention right there. Even at the gym when you’re wearing those yoga pants, when you’re wearing those tight fitted pants, try to wear a longer shirt so that it’s covering your little round bottom, so that it’s not drawing people’s eyes there. And sadly, tights are the same way. They are designed to be worn under clothes and not to be worn as pants. So my question here would be, what are your motives in wanting to wear the bikinis and the yoga pants? Is it to show off what you’ve got? Likely, I would really encourage that mom or that mentor to really tackle the heart issue here. So, why do they feel that they need to show off those parts of their body? Why do they feel like everyone else is doing it? We’re called to be set apart from the world, we’re not called to be like the world. So as a godly woman, our motive should be not to draw attention to ourselves, but ultimately to direct people back to Christ.
Susie: Absolutely. Great reminder. Absolutely true. Very good. I think that’s very helpful for people who are trying to talk to their young girls about this. So, what would you say are some timeless biblical principles that anybody of any age can put into practice when they’re going to the gym or the beach or even just out for the evening?
Caryn: I wrote some of those down here that I wanted to go over. So, the one thing I always want to direct people back to is what our mission is as Christians. And it’s to glorify God through the great commission and make disciples. So the great commission in Matthew 28 says, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. So when you’re getting dressed for anything, whether it’s the gym, the pool, I want you to be asking yourself these three questions:
- Does this outfit glorify God? If Christ came back and I was wearing this outfit, would I feel any shame or want to go and change? Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
- If I were wearing this and someone asked me about my faith, would I be comfortable leading them to Christ? 1 Peter 3:15 says, always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.
- Do I care more about my Heavenly Father and how He sees me, or current fashion trends? Romans 13:14 says, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.
So these principles help me to kind of reel in my wardrobe choices. I go through them. Is this glorifying to God? Would I be able to share my faith when I’m wearing this, and do I care more about what my Heavenly Father thinks of me or what other fashion trends say I should be wearing? Then, I also have some really trusted friends that if I’m really concerned about if this outfit is modest or not, I call them. I send them a picture. I ask even my husband. Like, is this is this okay? Jump around. Is this okay for me to be wearing in public? And that really helps, having those older godly people or even peers that you know have the same standards that you do to bounce that off of. Ask them, “Is this appropriate for the pool party we’re about to go to? Is this appropriate to wear to church or to the gym?”
Susie: Good. That’s really good advice because we do need people in our lives that are willing to speak the truth to us, right? And we want to be humble enough to ask that question and then also to receive the feedback that they’re giving us. So, really good stuff. Thank you so much, Caryn. So glad you could join us. And my prayer is that the biggest takeaway for all of us is that we want to be holy as God is holy and we want to be in awe of Him and inspire others to be in awe of him as well. So I hope this has been helpful for you. We’d love to have you join in our online chat afterwards if you have any more questions or just want to discuss some more please join us there and next week we’ll be talking more with Caryn about pursuing purity in a sex-saturated world.
1. What is your mission, in your every-day life, in everything you do?
2. How does your clothing hinder or help your mission? How are you either encouraged or convicted?
3. What is your main take-away from this discussion?
4. What characteristic of God do you need to cling to, in order to represent Him well, in your choice of clothing? Pick a verse to remind you, and try memorizing it.
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