No Cleavage Necessary

34

October 24, 2012 by agirlikemee

Most of us have heard the phrase “modest is hottest” in regard to female modesty. For some that brings to mind colonial long sleeved dresses or turtlenecks in July humidity. Maybe others think, “that’s just what homely people say.” And for some women, it may bring up painful memories of middle school years when they were forced to wear oversized boys clothes in the name of purity.

The reality is modesty is a topic that needs to be addressed. On the flip side, focusing on modesty above all else can birth legalism, which is essentially reducing God to rules. Our acceptance, then, is based on how well we’ve followed them. The question we sometimes forget to ask is “why”. It’s much easier to follow a set of rules than to prayerfully consider why modesty holds such a high importance.

I’m sure there are many reasons some girls dress immodestly. A few I’ve heard from girls… Desire to be stylish and fit in with no intentions of alluring males. Appetite to get attention from males with the intention of self-validation. Wanting to feel beautiful and/or sexy. It’s exciting.

Regardless of the motives, there are some things that could be helpful for girls to hear from a guy’s perspective. My hope is that by glimpsing into a male’s mind, girls can get more of an understanding of why modesty is important

Genesis1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The Hebrew word “man” here is the generic term for mankind, which includes women. Then verse 27 states, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Ladies, did you get that? You are made in God’s image. Most of you have heard that a thousand times, but stop and ruminate on that truth. Females display incredible and delightful attributes of God that no other part of creation is capable of. God spoke into existence all the brilliant galaxies, hung the stars, invented the sunrise, and crafted every flower under the sun. But only after creating Adam and Eve did He step back, look at creation, and see that “it was very good.”

The fact that women have a deep desire for their beauty to be recognized and pursued is a testament to God’s desire to have His beauty be worshipped and adored. This desire to be pursued is placed in girls’ hearts by God, ultimately to be fulfilled by Himself. No guy will ever pursue you like He has and currently is. Union with our Father is the ultimate fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Being pursued by, in relationship with, and even married to “the perfect guy” is only a deficient taste of what Christ has to offer.

As believers in Christ, we have hope in God in the deepest parts of our beings. For females this means your hope is in more than in being pursued by a guy. A whole woman is one who is like a tree firmly rooted in the soil of hope that God completes her. She trusts that God knows what’s best for her. She doesn’t try to manipulate God’s timing by flaunting her body. She is confident in His love for her.

Guys who are called to be married are called to mirror Christ’s pursuit of the church in their pursuit of a woman. God’s pursuit of us isn’t based on what we can offer him (that’s good news). His pursuit of us is rooted in His deep love for us. If a girl is trying to attract a guy by helping him lust, he’s not going to pursue her like Christ pursues us, the church. He’s pursuing her as a consumer. His faithfulness will be feeble at best. This is not how God designed relationships to work.

To be up front, a lot of guys struggle with pornography. Porn addicts settle for an empty, counterfeit, one-dimensional “love” experience in which they treat women as objects… as pieces of meat. A girl dressing immodestly invites males to do the same thing with her. Forget being treated as a precious daughter of the King when guys are in this sort of mindset.

The means by which a female attracts males to herself directly correlates with both the caliber of guy she will find herself with and what is most important to the guy. For example, if a girl’s primary way of attracting a man to herself is with dressing immodestly, it shows that the most important factor to him is her body. On the flip side, guys who are searching for godly girls notice when they dress in ways that please the Lord. I know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it! God’s way is the best way… every time.

This isn’t to say girls should be ashamed of the beauty their Creator gave them. Guilt and shame are very effective behavior modifiers, but they’re unhealthy reasons to dress modestly and a sad way to live. It’s not sinful to be attractive to men. That’s kinda how it’s supposed to work and it’s going to happen without girls advertising their cleavage.

I’m blessed to have an amazing girlfriend who is beautiful in every way. Out of the overflow of her relationship with Jesus, she dresses modestly—she also happens to be quite fashionable (believe it or not, it’s possible). One way she keeps herself mindful of how she’s dressing is thinking of Jesus standing there as she walks out of her door to start the day.

I’m not here to tell you how long your skirts have to be. I’m not saying you should dress as the Amish dress or wear a full body wet suit when you go to the pool. However, I will tell you the way to attract a man of godly character: live in the fullness of Christ’s love as his daughter, and out of that fullness run after him with all your heart. There is nothing more attractive to guys who are doing the same.

34 thoughts on “No Cleavage Necessary

  1. Jessi Charron says:

    This is awesome!!!!! Brendon your going to make an amazing husband for that girl!!!!! I’m defiantly sharing this with my friends!!!! =D

  2. sarah says:

    Awesome post! I call modest, yet fasionable clothing “Christian Couture”. Anyone can show too much skin, but it takes a true woman to be mindful of how she is presenting herself. If you want a boy who is interested in more then your body, then this is a must. Nice job, Brendon! Can’t wait to see you guys in Livermore tonight!

  3. Kari says:

    Awesome Brendon :)

  4. This is really good. A lot of great points were made and there is definitely a lot to mull over from what you said. Brendon, if you ever have the opportunity to write more…take it!

    Thank you :)

  5. Brea L says:

    Here in Texas, we call it covering our “assets”. Or taking care of the 3 B’s. Back (yes, all of it), breasts, and belly. And no, I purposely don’t try and look “hot”. because men who only go for “hot” girls will leave you as soon as a prettier one comes along.
    thanks so much for saying this Brendon, these truths are being forwarded to so many of my friends who desperately need not only Godly clothes, but Godly men to tell them that.

    • fotosbytess says:

      Thanks for the post! Very insightful. I post makes me wonder one thing though: Is it wrong for a Christian to wear a bikini? In reality it isn’t that modest, but what if you arent wearing it to attract guys. Interesting anyways.

      • Marie says:

        I don’t wear bikinis mainly because it’s not that different from wearing only a bra and underwear.

        Modesty is a heart issue, but it also calls for common sense. Despite motivations for it (I do have some good friends who wear bikinis) I personally believe that you shouldn’t show off that much of your body to anyone but your husband.

  6. Morgan says:

    Glad to have stumbled across your blog. What great points you have made here! It’s so important that we remember that we are to run after Christ in every decision we make, even when it comes to the clothes we wear, the words we say. For me, I feel like the more intimate my relationship becomes with Christ, the more I began to see beauty in a different way. Great post. Following your blog now. Glad that I found it today!

  7. Julia Gregory says:

    Thank you!! Last year I was new to high school, I wanted to be loved I wanted someone to tell me I was beautiful. Someone called me ugly and fat & I ALMOST started cutting…But then I was introduced to Psalm 139 in it it says I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Man what a creator! Then at Crossings camp 2012 my small group leader told me we are beautiful no matter what. In the Bible it says all Christians represents the Temple. God’s Temple!!!!!! I started to realize I’m representing Jesus, & his Temple!! One day, I will have someone who loves me for my love for Christ!! :) ALL I need to know is Jesus’s live NEVER fails!! <3

  8. Janette says:

    Thanks for the post Brendon! I’m trying to be careful that I don’t make another fall because of what I wear. Though I don’t go out much because I’m homeshooled. I love that your girlfriend thinks that Jesus is standing right there. I should dress right all the time. Home or not. Thank you!
    Janette

  9. Lisa says:

    love this post..lots of awesome viewpoints from a guys perspective..def insightful!! thanks for posting!!

  10. Susan says:

    Thanks for the post. Good thoughts to remember!

  11. Brown Girl says:

    Hi Brendon,
    Thank you for your post on modesty. I really appreciated the following things you said:

    1. The fact that women have a deep desire for their beauty to be recognized and pursued is a testament to God’s desire to have His beauty be worshipped and adored. (Too often this is perceived as vanity.)

    2.Females display incredible and delightful attributes of God that no other part of creation is capable of.

    However, I would like to make the following points:
    1. No matter how modest a woman is with her dress, a man is ultimately responsible for his lustful thoughts or actions. The woman’s dress does not remove his guilt. I really liked what Jonalyn Fincher from Ruby Slippers states in her post on modesty: “Modesty is a two-way street, it’s not simply a virtue for women. Modesty is a signpost of a Jesus-follower…..You are responsible for what you do with your eyes, your soul, your fantasies. We cannot “save’” men from stumbling by wearing “modest” clothes. We cannot appease the women who have married men addicted to porn by covering up.”

    2. I like what you said about modesty not being legalistic. Modesty is a biblical principal that will take on a variety of forms as you move from one culture to the next. You post is title “No Cleavage Necessary.” In certain parts on the world, breasts are exposed and that is not considered immodest in those particular cultures. Most likely because unlike Western society, breasts are not viewed as erotic body parts.

    Thanks :)

  12. Sophie says:

    Thanks for blogging about this topic! It was really good reminder and reasons why I should dress modestly, and view it not just as another rule to follow. Thanks!

  13. PrairieClover says:

    I don’t agree with you at all! The way a girl dresses is HER problem not yours! Why do guys always insist on making girls fashion about the guy????? Jesus spoke to prostitutes, but he never once said to them “please go cover up before I talk to you.” I would hope Jesus would talk to me no matter what I’m wearing!
    Ladies : Yes, dress modestly, you are more then your boobs, but do it for yourself, not for some guy who can’t keep his mind out of the gutter!

    • Brown Girl says:

      Hi Prairie Clover. I agree with you. Women should do this out of obedience to God not how to get a good guy. History has demonstrated that no matter how modest you are dressed, a man can and will treat you as a sexual object. i.e. the tons of cases about street harassment and rape.

      The desire to dress modestly should come from a desire to obey God and from respect and love for yourself as a woman.

  14. Rebekah W. (there's more than one Rebekah on here) haha says:

    Well that was slightly awesome. In my church, I have to dress modest (dresses, skirts, sleeves…) But I’ve never heard it talked about like that. Very cool. Very helpful. Thank ya. :)

  15. Thank you Brendon for taking the time to write this. Modesty is such a big issue for girls these days. I dress modestly because I don’t want to lead my guy friends into sin and because I don’t want to disappoint Jesus or God. Girls everywhere NEED this message. Again thanks for writing this :) I can’t wait to see you guys in concert Friday night!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Diane Blog says:

    Reblogged this on diane96singpraise's Blog and commented:
    This goes out to all the girls who need a check in the mirror (we all do from time to time) and all the guys who could use a little Godly advice written fron a guy’s point of view (even though its really to an audience of girls). Hope everyone learns something and gets a new perspective on life!!! :)

  17. Rehema says:

    I love this. A portrate of pure thoughts and intentions. Let God be our designer.

  18. anniebullard says:

    Wow, that was fantastic! Right on!

  19. Shelby says:

    Just a short comment: at my campus ministry, we use “modesty scarves.” It is sort of a joke, but so true. We can accessorize and feel confident, while still covering up. Over time, I actually have become uncomfortable with dressing immodestly.

  20. Brea L says:

    Hey gals, read “Good girls don’t have to dress bad” by Shari Braendel. Amazing Godly lady who knows fashion, and also knows that skin isn’t “in”.

  21. PrairieClover says:

    I can’t leave this alone especially because it has been re-blogged and re-posted several times. There are flaws through out your whole post. Here’s a few:

    “The means by which a female attracts males to herself directly correlates with both the caliber of guy she will find herself with and what is most important to the guy.” So when Hosea married the prostitute Gomer by your way of thinking we are to believe that Hosea was a lesser man and only after her body? Not a picture of the love Christ has for his bride? It doesn’t matter if you believe this story is an image or if it really happened or if Gomer was a prostitute before during or after the marriage, the point is that Hosea loved her despite all her issues.

    “If a girl is trying to attract a guy by helping him lust, he’s not going to pursue her like Christ pursues us, the church.” I’m sorry but the way I dress does not “help” anyone lust, we are all responsible for what our own hands touch!

    The biggest problem that I have with posts like these is that they all say/request the same thing. “Hey ladies please dress modestly because when you don’t it leads me down a path of sin. ”

    Why can a guy for once just stand up and simply apologize. Period. Not make any request for girls to somehow try to be different in a sex filled world, just apologize. Every one of these sermons comes with some form of the line “lets face it guy struggle with porn.” But then it ends there. Great, I’m glad that we got that out in the open but WHERE is the guy who will stand up and say “Ladies, girls, women, I’m sorry that my struggle with porn has contributed to viewing you like an object, and making your beauty something to lust after.”

    Do you have any idea the turmoil girls go through over how they dress? Is this too modest? Is this too sexy? Is this too… fill in the blank. I once met a girl who was so wrapped up in these issues she had an eating disorder and things came to a head when she was trying to decide if she should give her self completely over to the eating disorder and die or live. She was fighting for her life and some how she’s supposed to remember to dress modestly in her fight for her life!!!!

    Please, Please Please, this goes out to all men who would like women to dress modestly. Just own up to your part of the problem and leave the changing of the dress to the women!

    • Sarah says:

      PrairieClover,

      I totally agree with you to a point. I agree that sometimes it’s easy to point fingers, and blame others for the way that you struggle. You do have a responsibility to keep your thought life in check. However, I don’t think modesty is just about the guys. I think it’s for our benefit too.

      Look at it this way, I’ve always been a fairly modest person. Not only out of my own spiritual conviction, but also because of my own body issues. I never dated in high school, and I married the first guy I had a relationship with. The truth is, my friends that put themselves out there physically– in dress or action got the most attention from the guys. It’s true. While at times I struggled with loneliness, I didn’t struggle with break-up’s and make up’s every 5 seconds, I didn’t feel taken advantage of because of what I could give a man visually or otherwise. When I met my husband, he had to get to know me. I never questioned if he was with me just because of how I looked. My husband respected me.

      I know it sounds cleche, but guys (and some girls# ARE wired differently. I can see a hot guy, and not give it a second thought. #but quick note to the guys, sometimes your skinny jeans are TOO skinny, and that can be a problem too# My husband, however explained it like a mental filing cabinet. Once you see it, it’s hard to get it out of your head. And while he’s an amazing husband, that loves God, and loves me, it IS a struggle.

      Knowing that makes me mindful of how I’m presenting myself. Modesty isn’t all about how you dress, it’s a heart issue. I wear tank tops, and shorts, but I’m careful about how revealing they are. I wouldn’t want my husband checking someone out because they’re showing too much, and I don’t want anyone elses husband checking me out because I’m showing too much. The point is intention. Some guys are going to struggle no matter what you wear. They will think about you in a sexual way. If I can look great, and not have to worry about causing someone to think about me that way because I’m putting it all out there, I see it as a win-win!

      As for being obsessed with it. That’s unhealthy. I don’t fret over it, I’m just mindful about it #and not perfect). There are lots of spiritual things people get hung up on that can cause issues. It’s not what God wants. He wants us to be free from bondage. If taking an extra minute to think about what I’m wearing allows someone else to be free of a thought they don’t want, then it’s worth it to me. It allows me to be free to receive the right kind of love and attention, and still look nice.

      Don’t think that you’re alone in how you’re feeling, it’s normal to be frustrated by issues like this because there is not a clean-cut way to handle it! You’re not alone! We are loved no matter how we look or how we’re dressed, and because of who we are, we should be loved and cared for by the Christian guys in our life. I just really believe that the reality is we can cause issues for them, and ourselves.

    • David says:

      Try it this way. You don’t invite a friend who is a recovering alcoholic to a wine tasting at your house. Rather than focusing on your ‘right’ to wear what you want, be mindful of others who might stumble because of you. Yup, if your alcoholic friend gets drunk at your event and drives off an kills himself, it is his fault. But you don’t have to make it easy for him.

  22. eyesovvboulder says:

    This is so good! I’m a college student, and with Halloween right around the corner, I’ve been trying to find a costume that is fun and costume-party worthy, but all the internet advertises for women anymore are barely-there costumes!
    When I was in high school, it was only natural to try to fit this image. It’s amazing to take a step back and see just how sad it is that girls are chasing after love in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways when they are already so loved by God!
    I personally believe He created us to look exactly as we are.
    This post is perfect! I especially love “This desire to be pursued is placed in girls’ hearts by God, ultimately to be fulfilled by Himself. No guy will ever pursue you like He has and currently is. Union with our Father is the ultimate fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).”
    Thanks so much for your words, and I hope they continue to inspire women and girls, and even men to become closer to God!

  23. ria says:

    no one’s ever written about modesty like this..makes me really feel the importance of modesty.

  24. clairebilyeu says:

    Reblogged this on my pursuit of happiness and commented:
    Every lady should read this. :)

  25. starbelay says:

    Reblogged this on Christianity and Fashion and commented:
    The following blog post makes an interesting point.
    “Guys who are called to be married are called to mirror Christ’s pursuit of the church in their pursuit of a woman. God’s pursuit of us isn’t based on what we can offer him (that’s good news). His pursuit of us is rooted in His deep love for us. If a girl is trying to attract a guy by helping him lust, he’s not going to pursue her like Christ pursues us, the church. He’s pursuing her as a consumer. His faithfulness will be feeble at best. This is not how God designed relationships to work”
    But does this mean that we now claim that physical attraction plays no part/ shouldn’t play any part in Christian relationships?
    Another interesting statement-
    “if a girl’s primary way of attracting a man to herself is with dressing immodestly, it shows that the most important factor to him is her body. On the flip side, guys who are searching for godly girls notice when they dress in ways that please the Lord. I know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it! God’s way is the best way… every time.”
    In my research and interviews with Christian women, one thing I’ve become more and more convinced by is the fact that it’s not really clear what it means to “dress in ways that please the Lord.” There are either extremes, but often times, there is a grey area in the middle where there isn’t a clear line…

  26. Jessica says:

    Lots of food for thought here for me. Thanks.

  27. Tiffany says:

    Yet another article about how God is only happy if girls are uncomfortable with their bodies, and how men have no control over their thoughts and actions. Not a lot of men are “addicted” to porn, and watching it occasionally isn’t an addiction, not to mention that a lot of women watch porn too, but no one ever bothers to tell men to be modest. Where’s the article that addresses male immodesty?…which is usually for no other purpose than to make women lust after them. Bodies are bodies. God technically created us to be naked all the time and to appreciate our bodies, so if we can’t be loving and appreciative of our bodies, could we at least start to address the fact that this is not a one-sided patriarchal issue? This is the kind of attitude that unintentionally supports rape culture. Or, on a less extreme note, the kind of attitude that makes it okay for people to say or assume things like “Oh, well maybe he would have stayed with you if you didn’t dress like such a slut.” and “Well he obviously wasn’t with you for your mind.” (Things that I’ve heard women say to each other AT church.) Women can be sexy and awesome and pure all at the same time, and so can men, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We shouldn’t be held responsible for other people’s “addictions.” You wouldn’t say that because some people have eating disorders, no one should ever diet or exercise because that encourages the bad habits of a few.

    • agirlikemee says:

      Tiffany,
      I think you may be missing the point here. Brendon wasn’t trying to place the blame solely on women. This is a blog for girls, and we asked him to share his view of modesty from a male perspective. He is not saying that women are the sole bearers of blame, but just as much as men need to own up to their part, women need to own up to theirs. Yes, men do look at porn and have addictions, however, the images they are looking at are of women who (most of which) have chosen to display themselves to men in that manner. The man is responsible for looking, BUT the woman is responsible for presenting herself that way. You cannot accuse one without pointing the finger back at yourself.

      In the realms of looking at porn, I’d ask you to consider if your view of this is truly biblical. If you go to the month of september on our blog, you’ll see we did a whole series on sex and even covered masturbation and porn addiction in women.

      I agree that women and men can be sexy, but I would ask, what does “sexy” even mean in view of scripture and what it says. All in all, I would encourage you to pause, seek the Lord and His word and really ask yourself where he wants to work in YOUR heart before we cast the blame onto others.

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