A Closet Without Conformity

A Closet Without Conformity

by the setapartgirl Team | November 1, 2012

“It’s too hard to find anything modest within my budget” 

“If I didn’t have such long legs, maybe I’d be able to find a skirt that covers my knees.”

“Well, at least I’m dressing more modestly than most girls my age.”

“But it’s the only top I have that matches my favorite skirt.”

“I’m just going to be hanging out with girls, so it doesn’t matter if I’m showing more skin.”

And the list goes on.  As women, we have a tendency to come up with a plethora of “reasonable” excuses as to why we can’t rise to a higher standard when it comes to the way we dress. For some reason, we think that as long as we are wearing more modest fashions than most, then it is not necessary to give any more thought to the matter. However, we are commanded in Romans 12:2, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” God’s pattern for His children is completely separate the ways of the world, but we must be willing to yield to the Spirit’s conviction (even at the cost of seeming inconvenience), and refuse to make any excuse that would hinder us from living to the highest standard–Jesus Christ. 

All of us on the setapartgirl team have experienced the conviction of the Lord in this area of our lives. We would like to share with you some of the ways God has challenged us to raise the bar rather than continuing to allow the world’s approach to shape our mind-set, choices, and purchases. 

Here’s what the team has to say…

Q: What seemingly small habits or tendencies has God convicted you about as you take steps forward to apply the set-apart life to the way you dress?

Amelia:

When I was in my late teens, I had some shirts that sported “rips” or holes in the sleeves or on the shoulder. They weren’t what you would ordinarily consider “immodest,” and I reasoned that I would wear sleeveless shirts that would show my whole arm, so how could these possibly be wrong? But I’ve learned that when it comes to modesty, it isn’t just about how much skin you’re not showing – it’s what you’re saying with what you’re wearing. I realized that wearing shirts with holes in the sleeves or shoulder had a sort of teasing effect and was really not that much different from wearing something low-cut. Showing only a glimpse of skin was actually more distracting for guys than if I had just been wearing a sleeveless shirt. 

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Mandy:

Happy memories were accompanied by a pinch of dismay as I flipped through family photo albums during my last visit home. Pictures from my early teenage years captured a naïvely-dressed Mandy showcasing straps galore! I had been mindless in my clothing choices, and to be honest, I thought very little of straps peeking out-of-bounds. As God moved upon my heart, I began to see the unseemliness of what I thought of as “no big deal.” Setting foot on the narrow path has taught me to embrace the conviction of His Spirit and joyfully submit to His jealous guardianship over every area of my life. 

Madison:

There have been periods in my life when my wardrobe has undergone some “refining.” I am in the ongoing process of being conformed into His image. One example of this work in progress involved a few of my skirts. They were a little above my knee, and had I chosen to only stand in them, they would have stayed just above my knee; but any time I sat down, these skirts inched their way higher. God began to convict me of this, and He made it clear that such skirts were not honoring to Him and did not hold to the highest standards of modesty and virtue. I was reminded that the life that I was living was not my own, that it had been bought with a price (the precious blood of Jesus), and that all of me belonged to Jesus. 

Lauren:

Before I surrendered my life to Jesus, I very wrongly found self-justification in the fact that I didn’t wear pants. Many times, I looked down in judgment on other young women because they did wear pants. I somehow felt that wearing only skirts and dresses made me more holy and pleasing in His sight, though, in reality, nothing could have been farther from the truth! Dear sisters, it is not what you wear or don’t wear that saves you – Jesus and Jesus alone saves you! At the same time, this does not mean that you can wear whatever you want; Scripture is very clear that we are to walk after Christ in holiness and purity. However, true holiness is the covering of Jesus Christ, and purity is the outflow of a heart that seeks to glorify Him in all things, whatever the cost.

Q: Was there anything that made it difficult to heed this conviction and put effort into making the change?

Amelia:

It’s really ironic how you can know deep down inside that what you’re wearing doesn’t measure up to the standard you should be living, but you still make excuses for it. I had liked those shirts because they showed off just a little bit of skin, and I knew that I would get attention from other people by wearing them. During this process, God also had to strip me of pride and my desire to gain approval from others. He taught me to seek His approval above all and reflect Him in the way I dressed.

A short time after the Lord convicted me of this (and He used my mother as a mouthpiece), I saw a younger girl wearing a shirt that was identical to one I had once wore. Seeing it on someone younger really opened my eyes to what that style of top was saying and how immodest it really was. I have since made it my goal to keep in mind all the younger girls who will see me and may imitate what I wear. If I wouldn’t want my little sister to wear it, then I shouldn’t  wear it either! />

Madison:

The skirts had to go. Unfortunately, as I look back at this, I can’t say I threw them away immediately. One of the skirts was made up of a patchwork material I loved. I didn’t want to part with it, so I allowed it to hang around in my closet longer than I should have. God makes it clear in His Word that when He points out an area of our lives that is not right, we are to obey without hesitation. Skirts do not mean more to me than my precious Savior, but holding on to them when God had clearly told me they had to go sent the message that they did. As I sought God in this area, He faithfully showed me His pattern – and He will do the same for you!

Mandy:

As I began walking more closely with the Lord, I heard Him calling me to a higher standard in the way I dressed. The major challenge I faced was the tireless search for concealing, yet stylish clothing. For a time, I resolved to the modern “straptastic” solutions. However, over time I learned that jerry-rigging straps to keep them concealed does not necessarily make the clothing choice modest. Rather than concocting my own solutions, I have learned to simply trust the One who gives in abundance to those who walk in obedience!

Lauren:

As I have sought the Lord in this area, He has been so faithful to lead and guide! While I do feel that He desires me to wear mostly skirts and dresses, I also feel complete freedom to put on a pair of jeans when the need arises. Even though it’s possible to hike or kayak in a skirt, there are times when wearing a skirt could actually be immodest! As you seek the Lord in these things, open your hands and your heart. Be willing to let go of what you think is modest, and He will show you how He wants you to dress.

Marlene:

I’m always on the lookout for tips and ideas on how to dress as a girl belonging to Jesus Christ. I get a lot of creative ideas just by observing what other Godly women and girls are wearing, and doing this also encourages me to follow God’s guidelines for my own dress code. But I have to be careful as well, for I have seen women I esteem wearing something slightly immodest, and I’ve caught myself using that as an excuse to lower my standards. I have found it worthwhile to let other women and girls’ choices help me make my own, but their wardrobe judgments cannot become the model for mine. Above all, God’s pattern has to be my standard for style.