Modest swimwear & peer pressure problem

by Molly
(Oregon)

I just found out about your site today because I go to a Christian school and we got a whole chapel about these kind of things that you've written about on your site.

Anyways, I have a question about the modest swimsuit thing. I would have NO problem with wearing the kind of swimsuit that was in the picture with the turquoise-shorts except for the pressure I would get from my peers.

To kinda explain what I mean, most of the girls at my school are planning to have a swimming party for the end of the year. All of the girls are going to wear two-pieces, because if anyone doesn't and decides to wear something like in that picture, the moment their classmates see them it's like insta-gossip.

I've heard it at church about a million times that we're not supposed to care about what gossipers say, but if if they're talking behind my back and I hear it, it really, REALLY hurts.

Sometimes they even gossip on e-mail & texting!!!!
In that case, what can I do? I want to be modest but I don't want them to gossip about me or start to think I'm self-righteous or anything like that.

And is it weird to go to a Christian school with so many mean girls?

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Molly,
Thanks for your question. I wish I had an “easy answer” for you, but I don’t. I want to start off by saying that I have also struggled with some of the same feelings you have expressed.

For most of my life, I have been a “people-pleaser”. I have tried hard to gain the approval of people….more than I have tried to gain the approval of God. It sounds horrible to say that, but it’s true. I have so desperately wanted the approval and acceptance of people that I have often compromised in my relationship with God…choosing to please others instead of pleasing God.

I just recently read Acts chapter 2 where it talks about the day when the early church received the Holy Spirit and thousands were added to the church. It was a great day where everyone was happy for them and no one opposed them, right?

Wrong.

Acts 2:13 says, “some of them made fun of them.”

What?!? Did I really read that right? Does this mean that peer pressure is not new? You mean that even 2000 years ago Christians faced some of the same feelings we do today….and were made fun of?

After reflecting on this verse, I wrote this in my journal, “Where there is a move of God and His Holy Spirit, there will also be persecution and those that will be opposed to it.”

We have a real enemy, the devil, that will do anything to keep you from having a life giving relationship with God. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

So, when you choose to take a stand in our culture today and honor God with your body, even with swimwear…believe me, it will be opposed. You will stand out. There’s no question about it. Jesus says in Mark 8:34, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Is it worth the risk?

Yes, I believe it is.

Is it hard? You better believe it is!!

Even though I’m not a teenager, I still face the same opposition and feelings that you do. Everything in me wants to just give in and go with the flow. Not stand out. Not be different. Not be criticized and talked about.

But, then I encounter Jesus and He gives me the courage to do the hard things. I realize that this life is so temporary. That He will give me the strength I need to do what He’s calling me to do.

Molly, you’re standing at a crossroads right now. You will either choose to follow your friends or choose to follow Jesus. I really don’t think you can do both. I pray that you will find the courage in God to take a stand for Him….even when it brings disapproval from others. I pray that you will find all the love, acceptance and approval you need from Jesus. That it will be enough for you. That you will no longer feel the desperate need for approval from your friends. That you will no longer feel the urge to try so hard to please them.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve walked that path long enough to know that even when I try my best to please others, I still come up empty. Someone somewhere at sometime will still not be happy with me.

A verse God has challenged me with lately is this, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Praying for you,
Shelley

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