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The secret weapon for fashion
There are many
people giving out their advice on the latest teen fashion tip....helping you
"dress to impress." I have to admit that for most of my life I have enjoyed
shopping for new clothes and putting cute outfits together. For those of us that
enjoy shopping, it's fun isn't it? The rush of buying something new and having
the satisfaction of "creating the look."
Some of you are like me in that you tend to trust in your beauty (Ezekiel 16:15). It makes you feel good to be the best dressed in the room.
But, for others of you, you avoid the mall like the plague and are content wearing t-shirts and jeans everyday.
WWJD - "What Would Jesus Do?" On the same line
have you ever thought of WWJD as "What Wouldn't Jesus Do?"
Just as you might not eat a certain type of food because you know it will make you sick or give you heartburn, I believe there are certain clothing choices that can lead to "spiritual heartburn." There may be certain things Jesus asks us to avoid because he knows the heartache it will bring. I know this from personal experience.
The good news is that we are not without help when it comes to our fashion and clothing choices.
2 Peter 1:3 says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."
Notice it says everything. It doesn't say "except for this latest generation -- they really have me stumped in this area of fashion."
I believe we can apply God's word and find the answers we need for everything... even our clothing and fashion choices. Some of you may be tuning me out right now, but stick with me so you can see for yourself.
It could be a number of things:
Well, this is confession time for me. I have to admit
that there was a time in my life when I was primarily influenced in my clothing
choices by the media. I spent a lot of time watching shows like "What Not to
Wear," "How Do I Look?," "Extreme Makeover," etc. I also scanned the latest
magazines any chance I could get to gain a few more fashion tips.
As I began to become saturated by the influence of media in the area of fashion, my clothing style gradually began to change. Even though I would never have admitted it, what I was trying to achieve by the way I dressed was the "sexy look" that is advertised everywhere. I like to think about it as if I was changing my "PR campaign" and the way I "advertised" myself. And in doing so, I slowly began to compromise in how I dressed in order to get the attention I wanted and to feel good about myself.
Yet, I was a Christian and had been a Christian for years. Satan knew he couldn't get me to immediately start to dress like Brittney Spears and many of the pop idols today. But, if the change was gradual, he knew it would be easier for me to fall for it.
And I did.
That's how our enemy, Satan, often works. He plays us like a video game, trying to win one level at a time. Once he wins the first level then he moves on to the second and so forth. Compromising in the way you dress can be a slippery slope that will eventually impact your actions - the way you flirt with guys and your sexual choices.
For me, my clothes gradually became tighter, showing off my figure, and the shirts became lower.
I was not oblivious, I knew the impact my clothing choices were having. I could tell you exactly which outfits in my closet would get me the most attention from the guys I was around. Deep down I knew...and I imagine you do too.
I'm so thankful that God got my attention. It's as
if, like the prodigal son, I came to my senses (Luke 15:17) and woke up to the reality of my poor clothing
choices as just one outward sign of my slowly dying spiritual life.
At that time, I read a book called "Every Woman's Battle" by Shannon Etheridge and felt like she was writing the book about me. I looked over my shoulder wondering if she had been peeking inside my life as she was writing this book.
For myself and many teen girls and women today, there is a reason we dress the way we do.
First of all, we have a God given desire to look beautiful. That is a good thing. God created us beautiful and His creation wasn't complete until He created woman. Think about that the next time you see a beautiful sunset or mountain range. God's creation wasn't complete without you!!
Have you noticed that there is power in our beauty? God created it to be this way.
"Modesty is the source of this delicate yet formidable power, making it a power in and of itself. It's delicate because it can be so innocently given away without your even knowing it. It's formidable - or difficult to deal with or control - because once you've mastered it, no man will be given access to the full secrets behind your allure until you so desire." Dannah Gresh
I'm sure you've noticed the many differences between how guys and girls respond to relationships. There have been entire books written about this. But to summarize, guys are primarily visual and attracted to what they see, while girls are primarily emotional and long to be deeply loved and accepted.
So, how does this relate to God's advice and teen fashion tip?
Well, I realized that my PR campaign had changed. And if I continued advertising in this same way, I would eventually make choices I would regret. Choices that would hurt both God and my husband.
Although I had been a Christian for a long time, no one really taught me God's principles in this area. So, I began to ask God for His help in my clothing choices and here is some of the advice I was given.
Krystal Meyers not only has a great sound to her music, but a great message. I love this song, Beauty of Grace, because it describes my journey.
Here are a few of the lyrics, "Anywhere you are, it's never too far away. There's freedom from your scars, the mistakes that you've made..forgiven the memories erased. That's the beauty of grace."
This is the image I got regarding
I was holding a cup and trying to fill it up each day with
water. I would first go to my husband and when he showed me love or affirmation,
he poured a little water in my cup. Then, I would be at work and if my boss was
pleased with my work, he would put a little water in my cup as well. When I
would go shopping, the thrill of getting a bargain and something new would also
put some water in my cup. Later when I talked to my family and friends on the
phone, they would fill up my cup some too.
But, there was a problem.
The "water" in my cup didn't satisfy. I had to keep going back for more and more to satisfy my thirst, the emptiness inside. The reason is because I was drinking from a broken cup. Have you ever felt this way? It could be for you that food, drugs, shopping, sex, flirting, talking or texting on your cell phone, or a number of other things temporarily fill your cup. And it's easy for these things to become addictions because we have to keep going back to them again and again in order to feel good.
In Jeremiah 2:13, God describes what happened to me. "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."
I had forsaken God, my source of living water that would completely satisfy me and had settled for my broken cistern or what I call my broken cup.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 contrasts living a life trusting in yourself or human strength versus trusting in God. "This is what the Lord says: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
My first step, like the woman at the well in John 4, was to exchange my broken cup for God's living water. When I did this, it was as if instead of drinking a drop here or there, I was now drinking out of a fire hydrant hose with more water than I could ever imagine!
how fulfilling it will be if you save it all...every moment of passion, every
bared curve, every suggestive glance! Imagine the powerful "intoxication" you'll
create for the man of your dreams if you keep the deepest secrets of your beauty
just for him." Dannah Gresh
I became very convicted when I read Jesus' words in Luke 17:1-3 and thought about how it relates to how I dress -- possibly creating lust in guys. It says, "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for (her) to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around (her) neck than for (her) to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves."
Did you know that Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that "anyone
who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his
heart"? Now I'm not saying the blame goes only to the girls here. The guys also
have a responsibilty for their thought lives. But, God showed me that I also
have a responsibility as well to dress in a way that is not tempting guys to
lust. I will give you some general ideas below, but each person needs to talk
with God about this and decide what standards you will live by.
"You must not lay a stumbling block in their way, nor blow up the fire of their lust...You must walk among sinful persons, as you could do with a candle among straw or gunpowder, or else you may see the flame which you did not foresee, when it is too late to quench." Richard Baxter
Would you go to a
girlfriend's house and steal her favorite CD, outfit or even her dog? Most of us
would never even think of doing such a thing. I would never call myself a thief.
But, I was. I was stealing guys emotional and sexual energy that belonged only
to their wives or future wives.
I get very angry when I think of other girls "stealing" my husband's emotional and sexual energy that didn't belong to them -- it belongs to me. Then, I end up with the leftovers. And yet, I was guilty of taking other men's emotional and sexual energy by the way I dressed and interacted with them.
Your future husband is out there somewhere right now. How do you want the girls around him to treat him? Do you want them to dress and act in ways that tempt him to lust and then possibly act on that lust?
It's something for each of us to consider.
How long would you
estimate it takes you to get ready in the mornings? Did you know that on average
women spend 2.5 years of their life washing, styling, cutting, coloring,
crimping and straightening their hair at home and in the salon? And that's just
the time spent on our hair!
What about the time you spend shopping? I
used to spend hours and hours every week shopping for the latest fashions at
bargain prices. I didn't spend a ton of money, but I was spending a lot of my
time! And yet I would say that I didn't have time for God!
Check out this chart comparing and contrasting the world's outer beauty to inner beauty.
As God began convicting my heart, I decided to go through my closet. I'm sorry to say that some of my favorite outfits had to go. This was a decision between me and God. No one was forcing me to get rid of anything, I just knew in my heart that I needed to. Boy, did I ever have a big stack of clothing to get rid of! Anything I wasn't sure about, I modeled for my husband and had him make the final verdict (since he knows how guys think).
So, I needed to start
thinking differently when I was shopping for clothes. As I began to research the internet, I came across a site that recommends a certain "secret weapon" to help make
today's trendy clothes acceptable for those of us walking with God and in
purity. Guess what it is? A simple tank t-shirt!! I went out right away
and bought some white, gray and black ones. And now I'm realizing that I need to
buy more because inevitably the one I want to wear is in the laundry basket!
This secret weapon helps when you have lower pants, button down shirts that gap, lower shirts, shorter shirts that show belly when you lift your hands, etc. These simple tank t-shirts really are our secret weapon these days!
Now, I won't lie to you. It does take me longer to find trendy clothes that But, it's not impossible.
So that we can help each other out, I've started a page where we can share our fashion secrets. I am challenging you to search through your closet and find your favorite outfit that follows my modesty tips. Then, have someone take your picture and send it in to us. Describe your outfit and what makes it a good choice for us girls who are trying to find our true beauty. I can't wait to see your outfits and get new ideas for when I go shopping!
Shelley has a heart for teen girls that began from her own journey of finding her true beauty in Christ. She is currently serving God by helping other Christians learn to let their light shine.
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