Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thoughts on Feminine Dress

I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had last week, the Week in Feminine Dress. For some of you this may have seemed like no big deal. You may already wear dresses and skirts frequently, if not every single day. My experience has been quite different than that. This week has been an important and exterior step to show what God has been doing in my heart these past three years.

I started college in Fall 2005 with big plans. I was going to graduate as a double major in International Economics and Econometrics from a prestigious business school in only 3.5 years. Then, gloriously single, I was going to fly off to France to live a crazy ex-pat life in Paris until I got bored with it all at which time I’d return to some major US city, find some nice boy, and settle down. Although I was a Christian, I hadn’t submitted my life to Christ in any realistic way. By the end of my first semester, I was miserable and planning other options for school.

To summarize the next two years in extremely brief fashion: I transferred to a school near my parent’s home, got involved with a wonderful campus ministry, renewed my commitment to Christ, met my now husband, got involved in evangelism projects I never would have imagined, got married, moved and switched schools again, and joined another new church. That brings us up to Christmas Break 2008.

At the end of last semester, God showed me that I wasn’t living modestly. I love to get attention and compliments. My biggest concern as I go about my day is “what will people think of me?” My cowardice to step outside the status quo has held me back from witnessing to and serving the people in my life. Although this is mostly a heart issue, my clothing has certainly been a component. While I crave attention for looking like I “should,” I dread the attention that comes from being different.

I decided to do WIFD even though I was scared (of skirts? Yes…). I wore my favorite dress, which before now has only been worn at home. I wore skirts that I’ve only worn to formal events. And I relaxed! The adults I interact with didn’t say anything about my different wardrobe, if they even noticed. The children in my first grade class kept telling me they loved my dress with cherries on it – “You look like a real teacher, Mrs. Preston!” (I love kids, lol). And God nurtured my heart to realize that my preoccupation with appearance has held me back all these years.

Since WIFD, I’ve gone back to wearing pants more often than not. But I can feel a shift in my heart. I’m wearing them because that’s what I happen to have in my closet at the moment, not because it is what is expected of me. To sum it up – I care less! It’s a freeing feeling.
God still has a lot of work to do in my heart to knock down my pride and obsession with fitting in. But I can clearly see that the Week in Feminine Dress has helped me in my journey towards not only a modest appearance, but also a modest heart.


Sarah Jane said...

I can't tell you how much your posts and blog have been an encouragement to me! You are so open about real issues. .. which is something I'm not good at doing.

I started wearing skirts/dresses mainly for legalistic reasons when I was around 12/13. . .and because I thought my legs looked fat. :( Yes, it was a wrong motive, trying to please both God and man. . .but I can tell you that after almost 10 years now of wearing skirts/dresses it feels odd to be in pants at all and no one notices my dresses or skirts as being different. In fact, I get more odd looks when I wear pants since people are used to me being in skirts! :) It was a delight to see your WIFD!

Mrs. G said...

I'm excited to see how God's working in your life. I've worn dresses/skirts for many, many years but I still love my pajama pants and I do wear overalls for really dirty farm stuff. If you let God lead you baby step by baby step you need never fear falling into the legalism trap. Good for you.

A fellow recovering Man Pleaser,