August 12, 2013

New thoughts on modesty (and a beach photoshoot).

Photo credit: my longtime friend Katie

     Well folks, the week that I've been looking forward to all summer is finally here: I'm heading back down South!! I cannot wait to take in all of the moving-in, orientation, and welcome week events at my new school. I am even more excited to blog about everything to share it with all of you! But alas, none of this excitment will be happening until next Saturday. Tomorrow is my last day home, and while I finish up packing and visiting with family and friends up here in Maine I wanted to share something that's been on my heart lately...


     Last month I wrote a post called "The Great Bikini Debate", which was inspired by my thoughts after watching the viral YouTube video of Christian swimsuit designer Jessica Rey talking about the origins of the bikini and her persective on modest swimwear. My blog post got a lot of great feedback, and is probably one of my posts that I'm most proud of. But I didn't write that post for the sake of the comments, I wrote it because last month I was feeling genuinely confused about what type of swimwear is "right" for Christian women to wear. I'll admit that I was very influenced by watching Ms. Rey's video, and after I did start questioning if one of the sins that I had been living in was caused by wearing bikinis.

     I left that blog post open ended, without declaring if I thought bikinis were "right" or "wrong." This is a difficult subject to talk to among Christian ladies I think, since everyone does have their own modest convictions. However, since I wrote the original blog post I've done a lot more thinking and reading on the subject, and I wanted to share what my new thoughts are:

     I went to the mall to look for a one-piece bathing suit after I wrote my blog post on bikinis. I figured that the next step in my bikini confusion would be to actually try wearing a different style of bathing suit, instead of just thinking about it. Although I've never liked many Landsend things in the past, I was able to find this surprisingly cute black one-piece bathing suit at Sears in their Landsend section, and it was on clearance!!

Dressing room selfie from when I found my new bathing suit :-)

     Everytime that I've gone to the beach or a lake for the past few weeks, I've worn my one-piece. There are some positive things about it: I've realized that by wearing something that covers my stomach, I'm less stressed out about how my stomach looks in a bathing suit. I also had forgotten how useful a one-piece is for boogie boarding in the ocean. Since most of your upperbody is covered, you don't have to worry about getting scratches or rough skin all over your stomach. I took out my boogie board for the first and only time this summer a few days ago, and I was pleased that my one-piece provided a pain free experience.

     However, there were also things that I didn't like about it. I missed the way that the sun felt on my stomach and bag when I was sunbathing on my towel. And most importantly, I had forgotten how much I hate the feeling of wet fabric all along my body. I'm the type of girl that does go swimming when I go to the beach or lake, and wearing a one-piece meant that it took much longer for me to drive off and get warm.

     I had expected that wearing a one-piece would make me feel closer to the Lord in a way, since I believed that I made the change in my swimwear because of my faith. No, I don't mean that just by wearing one article of clothing my faith is suddenly 10x deeper. ;-) But what I more mean is that when I've listened in the past to things that the Lord has put on my heart- whether it be resolving a difficult situation or choosing to avoid alcohol while I'm still underage, I've always felt peace in my heart afterwards. But after wearing my one-piece for a good few weeks I honestly didn't feel any change! I felt the exact same in my faith as I'd felt when wearing bikinis.

     This weekend I decided to do some online research to see if I could find any articles about Christians who praise the bikini. I realize that along with Jessica Rey's viral video, there are tons and tons of websites or articles that bash the bikini for Christians, but I wondered if anything existed that promoted it from a Christian viewpoint.

   
     Well, I was so pleased to find that there were Christian articles promoting the bikini!! Below are the links to three great articles that I found:



       My favorite out of all of these articles was the last one, called "Modesty: I Don't Think it Means What You Think it Means." I won't take up too much space paraphrasing the whole thing, but here is one point that I found very interesting. The author of this article explains how in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (one of the most prominent Biblical passages on modesty) the Greek translation of the word "modesty" has more of a meaning that warns against the dangers of materialism, instead of meaning that women have to cover up. Now folks, THIS spoke to my heart, and in a huge way. Wayyyyy more then wearing a one-piece bathing suit. 

     I know myself well enough to know that one of the things that I have a tendency to make an idol of materialism. No, it's not a sin to enjoy shopping or putting together cute outfits, but it is a problem when obsessing about buying more and more things becomes the center of my attention. I'll admit that this has happened to me more then a few times this summer. I find myself stressing all the time about money, and how I can't afford to buy everything that I want. I often resort to shopping when I've had a bad day or need to cheer up.

     These are behaviors that I have acknowledged about myself, and also behaviors that I'm commited to working on this year. It will be hard for me since I'm living in a big city with many more opportunities for shopping/spending money, but I'm determined to stick to a budget. It doesn't mean that I can't get out once in awhile and treat myself, but it does mean that I have to realize that my happiness and joy comes from the Lord and the Lord alone, and that my relationship with Him, schoolwork, and making good friendships at my new school should be my top priorities. (And a good way to channel my love of fashion will be by doing more fashion posts on the blog this fall ;-))

     Another way that I want to try and be more modest is in how I behave. I'm learning that actions often speak louder then dress. I need to remember this year that life isn't all about me. My blog is the perfect place where I can share all about things happening in my life, but I have to remember that my day-to-day interactions with people aren't the same as my blog. I need to focus on others more than myself, and even more then that I desire to have my life be Christlike.


     ...


     I apologize for this post being a bit more wordy than I intended, and for going into some pretty deep ideas. I hope that all of you were able to kinda get some sort of grasp on what I'm trying to say though: modesty is about a lot more than swimwear choices. The bottomline is that I'm still wearing bikinis. I thought about my motives for wearing them, and I realized that they aren't as bad as I thought. I don't wear them to attract the attention of cute guys on the beach, nor do I take seductive pictures while wearing them. Yes, there might be a few photos on my Facebook or blog or me enjoying my life by the water while wearing one, but I think that's a lot different. I do feel like there may be some situations where wearing one-piece would be best, such as future days when I'd be very active in the water, or perhaps depending on the people that I'm with. But besides for these situations, I will be back in bikinis.
   
     Bikinis also help to give me confidence about the body that God gave me. No, I'm not a size 0.  No, I don't have a perfectly flat stomach. But despite these things, I am confident in the fact that I'm a healthy young woman who isn't overweight, and I've realized that wearing a bikini makes me feel like I have nothing to be ashamed of body-image wise.
   
    As with my first post on bikinis and modesty, I'd love to hear what you have to say on this post!! Please leave a comment with your thoughts, all I ask is that you express your views in a way that's still respectful of my thoughts and the thoughts of other readers.


     And lastly, I have a few photos to share with you! I had a get-together at the beach last week with four lovely ladies from way back in my homeschooling days. For those of you who don't know, I was homeschooled for most of grades 2-8. :-) One of my closest friends from Maine is my homeschool buddy Katie (who just started a brand new blog! Click here to follow her!). She is a pretty good photographer, and while some of our other friends went rock climbing the other night Katie took some beautiful pictures of me for my blog!! I plan to use some of these on the "About Me" page... which I plan to update this week during the trip back down South. :-) Here's some of my favorite photos!






This one is my FAVORITE!!! And new Facebook propic ;-)


     Stay tuned tomorrow for an exciting blogging announcement!!


     xoxo Miss ALK
   

     

3 comments:

  1. You are such a sweet & honest person!! I appreciate it :) Absolutely love the new pictures!!

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  2. Very well written and beautiful pictures!!! :)

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  3. Thanks so much for posting again about this topic! I loved what you found about modesty and I feel like your post make me think a lot about swimwear the first time around. I haven't made any decisions really about changing up my swimwear but I think I'm going along the basis of being comfortable in what I wear. :)

    And l loved what it said about modesty protecting against materialism. That's so insightful!

    And girl, you look absolutely gorgeous in these photos! That color of your dress and necklace is my absolute favorite color!

    xo, gina

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