You think I would get used to it. The quick skims over my chosen outfit. The you’re-wearing-that? faces. The discouraging trips to the active wear section.
As everyone else buys whatever they feel comfortable wearing, I carefully search the active wear section for something—anything—that doesn’t outline my buttocks and comes close to my knees. I mean, have you even looked at the ladies’ section? Booty-shorts and figure-hugging leggings are the way it’s done. There is literally nothing in between.
My spirits sink a little, and I find myself trying on shorts from the men’s section, thinking for the hundredth time, “Why is it that all the men’s stuff is long and loose enough?” I select an extra small pair, and as I turn and survey myself from every-which-way in the changing room mirror, I try to tell myself they don’t look that bad—that no one will notice the way they bunch up oddly in the crotch.
Men don’t quite have the same curves I do, it appears.
I know some women love wearing men’s tops and shorts, but not me—I love looking feminine. Sometimes I find myself looking at those gorgeous leggings that come in all the colours of the rainbow, cute matching strappy tank-tops, and short running shorts with pretty patterns—wishing that there was no such thing as modesty and I could just fit in for once.
Just to fit in for once. That’s what I’m looking for.
And then I see a new article or Instagram post. It’s a larger lady, or a lady who’s just had a baby wearing short shorts or attired in a strappy bikini. She’s written about how she used to hate her body, and now she’s decided to ignore all the haters and wear whatever she feels comfortable in anyway.
“Bravo!” yells the world, “you’re so brave!”
My heart sinks. Brave.
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If you are anything like me, you’ve never been the world’s kind of brave. You’ve cast longing eyes on a cute skirt that sits far too high above the knee. You’ve walked awkwardly across the sands of the beach wearing more cloth than all the girl’s at the beach put together. You’ve had to explain to someone just why you dress like you do.
Today, I want to lift you up and say, “We are the brave ones.”
Contrary to what the world may have you believe, taking off your clothes doesn’t make you brave. It’s just about the opposite. The world applauds those who take off their clothes. It takes no bravery to do something which you know you will gain a lot of support for.
But to put on clothes when most people are taking them off? Oh, that takes bravery.
I know, because I’ve fallen to the cowardice too many times. Sometimes my courage has faltered. I’ve worn the figure-hugging gym pants. I’ve taken off clothes because I felt I was wearing too much to be accepted. I want to be looked at—to have praise. But I would never, ever say that those moments were my brave ones. They were the ones in which my confidence and courage faltered.
For a woman to show up wearing what no one else is wearing—to wear what no one else would wear—to be different (and not in a cute, indie way)—now that takes a confidence in herself that rises above her pride in her outer appearance. That kind of action takes a deep-set confidence and faith in one’s walk—one that falters for no one’s disapproval.
That is true bravery.
The bravery and confidence to be different in every way that we need to be is the kind of bravery that’s called for as women of God. I am not called to fit in. I am called to be different. Called out of world to be so different from it that I shine forth as a light through its darkness.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:15).
We are called out to be something. Chosen. Royal. Holy. Possessed by God. All of those things denote some kind of setting apart from other things. If we are just like everyone else, how are we sanctified? My dress is just a small part of me—but it’s a small part that God requires, and a small part that makes a big impact on those around me.
If you don’t think it makes such a big impact, then why do worry about it? Why do we even care what we wear? It is because it does make such a profound impact that this very action will make people stop and question us. People will think us strange because we no longer talk, dress, or behave in the way they do. God has told us to expect this.
“Arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, […] so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the [world] want to do, […] with respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they [mock] you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:1-5).
If it is expected that people will sometimes think you strange for not joining in—how are you being “strange?” When was the last time you showed yourself to be different from the unbelieving world around you?
When was the last time you were truly brave?
We—who take stands for our faith and do not falter.
We—strong, capable, confident, Christian women.
We—who out of our strength choose to submit to a higher standard.
We, my sisters, are the brave ones.
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