I am a reformed puzzle piece peddler.
Okay, okay...I didn't exactly peddle my pieces. But the alliteration was much better sounding than "sharer", you must admit.
What are my puzzle pieces? To put it plainly, they are the pieces that make up my physical body. Let me explain.
I am like a puzzle. When put together you see me in my original form: au naturel, if you will. A form, I have learned, that when assembled should only be seen by my husband. But more than that, he should be the only one that could even be able to guess at what my puzzle looks like.
We live in a culture that embraces the female form...where men worship it to the point that they sacrifice money, marriages, family, and self respect in the pursuit of it, whether physically or visually. I've heard it said that men are visual creatures. Why is this important? Well, because I don't want to hand out my pieces for men to visually put together. Why? Because I want to be different. I don't want to expose myself. I want to save my pieces for my husband.
What does the Bible say about women and modesty?
1 Timothy 2:9-10
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
mod·est[mod-ist] Show IPA
having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one'smerits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism,boastfulness, or great pretensions.
free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modesthouse.
having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.
In an effort to teach/preach modesty some have ventured to set physical guidelines and suggestions for women such as the following:
Skirts should go to your ankles.
Skirts should go past the knee.
Shirts should not have short sleeves.
Shirts should at least have 3/4 length sleeves.
Shirts should have long sleeves.
Necklines should not expose a woman's chest.
Necklines should not expose a woman's chest when she bends over.
Necklines should be to the neck.
Women should not wear open-toed shoes.
Women should not wear form fitting clothes.
Women should not wear shirts with words on them, as this will draw attention to their chest.
Can you see that these are well-intentioned...however extreme they might be to your own ideas and ways of thinking?
I don't agree with this list. It's not what the Bible says about it. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn't lay out a step-by-step plan for modest dress. (Although as rebellious as human nature is, we would find a way around it, I'm sure, even if it did.) God just said to do it. While I don't agree with everything on this list...there is some truth to the intentions behind it.
Guard your puzzle pieces.
There is a world of people who will lust after you, encourage you to "show off what you've got", and teach you how to get second glances by firming, toning, tanning, tucking, shaping, and ultimately sharing your pieces.
Earlier I mentioned that I was a reformed puzzle piece peddler. The old me used to expose as may pieces as I could in order to get second glances. I stood in the middle of the crowd and yelled out with arms outstretched, hands full of puzzle pieces, for anyone who would give me a second glance. "Please! Look at me. Notice me! Here are my pieces. I have left little to the imagination. It won't take much to imagine the rest!"
I was desperate for attention, acceptance, confirmation, and love.
So, with all that said, dressing modesty boils down to this for me:
Am I showing enough puzzle pieces to make it easy to imagine the rest?
Yes, it's true that a few inches of sleeve, skirt, or neckline might not matter. But consider this...no matter where the extra skin is showing, or how little you think it matters, it's just more parts to the puzzle that make up you. More parts that you are showing to people.
Who do you want to share your pieces with?
What does modesty mean to you?