Dressing to Make Them Stumble or Step?
Just hearing the phrase “dressing as royalty” puts me in the mindset of lavish purple, red or emerald colored gowns made with velvet materials draping off my skin. I felt myself going back 200 years in fashion and wondering how the word “royal” fit into today’s wardrobe and mindset? The word by definition means dignity and power. Hmmm, I thought, that sounds nice and expensive or of good quality, lol. Now, who can’t afford some quality? After researching online, the first thing that popped up was the physical interpretation of dressing royally. One solution was for a woman to wear a long jacket with ruffles. Sounds like a George Washington type outfit to me. The world views things differently than Christians; as Believers we understand there is always a spiritual angle, even with something as simple as our dress code.
I am finding more and more, through wisdom and experience that it is easier for people to dispel the spiritual explanations for things because it is out of sight therefore out of mind. However, we who are experienced in Christianity know the truth, there is another world out there and if we do not acknowledge it, it will kick our physical behinds. In other words, just because we cannot see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real or present, which takes me to the main point about our dress code as Women of God. “Stepping stone or stumbling block?” is the question you should consider every time you go into your closet and pick out an outfit. Are you dressing to glorify yourself, others or God? It is a question I had to train myself to ask, especially, when I first became a Believer. I, of course, wanted to look good to everyone watching me but I had a particular style too, so even if they didn’t like it, it was about me. Then, I came across scriptures like Matthew 18:7: “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”
At first, I wondered how this applied to me. I was not doing anything to, intentionally, hurt anyone. I was always positive. I didn’t use foul language, anymore and I wasn’t encouraging anyone to do anything bad. Then, I began to reflect on those stories of men in church who were sleeping around on their wives, having sex with some without marriage and outright hurting Women of God. Women thought because they were in the church, these men would treat them differently. They acted as if these men didn’t deal with lust or sexual desires like the rest of the world. These women didn’t realize that they were bringing the world in the church just as much as the men were. How? Simply through the way she dressed and the subliminal messages her physical appearance was sending. I’m not saying this is the only reason because sometimes a woman can do everything right and the guy just acts up. That is when the sister needs to examine her spiritual listening skills and find out if God was telling her to move forward with this brother or if she was talking to herself.
Of course, I know some of us don’t feel we have any responsibility for a weak man and his actions because I had the same hang ups. I felt like they should be stronger and used excuses to justify my decisions: this outfit is all I have; I cannot help the way I am built; am I supposed to be invisible? All these things made me upset and even feel as if they were a little unfair. However, when I thought about stumbling blocks and stepping stones, it changed my view.
Stumbling blocks make things get off balance and fall. Their purpose is to trip up. They bring you down. I didn’t want to make anyone get off balance and fall short of the Glory of God. I for sure didn’t want to bring anyone down; I’m naturally a Helpmeet, I build men up. I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone falling short of the Kingdom, either. That is a burden I do not want to carry or answer to God for.
I’d rather be a stepping stone for others, especially our men. I would rather teach him to see beauty how God sees it, which goes beyond the fleeting physical and straight to the heart. Unfortunately, that would probably make me physically invisibly but spiritually I would be a rock, just like Christ. This meant that I had to die to being a “sexy princess” and take my place as a “beautiful woman of royalty”. This meant that my skirt lengths were tasteful, for a woman of my height and body type, knee length or longer works better for me. I have long legs and a big behind. I am not ashamed of the beautiful shape God has given me through my parents but I understand it can make some weak, so I don’t highlight it. The only man that needs to see it and all my sexiness is my husband. I don’t have large breasts but it doesn’t matter to some men so I don’t wear shirts that expose a lot of cleavage. I love wearing leggings but I make sure my shirts cover me or I’m not jiggling so that my look is tasteful not only to men but to women, as well. I don’t want anyone feeling jealousy, envy, mistrust or negative in my presence. If anything, I want someone to say, “Wow, she sure looks nice. I never thought about wearing my outfit like that.”
Another woman resenting you because of your physical appearance is not power but one looking at you in admiration is fulfilling. It makes you appear less threatening and starts a dialogue. There are people with the wrong type of influence in this world. They have us believing that less is more. So, when a woman reaches a certain age she can be made to feel obsolete because she cannot compete physically with a younger woman. So, she begins changing her body, sometimes surgically to look like someone younger and wearing clothing that appeals to a man’s weakness. This whole process messes with the order of things. Royalty means a distinguished type of dress. It means dressing for a purpose. It doesn’t mean you have to wear big clothing that hangs off your body or covering yourself from head to toe, unless that is your belief. It just means you use discretion and good judgement, even praying to God for help before entering your closet. You don’t have to wear satin and lace two-pieces and dresses if that is not your style. It most certainly isn’t mine. Dressing royal in the Christian context means you can still be you except when you are being you, you are stepping out to glorify God and not yourself or even others.