I love muscle. My muscles. I found them again in the past couple of years, beneath the layers of fast food dining, blended mochas, and emotional eating. The first visible realization of my success came when I could see my triceps. Sometimes I flex my arm and trace the cut of muscle with my fingers.
And this year; after six months with a personal trainer, carb cycling, and four evenings a week in the weight room, my calves are crazy, my hamstrings and quads strong and sleek, my delts and back showing promise. And now that the cold rain has left the Pacific Northwest, I’m getting urges.
Urges to slide on a snug pencil skirt and heels. Urges to wear shorts to the gym rather than long workout pants. Urges to wear my sun dress a little shorter than usual.
But wait! A little voice nags at my joy. You’re a Christian. Proper Christian women don’t wear clothing that might tempt their Christian brothers!
But…I argue back in my mind. I am healthier now than I was when I was overweight. That means I am diligently caring for this temple of God that is my body, right? Look how lovely the sculpted muscles mirror that of an artists’ handiwork. Does it not compare to classical architecture, scenes painted in honor of the words of Jesus, stonework depicting His followers? Would you dare drape clothes over Michelangelo’s David?
I wouldn’t, but some would. Perhaps God would.
As it says in 1 Timothy 2:9, I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…
So, is it pure vanity luring me to let a little extra skin show now that I’ve worked hard and became strong and healthy?
Vanity is defined as: Excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments.
I am proud of my body, I admit it, but am I excessively proud? I do not write of my success so that others honor me, I speak of my accomplishments because I hope to help those who are struggling with feeling as though they are lost, buried beneath layers of bad food choices, caught up in taking care of everyone around them and thus neglecting themselves, people whose confidence withers every time they look in a mirror.
It is the confidence I have gained since I committed to becoming fit that I want to share. I feel the same exhilaration of those who have crossed the finish line in a race, who have climbed a mountain, who have finished something hard. I feel I have emerged from a cocoon into the person God created me to become. It is this authenticity I want to portray. And I couldn’t have done it alone. I know that.
God has been with me the entire way, nudging me in that last rep, propelling me to lace my running shoes, giving me hope that with His strength I could rediscover myself and let His light shine through my life.
So, does that inner confidence, that desire to help others, the knowledge – and testimony – that God has given me the strength I have needed to succeed, give me the right to show a little skin? Or is it just vanity?
How much should a Christian woman let her faith influence her attire?
Have you ever NOT purchased an item of clothing that looked really good on, but that revealed too much skin for your comfort?
P.S.- Do you know about the “100 Dresses- Let’s Bring Classy Back!” Campaign? If not, click here!
After Melinda Patton’s daughter moved away to college, she decided she had no more excuses keeping her from being in shape. Three years and 55 pounds ago she began a journey to become spiritually and physically strong and in the process discovered her passion and purpose in forging faith and fitness. She is now studying for her Personal Training certification and manages a facebook page called Strength for the Journey; Forging Faith and Fitness. Through her page, she encourages and empowers others to create strong and healthy bodies for Christ.
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