Modesty (#4) and headcovering as a reminder

Many of you know I am been reading, researching and seeking about head covering and God’s Perfect will not for His Creation as a whole but for myself in particular.  I am no scholar out to define God’s word for the greater community; I have enough trouble explain how wind works to a 5 year old. 

I am not qualified to make Biblical interpretations; I do not pretend to be.  This Blog contains only my contemplations and my comments on the reading I am doing; my impressions.  This is an on-going conversation and “thought process” for me I invite you to see the first three posts:

I continue on that path, but I am finding myself more and more drawn to head covering in relation to modesty and an entire life approach vs. simply covering the head for service or pray; more drawn to the consideration of modesty in life rather than a particle practice for pray. 

I have been lax in my study and pray regarding this and need to get back to it, the pull on my heart remains.  The more I read, the more I pray and the more I study the more I find – modesty and head covering all around me.  Makes me wonder how I have missed it all about me before.  (now really I have read enough of John Holt to recognize this phenomena for what it is).

It seems to me that an important element of modesty (and head covering), maybe the most important, is the denial of self and focus on God and on the good (the fruit) not the look, not the appearance.  And more so, maybe, the danger of ‘getting by on your looks’ in effect the danger of relying on self and not God and of looking at the tree and not the fruit.  Denial of the self and looking to God.  “Don’t look at me, look at what I do in service to Him that made me”. 

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him”. Colossians 3:17

Ezekiel 16:15-16″But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur.”

Many look good, and in this current culture looking good is a billion dollar market, but is there substance under that look?  One has to ask if someone is trying so hard to look good to take care of the outside, to present a pretty face or sexy body; how much time, effort and focuses is being placed on the more important aspects of life; faith, God, good works even parenting and home or education?  I am not talking about being clean, looking professional when needed or nice or ‘put together’; but there is a point when the effort and time put into looking good, or the style of look is obviously detrimental to other aspects of one’s life. 

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: But with good works”.

Of dressing modestly (and potentially covering one’s hair) — serve as a powerful medium to raise our consciousness and maintain our awareness that we must be inner directed.  Our lives must be directed towards God and the realities of life not towards the current fashion trend.  A dear friend commented on her head covering, that during a traumatic and challenging time in her life emotionally her head cover reminder her continually of God’s presence and His reality for her.  This moment to moment reminder of God’s presence in our lives is the truest beauty of any active and conscious choice to dress modestly and / or cover your head. 

The internal world is the world of the spirit; our souls the location of God in our lives. Its voice is quieter and its demands on the human being more subtle and sadly easy to drowned out by the loud clang of external pressures. But to ignore the needs of the soul is to ultimately deny one’s raison d’etre http://www.thefreedictionary.com/raison+d’etre  — the reason for being on this earth.  A choice to listen to the internal to the exclusion of the external is to choose to step away from the world and the worldly view of beauty to focus on God and allow Him a place in our every day lives. 

Practically speaking, this means that our behavior in speech, dress, and in the way we carry ourselves should continually remind ourselves, and convey the message to others that I am valuable and I have purpose.  I do not live by the standards of the world, but by the standards of God, accountable only to Him. 

I see choosing to cover (head) as one aspect of modest dress, as a personal statement, as a personal reminder.  I feel that for a woman to cover her hair, her ‘crowning beauty,’ is to be constantly reminded to focus on the inner beauty and God and what He would have her do, not what the world would. 

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Modesty (#4) and headcovering as a reminder

  1. MJ

    Very interesting, and you know, I have noticed many cultures and people use various forms of outward appearance to symbolize certain things, sometimes people do it without even thinking.
    Tribes that tattoo or scar themselves as a reminder of… hardships, buddhist monks who shave their heads, Hasidic Jews also shave their heads, Nuns, people who cover their hair as you mention, Greek women in mourning wear black after their husbands die until the day they themselves die, the list goes on and on.

    Take a look at University students, we have a campus near here and you see them in PJ bottoms and jogging pants, no makeup, hair in a pony tail, it can be seen as a reminder (more to others than to themselves ) of the fact that learning is their main focus right now, there will be time for something else later on.
    Wow, the list could go on and on and on, very good topic all around.

    When someone chooses to over their hair, or anything else for that matter I have no problem with it, as long as they are not being forced to do it 🙂

  2. Rebecca — i had to edit this comment to remove personal details that are not shared on this blog, i did not edit anything else. sorry.

    Aimee I can appreciate your views. But seriously,dear, you need to get off the subject and either just do it because you want to and stop harping on it to everyone else or just don’t do it at all. I don’t get what why this is such a divided personal desire to do or not to do with you. Either you are going to do it or you aren’t. Why do you have to justify your reasoning to anybody else?
    This is right up there with all the other stuff you do to “prove” to everyone else you are a better ubber-mom and all that crap. Stop listining to the “my stroller is better than your stroller” set and the soccer moms who use their kids as a competition with other mothers. The “mommy-chat lists” can really be very detrimental to you. Stop trying to compete with everybody. You need to do what you do becuase it is who you are and what you want to do, not because it is expected by a friend, a neighbor or a husband. And you don’t need to justify yourself for doing so. If you want to wear head cover because you feel it is a good thing or a right thing to do… then just do so and don’t worry about anybody else’s opinion. Nobody can make your decisions for you, just as you can make these kinds of decision for your friends lives.

    As friend I worry about you, mostly because this seems to be an issue of what your husband and your pastor want and are trying to influence your personal choices using some heavy handed brainwashing. Personally I have a real problem with men telling women what to do and how to be. Why??? Because if we do that back to them, they reject it, they hate it, they rebel against it and they call us “evil, manipulitive nags” if we ask them to change for us, if we influence their thinking or even do anything helpful. Frankly they shouldn’t be asking a woman to make a change they themselves would not make for themselves of their own free-will. For a man to be contrary to that spirit of equitable behavior is domination of women. When they already have physical and legal power of us, giving them control of our minds and thoughts is very dangerous. I still think this is an issue of a husband trying to dominate and enslave a wife to his own antiquated viewpoint and zealot behavior and that your pastor is apparently in on it. I don’t have respect for any man who attempts this sort of behavior with a wife. Husbands and wives are different yes, but still equals in the marital relationship. If he’s not man of God enough in and of himself with his own behavior, then he needs to be looking to himself and changing himself… NOT CHANGING HIS WIFE. A man who wants this but does not change himself to be more in God’s image is a hypocrit.

    What I want to now is what ——— is doing to change himself? Would he wear a cowboy hat and boots to work everyday becuase you wanted him to? If this was the Biblical Way for men to dress would he do that every day, no matter of his personal clothing preferences? Regardless of —— employee dress-code? (Doesn’t his job require him to wear a suit or sport-coat and tie everyday to work? Would he go against his employer’s dress-code to be more in God’s image if that were what was asked of him by God?) I think you should at least consider having this conversation with your husband. You need to get a bead on how he plans to change himself too. I am very concerned for you in this relationship, because something doesn not seem right here. You do all the giving up and giving in all the time.

    Frankly I see nothing wrong with taking care of your outside package too. In fact not doing so will lead to skin cancer and other health problems. Taking a walk for excercise can be done while listening to upbeat worship music on an MP3 player or with nothing at all, admiring and thanking God for all the things HE created. Women are tha most talented multi-taskers on the planet… we can use that to take care of our relationship with God and still take care of our own bodies without becoming “stuck on ourselves”.

    The male of our species is self-centered and concieted enough (and more often so than most adult married women are) that he does not want a wife who’s out of shape, wrinkled and frumpy. No matter the man, he want’s the woman on his arm to be attractive, wants other men around him to realize he was enough of a catch himself to marry a pretty lady and that younger men should be so lucky as to find something comparable. Regardless of faith, our country allows them to divorce us and trade us in on a newer model, no different than trading a rusted out minivan for that mid-life crisis sports car at the auto dealer. If you take good care of the minivan (wash it and wax it regularly, change the oil etc. it lasts longer and will not need to get traded in until it no longer runs.) That means the use of sunscreen, makeup and wrinkle cream is just as important of maintaince of your person as car washes and oil changes are to an automobile for the longevity of that relationship. Even well-meaning men are opportunistic and will view women the same as they do an automobile…well, we females will just have to deal with that or our men will move on… even the best of them are lead by their hormones and the parts in their pants. No matter how hard they work on their own mental and spiritual maturity… the larger part of the man inside is the same 17 year old, hormonally stimulated teenager in the boys locker room, who tries to be cool and macho and compete with his friends over pretty girls and who has the bigger muscles. Regardless of their supposed stregth of faith and character, they are men…just as we are women (and for all our lofty ideals, we still have the natural inclinations of our cave dwelling ancestors who mated and pair-bonded for little more than survival of the species… and the males then had the drive to impregnate every female possible to get their gene as far into the future as possible… that has not changed that much) and they will see another woman and want her if we don’t give them a continuing reason to not stray, to stay with us for the benefit of our offsring. Humans struggle because God gave us intelligence and freedom to choice. He is the Creator… therefore he created the duality of mankind in mind and spirit. The intelligent woman realizes these traits in her mate and will do what is necessary to prod him along gently away from that struggle.

    As far as spending too much time on appearance than on God,
    look at it this way: Say you spend an hour a day studying your Bible and in prayer (on average a realistic goal for most of us.) Now on the other hand the average woman can apply suncreen/facial mositurizer, brush her hair in to an everyday style and apply a full-face of tasteful everyday makeup in 10 minutes or less. So even if you do it daily, you’ve spend 60 minutes on God and 10 minutes on yourself… that is 1/6th the time doing basic physical maintainance on yourself and your marriage, than most of us find the time to fit in to “be with God” given the average woman’s time obilgations to her family. Add in the time that you spend mentally talking to God as a friend and confidant while you wash the dishes, fold the clothes, vaccum the floors and drive around doing errands… well… most of us really do spend more time with God than fixing up our own exteriors. (I really can’t speak for non-believer women in this area because I am not one of them… maybe they are much more “into themselves” than the rest of us. But that is between them and God… either they will be drawn to a different path or they won’t and there are consquences to that… again that is between them and God. They to have free-will to choose their own path and brow-beating them with our Bibles is more than likely to turn them off and get them further lost in the woods than it is to give them a map back to a better path.)

    So, maybe date-night hair and makeup might take half an hour to 45 minutes depending on how long your hair is and how you like to fix it. Most married couples I know don’t get a lot of date nights. (In the 7 years since my kids were born, there have been only 3 such date nights where we went to dinner and a movie or something w/o kids… primarily from lack of babysitter availabilty.) Fixing yourself up for your husband once a year for date-night/anniversary is not taking “time away from God”… that is investing time in your marriage.

    Most women can apply lipstick in less than 15 seconds… IN THE CAR MIRROR. I know quite a few who only wear lipstick and mascara and maybe a moisturizer with sunscreen (if they are smart and don’t want skin cancer). Seriously this should take less than 4 minutes.
    I’ve read many books by Christian authors discussing marital relationship and conflict that advocate the wife should at least put on a little lipstick and mascara, take decent care of her skin, in order to mainatain her attractiveness to her spouse and therefore keep the flames of romance burning so to speak. They also recommend sending the kids
    to grandma’s (or letting them stay over with school friends when they are older) for the night or the weekend and digging that black lingere that’s stuffed in the back of the underwear drawer once in a while… just to surprise him.

    Do you really think that God begrudes you 4 to 10 minutes a day to hang on to your mate? Or the occasional night spent kindling marital flames? God created man in his own image (and I don’t mean just exterior appearance.) Therefore HE knows what “dirty dogs” they can be and what a wife needs to do to keep them from sniffing after the next “female in heat.” Men are in fact the weaker sex in faith and fidelity. THe beauty of that is that God created our men like this and it can be to a woman’s advantage.
    That means we have to be smarter than males are and run circles around them once in a while to keep them home where they belong and on their toes. Knowing they are all dogs at heart makes it easier to keep them coming home to be fed, nutured and following along faithfully at heel. If a woman can do that then there are some nice rewards to that. Spiritual ones and ones of nuturing and emotional comfort. Keep him interested, keep him coming home for more… not only does marriage last… but you might find yourself spending the weekend in a blizzard snuggling on the couch watching YOUR favorite tv show or movies all weekend instead cartoons or football, while the kids play or watch kiddie shows in the next room (which you can see what they are doing, but they are “doing their own thing”)… while the husband wracks his brain trying to figure out how to sneak you off to bed.

    Worked for me. Lets just say we got a foot of snow… the kids watch Thomas the Tank Engine and Dinosaur Train on YouTube a great deal of the time (in fact they were so engrossed I couldn’t check email all weekend). The husband when back to work today happy and satisified for at least a few days(even though he HATES watching Cop shows on tv/movie and I made him watch 3 seasons worth of 21 JumpStreet with me during a blizzard. A tv show I liked in my youth but only got to watch at my cousins’ house because my family didn’t have a tv for a long time when I was a teenager. Those cousins lived far away,so this was a rarity confine to maybe once or twice a year. I missed out on a lot of that “teen heartthob” garbage as a kid at that young people experience at an “appropriate time” in my life and now at 35, I can watch a show that at 14 years old turns girls’ minds in to a puddle of hormonal goo, with perspective, humor, and appreication for the writing and acting behind the image and the entertainment value.)
    We were stuck here all weekend and Church was cancelled, so we had our Morning Prayer “service” at home from the Prayer Book Sunday morning before breakfast. Couldn’t really do anything outdoors except necessary feeding/watering chores (as we do have farm animals)and bring in firewood. Otherwise the only things that really got done over the weekend were 2 loads of dishes, some of Charlie’s homework from school and my husband and I both talked to our respective brothers on the phone for about an hour each. Really nothing to do but watch the television together for a change. We really haven’t spent that much time together as a couple just being a couple since before Charlie was born. And it was fun to be able to laugh about how goofy-looking everybody was back in the 1980’s, reminicing about stuff we “grew up with” (music, fashion, politics etc.)because we got to know each other better, from a time about 10 or 15 years before we met.

    • Whoooooaaaa.

      First of all, not all husbands/men are led by their hormones.

      Secondly, have you ever read the very valid studies about sunscreen causing skin cancer? I would be very careful where you toss the word “smart” in relation to applying sunscreen every day. I haven’t used sunscreen in a year and don’t have to since adding things to my diet that make me more resistant to burning. Same with my kids. What is ‘smart’ to you is not at all smart to me.

      Thirdly, this is a blog. Blogs are like diaries and journals, but public. They are for hashing out feeling and internal conflicts, or just for processing “out loud” what we are thinking about. There is nothing wrong with bringing this topic here, and I don’t see that she is asking for validation about her decision or indecision.

      And, lastly, from a non-believer-
      I don’t even brush my hair anymore. I devote myself to the other things that are important in my life and none of them are self-centered. I shower when I can, wash with eco-friendly soap and shave my pits (for myself) and skip any primping. I toss on clothes (from the thrift store or freecycle) and then toss my hair into a ponytail after I finger-comb it, brush my teeth with herbs I foraged and go about my day. I don’t wear makeup ever. My husband loves me just the same. He is my partner in everything- from cleaning, to cooking, to kids, to budgeting, to matters of the heart. He’s not itching to drag me off to bed every second.

      Likewise, I think plenty of mothers can find self-fulfillment while in the same room with their children, alongside them, without having to put the kids on a TV or leave the room. If I want time alone, I save a craft for after the kids go to bed and all the chores are caught up. I don’t think it has be black and white- either a good parent or a negligent parent- there can be balance where everyone is content and getting their souls nourished simultaneously.

  3. Alexis

    Dude did you just call God a perverted “dirty dog”?
    “God created man in his own image (and I don’t mean just exterior appearance.) Therefore HE knows what “dirty dogs”…”
    I don’t see where Aimee’s pastor or husband come into play at all in this. I covered my head for several years and it had nothing to do with men’s wants infact it had everything to do with men staying out of my life.

  4. hm. You know. I keep myself in decent shape. I am clean and unstinky (despite the fact that I do not wear deodorant). (I don’t apply sunscreen. Ever. FYI. I’m current on the scientific thinking in this area.) I haven’t owned makeup in YEARS. Hm. I wore makeup on a few dates with my husband when we were dating. For our wedding. When dressed up vintage (we used to dress 40s a lot). Otherwise, it’s been hair in ponytail (or under covering), no makeup. He married me this way, and even if he didn’t… he is mature enough to roll with the punches.

    People change. People who are married change. We don’t have to stay the same (lipstick and mascara) to keep our spouses happy. My spouse stays happy when I treat him kindly, keep the house tidy and the kids, you know, alive, and make sure that I save energy for some physical relations on a regular basis. There’s no “running around” him necessary. He is not a dirty dog. He is not a pet, a dog, or a child. He is not better than I am, but I am not better than he is.

    I haven’t gotten the impression that Scott or a pastor are pressuring Aimee about covering. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, but let’s say for the sake of argument:

    Matt, Joan’s wife, has come to believe that women ought to cover their heads. Joan doesn’t necessarily believe this. What does the BIBLE say about this situation?

    Well, Matt is not asking Joan to do anything against the law, or against God’s law. He is, in fact, asking her to do something that may even be pleasing to God, even if not required. If Joan were to submit to her husband with the proper attitude about it (in other words, cheerfully, not resentful, in a spirit of Biblical submission and to please her husband in, in so doing, pleasing her God), would that be terrible? No. I think that would be the good and proper thing.

    If Matt is tyranically demanding a covering and being a real ogre about it, that’s clearly another matter. But Joan being all Women’s Lib You Can’t Tell Me What To Do, And What Are You Doing To Make Yourself Better/More Pleasing To God And To Me wouldn’t be much better, would it?

  5. Laura

    Rebecca H… you say “as a friend of yours” .. reading your reply I would HARDLY consider you her friend. In fact it is an insult to those of us who are true friends. Get your own Blog if you like but at the very LEAST please respect Aimee’s privacy by NOT using family names and details of work etc.. not to mention the very critical and inaccurate nature of your entire rant. Aimee, I find your thoughts on modesty very interesting and appreciate your thoughts on the topic as you work through your feelings on the topic. Love u.

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