Saturday, March 6, 2010

Variations On A Theme

Recently I have approached by some young women who are trying to *be plain*. There is nothing wrong with simplicity, as long as the motive is pure, and nothing wrong with wanting to be separate from the world, as long as you understand the scripture and God has lead you to this conviction. But it makes me ask; "what drives someone to be plain"??

The Conservative Anabaptists take these following scriptures literally:

Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (I Corinthians 6:14)

"Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord" (II Corinthians 6:17)

“And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

These are the scriptures that they hinge their clothing, lifestyle choices such as cars, electricity, and fellowship with.

Many women read Amish Novels, (I am no exception), Mennonite Autobiographies and Memoirs, or come into contact with local Amish or Mennonites where they live, or read about them on-line, and find the lifestyle so intriguing that they decide to persue it in a way that is unhealthy. Many, throw the baby out with the bathwater by ditching every pair of pants they own, and donning the frumpiest garb they can either sew or buy in a thrift store. The stop wearing any make-up, and let their hair grow. This usually happens in a matter of months and along with the change of exterior dressings, their attitudes become as pleasant as their appearance. They become sour. Opinionated. Obcessed with being *plain* they spend an unreasonable amount of time focused on their church and the women who do NOT cover (in accordance to 1 Corinthians 11), and who are not *PLAIN*. They are no longer happy in their church because they are *the only one* who viels.. and friction soon developes between this woman, and: her husband, her friends, her church fellowship, and anyone she thinks isn't *like-minded*.

I've only been there-done that for a period of time. It didn't take me long to realize there is a difference between PLAIN and MODEST. And that you CAN be MODEST without being PLAIN. But try telling this to someone who has just caught the fever? Basically, it has to run it's course, and there is no amount of reasoning that will ever sink in for most. Being their friend while they go through this, and loving them dispite themselves is taxing, but for most, it will level out in time.

Women who are PLAIN usually have their dress dictated from a church standard that says the dress needs to be a certain length, what styles, double-covering, etc.... There are exceptions. I choose to be modest... Plain? I prefer a classic style in dressing over a plain one. I do have some rather plain dresses. I also have some snazzy skirts and blouses that I bought in department stores. Both are modest. I wear what I *feel* like wearing any particular day, because I am not a member of a church that tells me otherwise. I have to excercise my own common sense here. My husband wants me to be modest, but not frumpy. Mission accomplished. Harmony maintained between God, my husband and my conscience.

Believe it or not, modesty was a fairly new concept for me in my 30's. I had been raised to believe that my body was to more or less show off, and all clothing should accentuate my figure to it's fullest. Now, I think it's pretty awful to wear clothing that makes you look ugly, because your job is to be a joy to your husband. Who wants a butt-ugly wife??? Especially when you know she could make herself more presentable, but chooses otherwise.

Ladies- You can wear clothing that is modest and attractive for you figure, but doesn't reveal your entire figure. No need for sackclothe and ashes here. And it's our responsibility to be everything we can be to our husbands, including: Attractive. The problem is in how you define attractiveness. Do we go buy the worlds standards? I hope not. A clean face, and bright smile go a long way. Does your attitude make you look harsh? Lets keep joy at the forefront, and you'll find it's infectious to our husbands and children.

I would go so far as to ask our husbands what they would *like* to see in us? For example: My husband likes me to wear a little make-up. I have some skin discoloration, and for me, a little is a lot. So, a bit of cover-up, powder that nose, and a splash of blush make me look more radiant to him. And, you can barely tell I have any on.
Now, if you don't need it, don't bother. But look like the bride of his dreams every day you have the strength! I realize we all have our moments with a red sore nose and a scratchy throat... or the baby has been up all night. Those are exceptions.
Maybe he doesn't want you to wear any makeup at all? So be it! Fulfill your husbands desires as they line up Biblically...I am not suggesting we go to extremes.

So, you want to be plain? Plain is good but it takes a bit of trial and error for the first time user. Be reasonable about what you do and why you do it. Your choices have an impact on your family.

Prov. 11:22 – “Like a gold ring in a swine’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” That is, a woman’s true beauty is her inner beauty, the sacred and mysterious creature that God has made.

So, if you really want to join a church that has a certain criteria, there is nothing wrong with adhering to it once your a member. But be cautious that we don't romanticize certain lifestyles, and think that dressing plain MAKES us anything, other than modest. As we say in Texas: "You can put your boots in the oven- That don't make 'em biscuits."

Sis Kelly

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