This week’s featured guest is Carrie Gleason, a young woman who loves Jesus and also loves teenagers! Her desire is to teach and model what means to live, love, and follow Christ. And what an inspiring role model she is for the youth she works with daily.
Carrie’s words regarding modesty are from the heart, to help girls and young women realize where their true identity lies.
How on earth do you teach girls, young girls and young women, about modesty?
I don’t think that half of them even know what it means. And it seems like very few people are willing to talk about the subject. There are however, many people and industries willing to send a completely opposite message. And the marketing begins in elementary school or even younger.
“Less is more” is the message screaming at girls when it comes to clothes. In order to be in style you’ve got to be wearing the latest trends, and those latest trends generally don’t have much fabric to them, or the fabric they do consist of is very tight.
Young girls hear dressing this way is embracing their strength as a woman and expressing their femininity and sexuality.
So what do we do with that?
Have you ever been salmon fishing? Me neither. But I hear salmon swim upstream against the current when migrating. That’s what it looks like for us to talk to girls about modesty.
We need to start swimming upstream.
I know there are many reasons to encourage modesty in young girls, but the number one reason on my list is: clothing choices communicate where value is found. Women who dress to receive compliments or attention (Ah-hemm, you can’t see this but I’m raising my hand ever so slightly) do so because they desire the approval and admiration of others. Who doesn’t like receiving a compliment? Or a little attention?
But when girls push fashion lines to the edge so the opposite sex will notice them, so they can feel better because they look “good”, that’s when we, as parents, teachers, and youth leaders need to pay attention.
God tells us to guard our bodies as a temple because it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. If we are walking in faith, we are called to live differently than the rest of the world. We are called protect our bodies. Our identity is rooted in Christ, not in the attention or attraction of others.
Now, I understand this is sometimes easier said than done, and it takes a long time to learn! I love clothes! I love dressing nicely! I love being creative with what I’ve got in my closet and expressing a part of myself through what I wear! But it is possible to do so in a modest way.
We need to be willing to teach girls, no matter how young, they are valued, they have inner and outer beauty, they don’t need to look or act like the rest of the world in order to feel good about themselves! That is what it looks like to go salmon fishing when it comes to modesty.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
who lives in you and was given to you by God?
You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.
So you must honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Carrie Gleeson currently serves on staff at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina as the Director of Commitment Class, a ministry for 8th grade students interested in figuring out what it means to live life as a follower of Jesus. She is passionate about living life authentically and transparently with teenagers. She grew up in Hopkins, MN, received her degree from the University of Nebraska, and worked for Youth for Christ until joining CPC’s staff in 2012.