When I get dressed and look in the mirror, I’m often excited because I love my outfit but I’m nervous about the perceptions of others. There is so much that goes through my head before I walk out of the door. Will men say that I’m not wifey material because I'm showing a little cleavage? Will Christians say that I’m a sinner? Is this dress too short to wear to work? Is this appropriate for my body type? Or what will my mama say? When the most important question that I should ask myself is, “how do I feel about what I’m wearing?” Because my own perception of me is what matters more than anybody’s.
Do I want to get married? Yes, I do. Do I want to be a servant of God? Yes, I do. Do I want to be a CEO? Yes, I do. But to be those things I must first be confident and happy with who I am as a woman, how I feel about who I’m looking at in the mirror, and how she defines me. That is called confidence. We should focus more on this, rather than the clothes on my body that in your opinion I should or shouldn’t wear. I’m not saying that a woman should not consider her clothing and whether she’s revealing too much, but what I’m saying is who defines what’s appropriate and inappropriate. One person’s definition is completely different from another. Some old school, some new school. For example, I’ve seen some First Ladies in the church over the years wearing hats and suits faithfully, but today I see some First Ladies in pants, halter tops, crop tops and look very tasteful, might I add.
The word of God says in 1 Timothy 2: 9-10 “…women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”
Let’s talk a little bit about what that means. It doesn’t mean anti-fashion and that you have to walk around simple and plain, but it’s more so about Godly ways and presenting yourself in a manner that demonstrates that you’re a Christian. I think we should worry more about a woman who’s covered from head toe but cursing nonstop and keeping up mess, rather than a woman in a sundress with her back out but exuding gracefulness and class. To me, that’s modest. Some people will be dressy and more stylish, while others are fine with a more simple style. There is no harm either way, but being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and your values is always the IT Fashion. It’s also a cultural thing. Women in the Bible were living in a completely different time. I believe that we should wear what’s culturally presentable and respectful for today.
What do you do when the woman you look at in the mirror is showing a little cleavage happens to be a Christian but feels amazing in her outfit? “take it off.” That’s what my mama would say, but what I would say is ask yourself some questions. Not questions regarding the perceptions of others? But questions regarding the perceptions of yourself. After gathering feedback from a variety of men and women of different ages and backgrounds. Here are the questions that I came up with:
1. Do I feel any convictions in my spirit telling me not to wear that outfit? or to wear it. You know that gut feeling that tells you when you’re doing something wrong. That could be the Holy Spirit speaking to you.
2. Where am I going in this outfit? Am I going to church, work, a date, a concert. Because some outfits are inappropriate for certain environments. Me personally, I wouldn’t wear a halter top sundress to church. Would I wear it on a date or to brunch, yes!
3. What image do I want to portray and is this outfit the best choice for that image? For example, do I want to be the boss of this department or a general employee? If it’s the boss, I would choose business professional and business casual attire, not something you would typically throw on to wear to a lounge after work. If you are going on a date wear something cute and appealing, but not something that would make the man get the wrong idea at the end of the night. For example, you can wear a cute dress that shows your curves, but I wouldn’t wear one with your butt and breast hanging out. Keep it classy. You won’t him to focus on you, not your body. However, I do realize that his lustful thoughts are his problem.
4. Do I feel beautiful in this outfit? If you don’t, take it off. You should feel amazing in whatever you wear. Whether it’s yoga pants or dress. If I’m second guessing my outfit, normally I’m going to feel uncomfortable in it and less confident. Wear what you’re comfortable in and what makes you feel most confident.
We often quote the scripture that says “when a man finds a wife he finds a good thing,” but today I find that many men think just the opposite. They think they are the gift, which is one of the craziest things about dating today! In a society where men are outnumbered by women, it has developed a pack of men who are choosy lovers. As a result, I often hear that some men struggle with being faithful in their relationships or making the decision to commit or get married because they think there could be someone better out there. I understand that women tend to outnumber men. In fact, African American women outnumber black men by 1.5 million due to jail or death, according to the New York Times. This is an outstanding statistic, but I want to remind men and whoever else is reading this of the late Bobby Womack’s words, “You see GOD, if HE see that you don't want something that's good for you HE takes it away and give it to somebody else that HE feels that can use it.” Bobby Womack, “I’m Through” Facts of Life.
Any man who is in a relationship with a woman or dating her and leading her to believe that the relationship is headed somewhere while he is considering walking away the minute miss perfect comes along is a person who is double minded, selfish and maybe even arrogant or ignorant to what God intended a wife to be. None of that is of God! If he hasn’t worked those issues out within himself, he is not ready to be in a healthy relationship with any woman. I think that many people have false expectations as to what a husband or wife should be and what a marriage should look like. One thing it’s definitely not is perfection, but it is the joining of two imperfect people together to accomplish the perfect will of God. In addition to that, what makes a man think that he has the authority to judge a woman so hard? Matthew 7:5 says “how can you look at the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but not see the log in your own eye?” How can he not see that when a woman receives him that she too is receiving a flawed individual? How can he not know that there is someone better than him?
This may not be true for all men, but for those who feel like this, the fact is, yes there could be someone better out there depending on how you define it, but what God gives you is always the best for you. He is the main source that anyone should consult regarding a romantic partnership, especially when it comes to marriage. So the question isn’t whether or not there’s someone better, but rather “God what is Your best for me?” After conducting more research on this topic, I also discovered another common reason men often ponder the question of whether or not there is someone better than who he’s with is due to his past. Whether it is past issues and lingering hurt from old relationships or the exposure to unhealthy relationships growing up as a child, it all contributes to an internal vow not to commit to the wrong person. This fear can cause him to fail at a number of relationships, and even lose amazing women that could potentially be the love of his life. This is a common thing with a variety of men, but even more common with African American men in America who at high numbers grew up without fathers in their life or home. Ladies pray for the men you know and that he will not fall victim to this fear. Pray that his steps will be ordered by the Lord, as the steps of a good man are according to the word of God. (Psalm 37:23)
As a child, I was taught not to drink spoiled milk because it may make me sick. I grew up checking expiration dates, and sometimes taking a whiff of the jug to make sure that the milk didn’t smell sour. The word of God says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “bad company ruins good morals,” and just like spoiled, sour milk toxic friendships and negative people can ruin you.
The people you are connected to can either hinder you or propel you to your destiny. Throughout the word of God, you’ll see several examples of how God connected people who helped each other; for example, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Moses and Aaron. These friendships were divine connections that accomplished a God given purpose, and these people added value to each other’s lives. The people in our lives should bring something that wasn’t there before, and it’s wise to consider just what the people in your life are bringing. Is it love, encouragement, positivity, growth or peace? Or is it drama, stress, bad morals and negativity? If it’s the latter, maybe your friendship has spoiled!
I advise you to start checking the expiration dates on some of these friendships and relationships of yours before your life, future, job, marriage and whatever else could suffer due to their negative influence is ruined. It may not sound like much to you, but it is a very serious matter.
Here are some tips on how to recognize friendships/relationships that have reached their expiration dates:
Letting go of people can be difficult, but it's necessary and scary if you don't. You don't want to miss out on your destiny because you have infectious people in your life. Let them go, and watch God send you better.
Have any of you ever had girlfriends that seem to fall off the face of the earth the minute they get a man? Or do you have those married friends who only make girl time when it’s convenient for the hubby? You know, that infamous text that says something along the lines of “Hey, Ben is going out of town this weekend, do you want to hang out,” or that awkward conversation when she says, “I need to find some married friends.” And you’re sitting there like, “oh really?”
Take a look at my friends standing around me in the picture above. One thing that they all have in common is that they are either married or seriously dating someone. There are times when I wish things were how they used to be, but when I think about their stories I am filled with joy. Many of them I’ve cried with, laughed with and stood in the gap praying with for the amazing men God has now placed in their lives. To find real love is a perfect gift from God, and I’ve always been extremely supportive and happy for each of them. Because of that, I’m also understanding of the fact that they are building a life-long commitment with someone. They may not have time for girl’s night and may not jump on a plane for a weekend girls trip as quick as they used to, but when I think of the definition of a friend, my friends fit that description because they are there for me when I need them. When I call, they answer. When they haven't heard from me in a while, they pick up the phone to see how I am and still make room for girl time every now and then. I would rather have true genuine friends like this, then someone whose only worried about partying, drinking and other things that don’t really matter.
You may be thinking, well should things really change now that she’s married and has a few kids? My answer is YES! Because I believe that we are supposed to “leave to cleave” Gen 2:24. Meaning that, we are supposed to leave our father, mother, and FRIENDS to become one with the love of our lives. If things didn’t change, people would then start saying things like, “I thought she was married but she’s out every weekend. Does she ever spend time with her husband?” Now, does this mean that a married woman should drop their friends? NO! Should she not spend time with her friends? NO! If you think your friend has truly fallen off as a friend and you feel some type of way about it, be woman enough to talk to your friend and have a conversation. Sometimes we create our own issues by simply making assumptions. You don’t know what she’s dealing with in her life. Now, if she has no valid reason and simply does not care, then you may need to reevaluate your friendship with that person. Maybe their season is up!
I’m not in a relationship and I have never been married, but I believe that there is something that I get from my friends that make me better for my personal relationships. For example, there are things that I can talk about with my girls that a man can’t help me with. For example, a man! When I get with my girls we talk about those things that only your sisters can relate to. We share ideas, thoughts, celebrate each other and pray for one other. My prayer for you today is that you will take a moment to reflect on your friendships and make sure that you haven’t lost or on the verge of losing them. Call to check on your friends, schedule monthly outings, and support each other. Also, if you are married, reach back and teach your single friends what you’ve learned. If they are struggling with bad relationships or need to work on themselves, speak the truth in love. You have been able to accomplish something that they have not, maybe there is something that you know that they don’t.
A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17
Check out these tips on what you can do to keep healthy friendships going, Girl Time!!!