Friday, April 26, 2013

modesty in the instagram era

Modesty is something Christian circles like to push, and for great reason. Modesty, or the synonym humility, is one of those virtues that, by nature, gets overlooked sometimes. Modest is quiet and not out there to get noticed. We often speak about modesty when we're talking to shapely young women about how to dress, but is it possible that modesty extends to every aspect of our lives?

  1. The quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities.
  2. The quality of being relatively moderate, limited, or small in amount, rate, or level.
humility - moderation - decency - demureness

So, if we are supposed to be demure and humble in every aspect of our life, is it even possible to be modest on Instagram? How about on the pages of my blog? It's hard for me to reconcile modesty with also running a blog. It's all my favorite design, and the thoughts on those pages are my own, put out there for thousands to read. 

1 Thessalonians 4:11--Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Why would one want to be modest in online life? 

David Guzik speaks to 1 Thessalonians 4:11 in his Bible commentary:
The quiet life contradicts a hugely successful cult: entertainment and excitement.  
This cult has:a god: self 
an army of priests: celebrities 
a set of scriptures: tabloids and the like 
a creed: the demand for "excitement" 
countless places of worship: amusement parks, theaters, concert halls, sports arenas, and every TV is a little chapel  
This cult seduces people into living their lives for one thing - the thrill of the moment. 
But these thrills are quickly over and forgotten, and all that is important is the next fun thing. This cult numbs us so that the only question we ask is "is it fun?" It never wants us to ask, "Is it true?" "Is it right?" "Is it good?" "Is it godly?"  
If you know nothing of the quiet life, then when do you really listen to God? When do you get to know Him? The quiet life can listen to God.
How do I reconcile this warning against a cult of entertainment with the fact that I'm constantly putting entertainment out there? How, as women of Influence, can we make our online lives more about Jesus and less about us individually? How can I be sure that I'm constantly pointing to Him rather than to my cute J. Crew clothes or even my cute baby?

This is something I haven't figured out and I walk in that tension daily. I know that the chance to speak truth at high amplification is huge blessing and gift of writing online. But, I also know that very amplification can also be my downfall. Am I putting out more entertainment than truth? Am I putting out more of me than Him? Am I creating an air of "celebrity" on my blog? Am I idolizing something other than the Lord on my blog/social media presence?

How do you personally reconcile the nature of online life with the call to modesty? Have you felt this tension?


  1. This was so right on time, Hayley! I am currently reconstructing my blog, my YouTube channel and my life overall as I go through a series of life/business management workshops. I want to make sure that honoring God by living a humble life is my primary goal in everything I do, not that I just do/write/record whatever I want and pray He gets some glory out of it somewhere in the shadows od the "Ashley's Life" show. My husband is really good about encouraging me in this area. Whenever I have another fantastical idea, he always makes me sit down and figure out exactly what my purpose is before I make any moves.

    I'll definitely be sharing this.


  2. I don't have a call to modesty, myself.

  3. Amazing Hayley! Thank you for posting!

  4. This is something I struggle with: fighting against the world's {and sometimes, fellow Christian's} push, telling me that I need to be more; to make myself known. But I also think that by showing others glimpses into our lives {Instagram} and sharing what he's been teaching us {on our blogs} we can point to Him... giving Him credit for all the goodness in our lives... including the outfit or craft project we share.

  5. I guess I've felt this tension, but named it more narcissism because I share my outfit photos on Instagram and my blog. I've had times when I've struggled with my reasoning/purpose for sharing these types of posts. But I get so many wonderful replies from women that have been inspired to work with what they have, go thrifting, search their Goodwill for treasures, and are just generally inspired to try something new that I no longer feel that tension as much. I feel like those posts have a much larger purpose than just taking pictures of myself in a cute outfit. I'll have periods where I feel like I'm letting it get to be a bit too much, so I take a break from the outfit photos until I feel like the tension has eased.

  6. I used to have a mommy blog with a large following and was even making some decent money from it but it began to consume me as well as my other social media outlets- Facebook, twitter, Pinterest. God spoke to me about it and I prayed for awhile and then I deleted them all.

    My sanctification has rocketed since then! I did keep Instagram and I do use it as a platform to witness. Posting scripture regularly, my bio states that I follow Jesus first and foremost.

    You really nailed it when you said we are idol using ourselves instead of glorifying God.

    Great post :)

  7. Dumb auto correct... Should say idolizing :)

  8. What a great post. I don't usually think of "modesty" as being beyond clothing choices, so this was a great reminder that it means so much more. It's so easy to be focused on self (or others) in the blog world. When I'm able to humble myself and blog modestly and instead point to Christ, He is able to shine without me getting in the way. That's my desire, but I so easily forget and think it's about me. Thanks Hayley.

  9. i feel like there's a fine line between celebrating who we are as women of God online, and blogging for pure narcissism. i do believe that God wants us to celebrate and love ourselves, to create relationships with others no matter if it's through blogs or coffee shops....but i definitely see how this can quickly spiral into immodesty. it's hard finding that humble approach on a blog; even still, sometimes i ask myself, "why do i blog?" but i think my motive is more to write inspiring things for others and help create connection between women. occasionally, i post photos of myself and loved ones, but i do hope that my blog is less of a narcissistic thing and more of a God thing. it's like, i can we share who we are through Christ with others, without being somewhat self-centered? i definitely need to try to convey this more though--thanks for this post!

    grace & love,

  10. One of my pastors has spoken several times at church about how the elders and pastors will be judged more in heaven, because teachers simply have that upon them. While I don't dwell on that (and get overwhelmed by it), I do consider it. I try to keep my hands open around my blog, I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me in all that I write and say, I pray that my readers will see Jesus, and I pray for good community.
    I think the tension is good, because if we get comfortable we forget our focus. Our focus is for everybody and their Mom to meet Jesus. And I think that can be our prayer, regardless of our blog size.

  11. great post and so many things to think about. Living on the north shore of Oahu--the topic of Modesty is on my mind a lot…even the Christian girls run around with the tiniest bikinis and my son's friends are often instagramming themselves that way. Ahh--whats a mom to do!? We talk about modesty, and in my blog I do pray that all I do gives glory to God, but it is certainly a tricky subject. Thanks for bringing it up!

  12. Thank you for being so transparent and for asking the hard questions :)

  13. This is an amazing post and something that I battle with daily. As a blogger, I have to check my own motives often. Even when posting on Instagram. We all post to "spread the word" and inform but walking that fine line of posting or writing as an act of worship versus for "entertainment" (literally. "Look at what Im doing/wearing/eating/etc) for numbers or attention, I believe we have failed. NOW! I do not believe there is anything wrong with the random "look at this posts...." - its all about our motives. The why behind the what.

    Thank you for this post....... I love the perspective of living modestly. I love it.
    Instagram: amayes


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...