A Model on a Mission for Modesty

When professional model Rachel Lee Carter became a believer, her understanding of the importance of modesty took time to develop. She shared the following story with Covenant Eyes

About ten years into my career I was asked to model a bra for a department store catalog. I had never modeled lingerie before but wasn’t dead set against it. I justified it telling myself, “Even Christian women wear lingerie.” Besides, this wasn’t smutty underwear—it was full-coverage lingerie. I booked the job without counting the cost and the pictures came out in Sunday’s paper.

During this time, I was just about to launch the ministry Modeling Christ. I went to my pastor, to seek an endorsement, but instead he gently prompted me to consider just what I had been modeling. He confronted me, in love but with firmness, on appearing in the lingerie advertisements. I felt stubborn and immovable, but I told him I would pray about it. I must confess I didn’t understand because I felt the clothes were modest. What irony. This is how I know modest is a relative term. It means different things to different people.

My pastor proceeded to tell me men think differently than women do, and that even though the garments weren’t revealing to me, they still had the potential to make men stumble. I wondered just how that was my problem. He went on to tell me many men had come to him in need of counseling because they were struggling with pornography. At this point I began to feel anger because my modeling was definitely not pornography. As he gently continued, he shared with me most of these Christian men admitted their lusting and stumbling began with the images seen in a typical Sunday paper…the kind of images I was appearing in. The way I heard it—and the way he intended it—was these kinds of ads were an introduction to pornography. One thing I understood for certain: men do think differently than women.

I did pray about it, but I struggled with the concept. I wrestled with the idea of needing to change the way I dressed because of the potential my choices had in making someone else falter in their faith or in aiding pornography. But the more I prayed and sincerely wanted to know God’s will, the more my heart became convicted of the matter. My heart was changed, not because of my pastor (though God used him to initiate it), but because God cares about this issue. God did create men to be different from women.

When I accepted this standard and asked for God’s forgiveness (for my unyielding spirit and for any damage I may have already caused another), I realized I’d have to explain to my agency I would no longer be available to model lingerie. This was a difficult task because I feared their judgment. Fortunately they appreciated my honesty and conviction and removed it from my status list…

The reason I share this story is to convey the importance our decisions have on others and on our walk with the Lord. As moms, we must model dignity and modesty to our kids. The Word of God is clear: I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety (a love for spiritual things)…appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).

It can be easy for us as women to look harshly upon other Christian women who dress immodestly, but we need to realize that many simply haven’t been taught biblical principles of modesty. Like Rachel’s pastor, we need to look for opportunities to lovingly teach others what God’s Word has to say about feminine beauty, and soon they may be passing those truths on to others just like Rachel is…

Rachel Lee Carter has recently written a book on the topic of modesty entitled Fashioned by Faith.

3 thoughts on “A Model on a Mission for Modesty

  1. I love this! I dressed the most immodestly I have ever dressed during the first two years of my Christian life, simply because no one had ever taught me differently. Once it was explained to me (gently and with compassion), my heart began to change. It’s taken awhile, but my wardrobe has changed.

    And on another note, I think one of the best ways to teach younger girls about modesty is to simply dress that way. They’ll copy you, if you put the effort into looking good.

    Finally, I’m so glad someone is trying to repeal the idea that modesty must mean frumpiness! I think it encourages the opposite – since I can’t wear short-shorts and tiny tank-tops, I have to find other ways to look “fashionable”. I don’t have the luxury of dressing lazily (since for whatever reason, at least in college, lazy fashion is often the most immodest), so if I’m going to put forth effort, I might as well channel some of that effort into looking cute.

  2. Glad you both enjoyed the article & video.

    Emily, thank you for sharing your own experience and growth in this area. I think you’re right about the importance of providing a good example to younger women by dressing modestly. They do pay attention to us, whether we realize it or not! Praise the Lord for placing others in your life who could show you how to bring honor to Him with your clothing choices. It does, as you say, take some effort, but in the end it will always be worth it. And you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with channeling some of that time & effort into finding clothes that look cute! =)

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