For this next sneak peak of Beyond Your Wardrobe, I am going to share an excerpt from chapter 5 - "It's What's Inside that Counts." My next post about the book will be when it is finally available. If you want to learn more, stay tuned to this blog!
One of the problems I see with the way modesty is addressed in many churches is that it is almost exclusively based on the clothes you wear. Although some churches get it right, others struggle with making it all about the rules without addressing your heart attitude. The truth is that attitude is everything when it comes to modesty. Most of us don’t think of that, but it remains true:
The way that you dress reflects the condition of your heart.
This concept really should make you think twice when you get dressed in the morning. Your outside reflects what’s happening inside your heart. This means that there may be times when a woman may be appropriately covered, but because she still has an unhealthy desire for attention, she has an immodest attitude. In moments when I encounter young women like this, it grieves me to see them reflecting the struggles of their hearts in their clothing choices. This is why it’s important to make sure your insides match your outsides.
Before we dive into the main passage for this chapter, I want to take a look at a story about when one of God’s prophets had to learn a lesson about physical beauty. Samuel would be the last of the judges that reigned over Israel when they were governed by a theocracy (letting God be their king with human judges being God’s spokesman), but the people insisted on having a king so that they could be like the nations around them. Samuel was upset that they wouldn’t listen to God, but God assured Samuel that it would be alright and that He would reveal the right man to Samuel. The man God chose was named Saul. Through a series of events, Saul and one of his father’s servants found themselves in the same town as Samuel and God revealed that this man was meant to be king. Samuel probably knew Saul was king material from the first time he looked at him. The Scriptures tell us that Saul was tall and handsome (1 Samuel 9:2). Anointing him probably seemed like a no-brainer. God said Saul would be the one to save Israel from the Philistines. It all sounded very promising.
However, it didn’t take very long for King Saul to stop listening to the Lord’s instruction. On more than one occasion, Saul only obeyed part of the Lord’s commands instead of all of them. He started to try to solve problems on his own and do things his way. After multiple offenses and warnings, Samuel declared that the Lord had rejected Saul as king and would choose another to take his place. Eventually, the Lord would send Samuel to see Jesse of Bethlehem to choose one of his sons to anoint as the next king of Israel. To make sure that Saul would not discover his plan, God told Samuel to invite Jesse and his sons to offer a sacrifice with him. As they were doing so, Samuel saw Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab. Samuel thought for sure that he would be the Lord’s anointed. But God said to him,
“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)
At the end of the day, after seeing seven of Jesse’s sons, Samuel asked to see the youngest. When David arrived, straight from the fields with the herds, the Lord confirmed that he would be the Lord’s anointed.
I think it’s interesting to note that although David was described as having beautiful eyes, he was also described as being “ruddy,” or reddish, in appearance. I believe that David didn’t immediately strike Samuel’s eye as being king material, especially since Saul had been tall and handsome. I think that’s part of the reason that the Lord had to essentially tell Samuel, “I’m picking this man for his heart, not his appearance. Be prepared, because this guy might not be much to look at.”
We live in a world where we judge everyone and everything by external appearances. But in this story, we learn that God doesn’t judge a book by its cover. He cares more about our hearts being in line with His will than He does about our physical appearance. Saul might have been easy on the eyes, but he didn’t have his heart in line with the Lord. David, on the other hand, may not have been much to look at as a ruddy shepherd, but he had the heart willing to do what God asked of him. He later became remembered as a man after God’s own heart. Like David, if your heart is in the right place, that makes you beautiful to God, no matter what anyone else says. I believe that this is a lesson that we all need to learn...
Like what you read so far? Then make plans to order your copy of Beyond Your Wardrobe today! Preorder is available now for the ebook through any of the following links:
Paperback will be available on Amazon and
Barnes & Noble by February 21, 2020.
To help promote my book, I am going to be giving a sneak peak of the contents, one this week and one next week. Each one will be a section of a chapter that will hopefully give you a taste of what the book is about. This first sneak peak is the first few pages of Chapter 1 - "Lies We Believe About Physical Beauty". It features a story from my college trip to New York City. If you enjoy it, make sure to like and share it to spread the word. Thanks ~ Bethel
While I was a student at a Christian college, I got to spend a week in New York City for a seminar class. That trip was an experience I will never forget. I had never been to New York, and it was only the second time in my life I had traveled by airplane. This class called “Exegeting the City” helped us learn how to make Christianity work in an urban context. I learned so much on that trip, but there is one experience that stands out from the others because it taught me a lot about what the world perceives about fashion and beauty.
One of the points that our professor was trying to communicate to us is that rich people are people, just like you and me, even if there was a cultural gap between us. To help us bridge the gap, we were given a special assignment. Together we walked to one of the fanciest retail stores in the United States, Bergdorf Goodman’s. We were given instructions to go into the store, find the formal clothing department, and try those clothes on. The men went to the men’s store across the street and the ladies when into the women’s store. Even before we got to the formal wear department, we all felt like a fish out of water. We finally got to the formal gowns, it was like we were on a completely different planet. We looked through the dresses together, but most of us were scared about trying them on since we would have to ask the attendants. I was quite nervous myself, but I had been preparing myself to do this since I had a friend tell me about this assignment. So I was the brave one that asked first. I will never forget the contrast in the attendants’ reactions. The first one was polite and helpful, as would be expected. She even let me know that the dress was available in other colors. But the other one gave me a glance that said, “You don’t have enough money to be touching that dress.” I guess my clothes had given away that I was not part of the first percent clientele that they usually served. But that glance of judgment based on my clothes is something I have never forgotten.
The nice attendant helped me to my fitting room and eventually, the other girls worked up the courage to ask as well. The fitting room was the size of my current bedroom. (Ok, maybe not, but it was still huge). It even had one of those round modeling podiums. The dress I picked was a silver strapless mermaid with layered fabric. Although it was pretty, it almost seemed like the kind of dress I could find in the prom department of a local department store. I’m sure the materials were superior quality, but it didn’t seem like the kind of dress I would search for in a store like this. I took some pictures and took the dress off. Up to this point, I don’t think I had taken notice of the price. But I wanted to make sure I documented it, so I finally looked at the price tag: $4,330. I remember thinking to myself: who in their right mind would pay this much for a dress like this? Part of me started to think that the rude attendant had a point.
Addressing the Lies
I believe this sales attendant had bought into the many lies that the culture fed her about a women’s value. In our culture today, we believe a lot of things that just aren’t true, whether we realize it or not. Buying into them will cause us to live our lives apart from what God has in store for us. So many of the lies we believe can be as a result of deception from our own emotions or our struggles with shame. Either way, it makes us harder for those of us that are trying to live our lives in light of the truth.
To me, some of the most pressing lies we face have to do with our self-worth and our physical appearance. This is an area of life that can very easily be influenced by the father of lies, making us question who we are and why our lives even matter. Because the beauty standards that society puts before us are nearly impossible to obtain, we spend our time chasing something we can never reach and therefore are never satisfied. If we don’t learn how to have our identity firmly rooted in Christ, we will never find the heart motivation behind the need for modesty in our world today. So we are going to begin this journey by walking through several different lies many of us have come to believe about our physical appearance...
Like what you read so far? Then make plans to order your copy of Beyond Your Wardrobe today! Preorder is available now for the ebook through any of the following links:
Paperback will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and more by February 21, 2020.
In case you haven't heard the news yet, I have a BIG announcement to make:
I am about to self-publish my first book – Beyond Your Wardrobe: Finding Freedom in Embracing God’s Call to Modesty and Unfading Beauty
It’s hard for me to believe that this dream is finally becoming a reality. Just a few months ago, it seemed like a dream that would take years to achieve. But around Christmas last year, it became clear that this was possible and attainable. When trying to decide what the book should be about, the topic of modesty was always at the top of my list. It’s surprising to me how quickly the words and the messages came together, but I guess that’s what happens when you let God use something you are passionate about. I have invested so much of my time and energy into this project, but I have also poured my heart in a message I believe God wants me to proclaim to women and teen girls that need to hear it. I hope that you will be willing to support me on this journey. Let me know if you have any questions about the book or how I'm publishing it ~ Bethel
Does this word make you want to cringe? Do you have images in your head of a woman wearing dresses from a hundred years ago, never going on a date? Do you have memories of strict rules or dress codes that drive you crazy? Then maybe you’ve had some of the following thoughts run through your head. “I don’t want to wear clothes that are out of style!” “Modesty is so out of date.” “I should be able to dress however I want; it’s my body.” Maybe, the opposite is true for you. You’ve always wanted to dress modestly, but you have a hard time standing strong in your convictions when the world tries to sell you so many lies about modesty and beauty. You wished everyone valued modesty as you do, but no one around you seems to value your standards for fashion. Either way, we all feel weighed down by a standard it seems no one can keep. It makes us ask the question: is modesty really all about clothes and keeping rules?
In my new book, Beyond Your Wardrobe, you will learn that modesty is about so much more than the clothes we wear or keeping a bunch of rules. Instead, modesty is an attitude that once you learn to adapt it will lead to a life of freedom in Christ. This begins when we choose to recognize that much of what we believe about modesty and physical beauty are lies that we must reject, least we remain in bondage to them. Then we lay the foundation for learning the truth about this incredible character trait through the lens of God’s word. Breaking down many key Scriptures into our current cultural context, it becomes clear that when we embrace our identity in Christ, you will naturally desire to dress modestly, not out of obligation, but out of gratitude for what He has done for you. Then you will look at yourself the way that God does, and you will learn how to adapt your wardrobe to be appropriate for every situation. When you do, your perspective on modesty and clothes will never be the same. With the inclusion of an appendix about male modesty and links to videos and articles online, this will not be like any Christian modesty book you’ve read before. Instead, it will be an invitation on a journey to discovering the beauty and power that modesty has for all who are will to embrace it. I hope you will consider joining me on this incredible journey.
Around February 21, 2020, the paperback will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu Press. The e-book will be available on Kindle, Nook, Lulu Press, iBooks, Google Books and more. If you want to learn more about this book and this project, stay tuned to this blog!
As I was a part of the launch for their last book a year ago (Love Defined), I heard they were planning on releasing another book this year. But I admit I was surprised when I heard about the topic. Not because I didn’t think they would do a great job, but because it was very closely related to the subject of their last book. Not to mention that I have read many books on the subject over the years, I was curious if they would be able to provide a newer perspective for a generation of young women who don’t want to do when it comes to the subject of biblical sexuality. But in the end, I was not disappointed. What I found I liked the best about the book is that it doesn’t feel like some purity books that are written by older women that give lists of do’s and don’ts. This was written in a friendly tone by sisters who feel like they are your big sisters, trying to help you understand what to do with this confusing topic in an honest and vulnerable way. I am so grateful that that Kristen and Bethany were willing to address this topic, and that they remind us that even though we have all experienced some form of sexual brokenness, God can and will redeem all of it in His time for His glory. If a girl is the right age (see my ratings at the end of the review), this is a book I would definitely recommend ~ Bethel
Purity. It’s made to feel like a dirty word in our culture, because it is something that our culture refuses to honor. And even those of us that try to honor it eventually come to realize that the impurity of the culture around us has seeped into our hearts and minds. We have a hard trying to wrap our minds around the topics of purity and sexuality in a God-honoring way, but we are afraid to ask the questions that will help us find answers and freedom. We are scared that we are the only one that has questions or struggles, so we clam up and are left in fear. It makes us ask the question: how can I learn the truth about God-defined sexuality?
In their newest book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girls Heart, sisters Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal help us find the beauty and freedom that comes from choosing to pursue God-honoring sexuality. Helping us see that we all have experienced sexual brokenness and struggles with lust, they help us identify where our culture has steered us wrong by identifying four lies about our sexual design and challenging us to replace them with truths from God’s word about the way He designed our sexuality. They offer tools for combating temptations and the battles within your mind and take time to address many specific questions about “hush hush” topics and questions that they asked their readers during a survey. And finally, they help us see that God has help us walk the path of freedom from past and present struggles with our sexuality, helping all of us see that God can redeem anything in His time, including our sexuality, if we choose to walk in faith and surrender to Him. This book is much needed and powerful. It’s the kind of book I wished I had as a teenager. Kristen and Bethany are honest and relevant in their writing style, and have a genuine heart to help girls and women get back to the women God intended them to be. This is a book that I recommend to women and girls about 16 and older. Get your copy today!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of my involvement in the book's launch team and for the purpose of this review
Teen Rating. The reason I am giving it a lower rating in this category is that I would struggle to recommend this book to a younger teenager. I think that some of the topics discussed could cause a loss of some innocence if she is not to that level of maturity (I am not mentioning these topics by name for concern about teens that may read this review). But at the same time, I do recognize that these topics are completely and totally necessary to discuss. I would recommend it for girls about 16 or older. For teens 15 or younger, I would recommend Bethany and Kristen's last book, Love Defined, as a better starting point for their age
When I first heard that a local church was going to be doing a women’s bible study through this book, I was so excited. Not only had this book been sitting on my shelf for a quite a while waiting to be read, but I was excited to be a part of an adult women’s study for the first time. When you have the opportunity to hear the author reading or quoting their book in their own voice, it makes that message all the more meaning, and that made the videos from the study curriculum the icing on the cake for me. I was blown away by how relevant is book and the topic of rejection is to my life, not just my current circumstances, but throughout my whole life. It was a blessing to go through this book with a great group of women that together learned how to live loved. I would say that this book is relevant to anyone, regardless of their age and their season of life. I highly recommend this book to pretty much anyone ~ Bethel
Rejection. We all hate it. We all struggle with it. We all find ways to avoid facing it now. We all find ways to avoid dealing with the past. From rejection in relationships from rejection in jobs from rejection from our dreams, all of deal with it. But so few of us actually know how to handle it in healthy ways. So many of us get consumed by it to the point that it prevents us from living our lives to the fullest. Even for those of us that follow the Lord, many of us struggle with feeling like God will inevitably reject us like many of the people around us have. This makes it difficult for us to live our lives in light of God’s grace and make it hard for us to love God and love others. We also become all the more susceptible to Satan’s lies about our identity that can steal our joy, our faith, and our future. It makes us ask the question: Is a constructive and God-honoring way to handle rejection?
In her book Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst helps to see that there is a way to process rejection so that even when we face, we can still live loved in the light of God’s grace. Lysa acknowledges that all of us have or will face rejection at some point in our lives, so that we need to honestly admit when we struggle with it. From many personal stories as well as relevant biblical narratives, Lysa helps us see many aspects of rejection, some that we may have never thought of as part of rejection. But we are reminded that even when it seems like the world has cast us aside, that is not what God is doing to us. He is using the difficulties of our circumstances to set us apart. We are reminded even when rejection seems to run us dry, the Lord can and will fill us up in His time, if we turn to Him. We are also reminded that Jesus chose to take the rejection of mankind onto Himself so that we don’t have to be bound by our circumstances. When we are able to embrace that, then we are able to live loved, even when we face rejection. This book is written in a friendly and relevant tone that anyone can find accessible. Lysa speaks powerfully from the wisdom of her own experience as well as integrating that well with truth from God’s word. I recommend this book to anyone young or old, male or female, especially if you struggle with rejections, past or present. Get your copy today!
Male-Friendly Rating. Although this book was written with adult women in mind, I really think that men can gain a lot from reading this book. It is written in such a way that it nothing inappropriate for men is discussed. In fact, some of the endorsements for the book are written by a few of favorite male authors (Bob Goff and Jefferson Bethke).
Singles-Friendly Rating. I added this rating to this book because, although it is not a relationship book specifically, many women in their singleness struggle with rejection because they’ve lost a relationship or they’ve never been in one before. I know this book personally helped me in this area. I think this book is a must read for single women