Teaching Discretion to Our Daughters

Earlier today, Stacey from Abiding Woman shared an excellent message by Paul Washer on the topic of recovering biblical womanhood. I watched it about an hour ago, and one of his main discussion points was discretion in dress.

The Lord has worked on “recovering” modesty in my dress over the past three years, and more recently, my heart has been concerned about discretion. Discretion is a modesty issue as well. You see, if we aren’t discreet and bring undo attention to ourselves with our clothing, then the clothing isn’t modest, no matter if it covers appropriately or not.

I am not saying that our clothing or accessories can’t be pretty. Take a look at the world around us. It is beautiful, and is all a part of God’s creation! Godliness does not equal plainness. We do not serve a boring or plain God!

That being said, I adore large earrings, and some of my tops are patterned rather wildly, or with jewels. I’ve felt a nudge to tone it down in these areas, and I’m slowly beginning to change my wardrobe.

While my #1 priority is to serve my God, another concern of mine is to be a good example to my daughters. Over the past few months I’ve had to talk “discretion” with my teenage daughter on a few occasions. Thankfully the talks have been graceful, and I haven’t had any rough moments with my almost fourteen-year-old (as of yet). We’ve been able to share from our hearts and appreciate what each other is saying.

A few verses that I use when discussing this topic with my daughters are:

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments…1 Timothy 2:9
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion…Proverbs 11:22

While 1 Timothy 2:9 is specifically talking about discretion in dress, we should teach our daughter’s to be discreet in our speech and actions as well. What is the best way to do this? To model it ourselves! We cannot expect for them to be discreet if we are not first.

Believe me, I am not immune to following trends without thinking discretion first. A few years ago I was this close to putting a streak of pink in my hair! I thought the trend was cute, but in the end, discretion won out.

Above all, we need to maintain a spirit of grace, since the definition of discretion will most likely vary from family to family and from culture to culture. We can see however that we shouldn’t dress in such a way to bring undue attention to ourselves. Would I love it if the “rules” of discretion were more plainly spelled out for us. I believe that so many women do not think of this as something applicable to today. Or they might think of discretion as an abstract quality that does not apply to appearance.

How does your family practice discretion?

19 thoughts on “Teaching Discretion to Our Daughters

  1. kate gold says:

    Heels should be a no-no, because of a guy’s “birds eye view” with the cleavage matter-
    the guys are already seeing from above, but to tilt ourselves, so our (TMI?) breasts
    are ever more visible, seems unnecessary….

    • Nicole says:

      We personally try to maintain our shirt necklines close to our collarbone so cleavage will not show. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Danielle B says:

    I don’t subscribe to legalism. I love my high heeled shoes 3+” I’m short, I wear them for height, and they give a more polished look, unlike flat shoes, which give a relaxed, laid back, don’t care look.

    Standing out with floor length skirts, being all covered up is immodest too. BALANCE!!

    Be carefully what you are calling ungodly. Seems like you like adding rules to the word of God. The legalism cult is screaming loud and clear, and GOD doesn’t do mess like that. Sounds like you are listening to the devil more than god. The devils twists the word. He was once in Heaven too!

    And really, by your list of rules, your daughter in your picture is immodest with her sleeveless shirt on.

    Be a plain jane, but be careful, as to what you call ungodly and godly.

    • Nicole says:

      As I stated earlier, I’m sharing some of the standards we use in our family that are not all necessarily biblical. Please take a look at God’s word yourself when choosing your clothing standards. I’m a shorty myself and used to wear high heels regularly. There is absolutely nothing godly (god like) about them, but I didn’t say that they were ungodly either. Blessings!

  3. Sarah says:

    Thank you for sharing. Some people may scream legalist, but it’s so encouraging to get others take on the latest fashion trends. Some are harmless, and some do draw so much attention to ourselves and our daughters. I am short as well, but I love clogs-Dansko brand. They are about 2 1/2 inches but not flashy.

  4. Trish says:

    Nicole I don’t think you’re being a legalist at all. Boy, if you are, than I’m in big trouble! each of us needs to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit beyond just the “rules” that are contained in Scripture or our church discipline. I don’t have a problem with lower heels, but I think wearing shoes that cause you to walk suggestively or look sexy is obviously not discreet. and before anyone accuses me of being a prude, I’m not at all. I just think that sexiness should not be on display in public. Maybe we should all ask ourselves “what are my intentions in wearing this___?” and let God search our hearts. I think Christians need to be careful not to call others legalists just because someone has more conservative convictions than they do. I have experienced this because of my own convictions and it’s very hurtful to hear that someone you looked up to has criticized you for daring to be different.

  5. Sarah D says:

    This post made me think! I’d never considered it indiscreet to wear mismatched clothing, ridiculously high heels, or funky nail polish. I just thought it was too “flashy”. =) I think you’re right, though, with your assessment. Those “flashy” things draw attention to us and our person, not pointing one to Christ. Like you said, we might like those things, but it’s not about what we like but that our lives and our outward appearance would glorify God. Personally, in the past, I’d thought about maybe trying my hair burgundy. šŸ˜‰ But, I must be one of those “plain” people. I just keep my hair brown, like God made it; try to have my clothes match; wear low heels (nothing over 2 in.; I’m only 5’2″, so I don’t wear low heels because I’m tall!); I feel uncomfortable wearing flashy nail polish, if I wear any at all (I have small children, so “paint nails” is not a priority). To make myself even plainer, I rarely wear any make-up! This isn’t a “modesty” thing, just a time thing. When I do wear make-up, it has to look natural. I can’t stand looking “made-up”; it’s too fake.
    Sorry for being “wordy”. Thank you for this post! =)

  6. dana says:

    Im okay with not wearing heels over an inch or two. Its not easy to walk in the snow in them and nearly impossible to garden. I usually wear flip flops while doing yard work, planting seeds, & harvesting vegetables. What are your views on flip flops? I disagree with not allowing mismatched socks except for inside the house & away from public view. It seems harmless & maybe even fun for the kids to mix & match patterns. Please clarify the bible verse for me about hair in braids & adorned with pearls & gold. I stick my hair in braids in the hot summer. Is the verse saying its acceptable modestly speaking to wear braids as long as they are not adorned with pearls and/or gold? Or to never wear braids, pearls, & gold together? Thanks.

    • Nicole says:

      Hey Dana! These are my own personal views, and are not necessarily biblical. We love to wear flip flops, and I think the verse about braids, pearls and gold was speaking of Grecian woman. There braids were incredibly elaborate and they wore expensive clothing to say “look at me!” We aren’t to do those types of things in relation to our culture today, but I personally feel that simple braids and jewelry are not what Paul was talking about. šŸ™‚

  7. Erika says:

    Hi Nicole! I found your post on the Homemaking Link-Up. I caught my eye because I posted a link to one of my latest blog posts, Radiating Elegance in a Culture of Magazine Cover Beauty. There are similarities in our posts. I love that you are posting on this subject. It is a subject I have been paying more attention to lately because I have a three-year-old daughter and it is already something I have to be paying attention to. I will help to spread this great post by pinning it.
    ~Erika from MishMashedMe

  8. Jenni says:

    To those making accusations of legalism: Stating the personal standards of one’s self or household on secondary issues as food for thought and encouragement toward Christ-honoring living isn’t legalism — insisting that standards (personal, traditional, or otherwise) not found explicitly in Scripture must be present as evidence of true salvation is legalism. Everything I understood from the content of this post indicates that Nicole simply did the former. It’s totally okay for you to have different personal standards if they, too, line up with the black-and-white of Scripture. Whatever your shoes, Soli Deo Gloria! šŸ™‚

    Nicole, I find it so interesting to personally consider these details of “Practical Theology” as we each seek the best way to obey and honor our Savior, and I really appreciate you sharing with us! I believe it is important to think through all our choices and convictions through the lens of Scripture, even “little” ones.

    Personal story ~ I wear jewelry in good conscience. Several years ago I did stop wearing a few particular pieces, though, because I realized that when I wore them they drew lots of attention to myself (i.e. a huge percentage of people who greeted me – friends, family and strangers – commented on the jewelry immediately). The breaking point for me was a presentation my husband and I led at church. At that time we led the mid-week children’s “club”, and one Sunday we brought the children up front to sing a song and recite various verses and catechism answers. It all had a central thrust of justification and sanctification. Those days I wore everyday, as my wedding ring, a 3.5 ct super sparkly diamond solitaire that I inherited from my grandmother. I had huge sentimental attachment to it since I had been very close to her, and although it’s a bit gaudy (very 1980’s Texas!) it is pretty and reminds me of her. Well, after that service a gaggle of older women from church approached me excitedly and begged to see my ring. They said they had “just watch it sparkle all evening” as I spoke and directed the children’s choir…they’d completely missed the point of the service because they were distracted by my jewelry! I was heartbroken!! That experience drove deep in my heart the point of immodesty drawing attention to oneself and away from Christ. The next morning I cleared several pieces from my jewelry box, with input from my husband, and tucked them away. I never want to be a distraction like that again.

    Blessings to you! ~ Jenni

Leave a Reply