Q: I’m a ballerina, and so obviously I have to wear a leotard and tights. I worry if I am showing too much (letting too many people see what was only meant for my husband). I know swimmers are in the same situation, as well as gymnasts and other girls who play sports. Is it okay to dance if I have to wear a leotard?
I love to tan. The sun is my friend, and I like to get up close and personal with those UV rays. (Skin cancer? Never heard of it.) I also like to garden. So in the springtime, when the Denver sun finally shakes off the snow and burns warm and lovely in the sky, I try to kill two birds with one stone by tanning while I garden. It’s a matter of efficiency really. Why spend one hour laying flat on my stomach and then another hour pulling weeds when I can sport a swimsuit while I dig in the dirt and save that hour for more important things (like playing Jenga with my family on the living room floor)?
Because I have a fenced backyard, I doubt anyone would say I was being immodest for wearing a swimsuit in my garden. Or at the beach. Or to the local pool. Now, if I wore that same suit out running errands, to church, or on stage at my next speaking engagement, I’d be bound to raise a few eyebrows! In our culture, wearing a swimsuit to those activities isn’t proper context.
Understanding context is key when it comes to modesty.
Some athletes have a “uniform” that wouldn’t be appropriate in another context. So yeah, your leotard might be too tight and showy to wear to school. But I’d argue that while you are practicing and performing the art of ballet, your uniform is necessary! A tight-fitting outfit allows you to move without getting tangled up in clothes, and helps your teacher see if your torso is in the correct position, or whether you’re adequately squeezing your B-Double-O-T-Y.
All that to say, context is really important.
Now… so are motives.
Motives are the “why” behind the things we do, and I have a hunch that God cares more about them than about what we actually do. Here are two real-life examples to help you see the difference:
- Once I bought and wore a bikini on a beach trip with friends because I knew it showed off my body and I wanted the attention. Terrible motives, right?! That was a not-so-modest choice.
- My senior year of high school, I wore my volleyball uniform to school on game days (which included some not-so-flattering, super-tight, uber-shiny, silver spandex shorts–yikes!) because the team decided that it would be a cool way to show team spirit. In that case, my motives were pure.
Honestly, sis, your motives are what put my heart at ease. I can tell that you 1) care what God thinks, 2) care to preserve your beautiful body for your husband, and 3) are really trying to do the right thing! I’m sincerely PROUD of you for “seek[ing] his will in all you do” (see Proverbs 3:5-6)–even in details like athletic dress codes. The good news is that the second half of that verse promises that when we seek God’s will, He will show us which path to take. Ultimately, His opinion is the only one that matters, so work to have a clear conscience before Him.
But for what it’s worth, I’ve known more than one beautiful, talented ballerina who used her God-given gifts to bring her Divine Daddy glory and pleasure through her movements… even while wearing a leotard!