Chances are, if you love Jesus and fitness, you’ve experienced the pain of being judged! First, let me say if this has happened to you, I’m sorry. I know how this feels, and it hurts.
This topic lights a fire in me, and apparently, a lot of our sisters…I’ll share how I came to discover this in a moment.
Here’s the goal of my heart today. I want to share some stories of my own experiences and a sweet sister so that you know you’re not alone and, most importantly, what God says about this to clear up the emotional pain, confusion, and judgment. Today will be fun and freeing. Let’s dive in!
The other day I was answering my comments and messages on social. Under a video I posted on teaching women how to invite Jesus to eat with them and how doing, so it helps us control our appetites, there was a comment with words I have heard before. Her comment said, “You are saying the right things, but your image is very worldly, it’s an odd narrative.”
Normally, I delete these and don’t allow them to rent any space in my mind, but this felt different. So, I wrote back to her and said, “Your comment hurts. This kind of judgment between Christians is what keeps people from wanting to be Christian. I am sharing a goldy message in a very needed space and prayerfully being the woman that God wants me to be. We need people on every platform sharing the truth of God.”
After I shared my comment, I wanted to know if my Fit Sisters in Christ have ever experienced this, and whoa! The flood gates opened!
I received an overwhelming amount of responses. I’m going to share the jist of them, but before I do, I want to ask you, dear sister, how would you answer these questions:
This is exactly what we are going to dig into today…
I walked into the gym wearing a workout tank that says Faith Inspired Transformation with F.I.T. in big letters across it. A lady asked me what my shirt meant when I told her I teach fitness, wholeness, and Success God’s way. She said, “You don’t look like a Christian.” I asked her if she was a Christian, and she said yes. And then I asked her, “So what does a Christian look like?” and she couldn’t answer me. Awkward, right?!
Some Christians wheel their judgment like a sword trying to cut us down into pieces. I have been in meetings with very religious judgemental people who said unspeakably judgmental things to me, and I wanted to stand up and say, “Where in the Bible does it say any of this?!”
Here’s an important point I think we need to remember: We are all on a journey with Jesus, and that looks different for everybody. When I look back at the stuff I used to wear, I see how God has grown me.
I laugh every time I hear Joyce Meyer share how she used to teach bible study in her short shorts with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. Look, we are all a work in progress, growing in God from glory to glory. He sees it all, every version of us, yes, even our teenage years, and He loves us anyway.
I started to study what a Christian woman should look like and what I found was a bunch of information about modesty. But modesty does not mean what we were taught, at least not what I was taught.
Read this from Bible Study Tools: What Is Modesty According to the Bible? Modesty, according to the Bible, is less of self and more of Christ. We are fearfully and wonderfully made not to be ashamed of who we are in Christ. We exist to honor God with our physical bodies and our behavior.
Christianity writes: Modesty is defined as the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities. Over the years and into modern times, people have equated modesty with how a person dresses; however, the Bible equates modesty with the right heart attitude, not how a person dresses. It is important to dress in a way that brings God glory, but modesty does not only deal with clothing.
If we go back to the definition of modesty provided by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, we are not told modesty has anything to do with clothing. Despite the world equating modesty with clothing, the word modesty goes back to your attitude. This is exactly the same way the Bible describes modesty. Modesty is the right heart attitude, which will affect every area of your life.
In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, Paul tells us, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
Paul is not telling women that they must never wear braids, nice clothes, or pearls. Rather, Paul is telling all people to dress “modestly, with decency and propriety.” When a woman wears braids, nice clothes, or pearls, it does not mean she is being immodest in her heart.
A person with modesty does not think too highly of themselves. In Romans 12:3, Paul tells us directly, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
Modesty is a heart attitude and digs deeper into our soul than just our clothing. In everything, we need to examine our motives. When you are deciding on what to wear or how to be, ask yourself, “Will this bring God glory?”
When we feel the sting of judgment, rejection, anger, or sadness can be our first response, but I believe God wants to use this as an opportunity for us to tell people about the freedom we have in Christ and that modesty is a Mindset and Heart attitude not necessarily a list of man-made rules that are meant to make us feel guilty and control us and keep us feeling down in less than.
How did Paul’s direction in 1 Timothy end up becoming all of rules about skirts lengths, makeup do’s and dont’s, and swimsuit shaming?
Modesty is often the term used to induce guilt and shame and control what should and should not be worn. Can I wear a skirt? It has to be 2 inches over my knee or under my knee. Can you see how these questions are rooted in man-made rules and opinions and not in the Bible?
I want to be clear I am not saying we should just wear whatever we want. I believe when we get dressed or buy clothes, we should look in the mirror and say does this bring God glory? Does it honor Him? A Godly woman knows that her worth is found in God’s view of her.
Here’s an example, My husband and I were shopping, and I was searching for a date night dress. When I walked out of the dressing room, my husband loved this one green dress I tried on. I’ll be honest, it was a little on the short side, so I stood alone for a second in the mirror and asked God, is this okay? I had peace, so I bought it. Here’s the thing, it’s a date night dress. I won’t be wearing it to church. I believe time and place have a lot to do with our clothes too. I want to look attractive to my husband and look my best for God.
Here’s a funny story.
I was waiting at my hair appointment, and a woman who was getting her hair colored started chatting with me. She told me she was a Christian too and she started talking about how Christian women shouldn’t wear makeup. I was like, don’t even start talking about my LASHES! Don’t hate on my praise hands! So, I just listened to her and then said, “May I ask you a question?” She said, “Sure, honey.” I said, “So, let me understand…you don’t think I should wear makeup but you’re getting your hair colored?”
Isn’t this ridiculous? Where in the Bible does it say any of this?
The cross around my neck and my Christian tanks are always starting up a fiery conversation, aren’t they! And sadly, it’s almost always with Christians this should not be!
What about My fit sisters in Christ who have made the decision to gain weight or try not to get fit because of the unwanted attention they receive? How can we be blamed for this attention?
I received this question - Hi Kim, thanks for all you do. I’m new, and I’d like to suggest a topic. You may have covered it already. If so, please share a link.
One of my motivation-killers in the past about looking my best is - this might sound silly - all the attention it brings from males. The unwanted attention - lol. I had a negative experience years ago at church when I decided to go all out and look my best that day (not sleazy or inappropriate), just you know, contact lenses instead of my glasses, make-up, nice clothes, and without meaning to sound 'full of myself' I felt happy because I knew I looked good. But unfortunately, the reactions I got from certain people, like a married guy - seeing a spirit of lust in his eyes, then a different guy trying to chat me up, then another guy in a wheelchair demanding a kiss! (When I politely declined, he said something hurtful.)
It wasn't how I expected the day to go! Now I'm losing a lot of weight (I've lost 20kgs in the last two years), I'm noticing the 'looks' from men in the fuel station, supermarket, and yes, again at Christian gatherings from the wrong men. I'm trying to take it as a compliment, but I'm wondering if you encounter this and how you handle it? What do you tell yourself? Do you just ignore it, or do you say something? Curious to hear your thoughts. :) Love and blessings. Thank you for being an inspiration. I'm glad to be on here with you and everyone and not feel alone in my Fit Sister in Christ journey.
Here was my answer - I’m so happy you’re here. I will definitely pray about doing an episode on this. I know exactly how you feel and what you’re going through. I’m also aware that a spirit of legalism places the burden of this squarely on the woman’s shoulders. Thank you for sharing your heart and being honest. I believe our sister's advice is spot on. God knows your heart and wants you to take the best care of yourself to bring him glory. It makes me think of when Jesus told them to shake the dust off their feet. We need to be obedient to God and leave the consequences of our obedience up to him. We are not responsible for the way people look at us or the things they say. I’m praying that you do not let this make you play small or shrink back when this is your time. God has made you for such a time as this!
You know what I think a Christian woman should look like; she should look like you and me! Nasty comments from keyboard warriors come from hurting people. Do you know the saying hurting people hurt people? So, it’s best to pray for them and release them.
Remember these takeaways:
God has you on a journey. He is making something beautiful out of you. Take full ownership of that. Be who He uniquely made you to be, express yourself through hair, makeup and clothing the way He leads you.
When you get dressed and get ready, look in the mirror and ask Him, does this please you, Lord? If you have peace, don’t let anyone steal your peace. Make God your final authority.
When this happens, use it as an opportunity to talk to them about it rather than allowing someone’s comment to hurt you, address them with godly boldness and keep your confidence. A safe question is can you share exactly what you mean by that?
Give others grace, don’t do it to others. When you feel tempted to judge, remember the grace that was given you and freely give it to others. This is what Jesus wants us to do.
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28
Before I pray, I want to share something ahhhmazing!
Sisters, If you have ever struggled with achieving your goals and wondering if it’s God’s will that you are a success, this will change your life and set you free. God knows the desire of your heart, and He wants to give them to you, so it’s time to get out of our own way and let him work
Search your heart for a moment and think about these questions,
God gave me the answer, and I have to share it with you. You can find it at kimdolanleto.com/successworkshop
God’s Blueprint for Success includes:
Go to kimdolanleto.com/successworkshop to start succeeding God’s way
We come before you with humble hearts, point out anything that is not of you, and show us when we are being judgmental. We have felt the pain of being judged, and we don’t want to do it to anyone else.
Lord, heal us from the pain this has caused and help us walk in the freedom to be who you are calling us to be and extend that freedom to others even if they may look very different. Help us be the Jesus someone needs today.
In Jesus’ name, amen!
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