Sometimes the best way to handle legalism is to laugh at it. Well, maybe not. But a sense of humor can help keep you from going crazy.
It dawned on me this morning when I was showing my new blog look to my daughter: I never would have done a blog like this before my fall to grace. For one thing, even though I would enjoy coffee when I wasn't pregnant or nursing a tiny little one (which meant coffee became a semi-rare treat!) I didn't really ENJOY coffee like I do now. In fact, I didn't think it quite right to do too much enjoying of anything, other than my husband and children and a clean house, lest my enjoyment become excessive, fleshly, or smack of idolatry.
But the real scandal is my profile picture. I'm sure some visitors to my blog will be offended, while others will no doubt exclaim, "AHA! I knew it!"
As you can tell, I'm not wearing a skirt. What you may not be able to tell is that I'm wearing a sleeveless top. To add insult to injury, I'm punching a bag. How unfeminine of me.
Actually I would beg to differ. I think it's quite feminine of me. I've done enough teaching of and training with both men and women to notice that women seem especially appreciative of punching the bags, especially the new heavy bags we've installed in our dojo. They derive actual pleasure from kicking and smacking those hard, 100 pound bags around. They tend to do it with far more gusto than the typical man.
In fact, I've noticed that my women students take their martial arts training more seriously, while at the same time having far more fun with it, than my male students. This might be because the men have a harder time identifying with me as their role model. But I think what plays a bigger role is that my women students take self-defense more seriously while taking themselves less seriously. The women also seem far more empowered by the whole training experience; for some of them, it's the first time in their adult lives that they have felt physically capable.
Women will encourage each other when their technique becomes more effective and powerful. "Wow, that kick would have stopped anyone trying to attack you!" they'll say. Or, "No one's going to mess with your kids once they know you can do that!" Some of these women have already tasted violence very up close and personal. If not, they have friends who have been attacked and assaulted. To them, martial arts seem a most fittingly feminine solution to the violence they are all too aware exists.
But that doesn't mean you get to train in skirts. Some years back, when I was helping to teach a class for homeschoolers, one family got very upset that I wouldn't let their daughters wear dresses in class. "We are concerned about modesty!" fussed the mother.
"So am I," was my answer, "and that's why I won't let your daughters kick, learn how to fall correctly, and do judo rolls in dresses. It's way too immodest, and unsafe besides."
Somehow our baggy karate uniforms were not modest enough for this woman. She would rather have her daughters expose their legs and more while their dresses flapped around and hindered their safe movements. She decided that if we were going to be so hard-nosed about it, she was going to find a "more modest and godly" martial arts school. I doubt that she did.
So, yes...I'm wearing baggy workout pants in my profile picture. I happen to be wearing a workout top rather than my usual uniform top. I'm punching a bag. Some may find this a cause for great alarm. It doesn't fit their narrow constricted view of how a godly woman should dress and act.
So...sound the alarm, ladies! Gossip amongst yourselves! Post to your blogs and to your closed forums about the scandal of it all!
In the meantime, I'll be doing what my hands find to do, with all my might, for the Lord. I'll relish my freedom in Christ. And I'll continue to allow Him to use me to impact the lives He has sent my way, those students who want to learn what I am blessed to teach. And I'll dress appropriately while doing so. After all, it's the modest thing to do.
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