Monday, July 5, 2010

Spiritual Compensation

"Woman Holding a Balance" by Johannes Vermeer

I'm not saying it's a good thing, but I admit it: I compensate. You might say, I over-compensate. Spiritually. I think, at least in some way, we all do.

I was raised on a steady diet of "God loves you," and I know that that's a big part of the story, but I know it's not the whole story, and so I often stress the other side: " much that He won't settle for leaving you the way you are." And those unfortunate enough to get caught in my compensation crossfire are sometimes left with the impression that I don't know how much God loves them.

Or perhaps, they feel that I don't love them very much. Or respect them. Which is not the case. It's just that I'm fallible. I'm over-compensating.

It's not that I forget the Love; it's just that I sometimes take it for granted. So, I focus on the way I am and the way you are and the way I know we know we should be--and can be by Grace, through Love.

I've struggled my whole life with vanity and chastity and self-esteem, and so I over-compensate. I play One-Up Modesty (where I try to outdo the lady next to me to prove how chaste I am, if only to myself), and I rankle when I see a girl in a tube top at the ballpark. And part of it is because I'd like to ditch my sleeves and join her and show my pale, white tummy to all the world if only so that I don't have to care or try anymore.

Which is, of course, beside the point.

Modesty is important. Modesty is godly.

And so is grace and forgiveness and repentance and mercy and tolerance and peace and courage and unity and joy and gentleness and honor and justice and beauty and freedom and humility and


It's a dichotomy, a balancing act. When we simply ignore the other side of the equation--or when we over-compensate--we fall.

And, then there's grace.


  1. All I can say is, mm-hmm, me too.

  2. Oh, I'm right there with you. :-)

  3. And thank God for His grace. How I fall upon it every day.

  4. Great post and true for me too. I can get all "hmph, do me and my husband need to see her boobs in that low-cut tight tank top?" Then I remember some of the outfits I wore in my twenties. Not tank tops, but there was definitely an acid-washed denim mini-skirt lurking in my past. (Can you guess what era I was not so modest in? Back then, spaghetti strap tank tops were called "camisoles" and you wore them under your shirt, not as your shirt, but I digress...)

    My clothing style has changed. But behind my modest blouse, hidden in my heart, I can have a lot of pride, envy, apathy and just plain old sloth. Which is not to say I should lose the modesty, but I have to examine my conscience as much as I examine my wardrobe...or someone else's. It's so much easier to just look at the clothes.


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