Humility and Obedience: My Experience with Christian Head Covering

I’ll preface this post with a statement that it contains my personal convictions. A conviction is like an opinion, but with the added weight of Scriptural support and motivation toward heart change. As such, it is a matter of my personal relationship with God through Christ, and my best understanding of Scripture.

I first began to study and pray about head coverings last summer, in June of 2018.

I was reading through 1 Corinthians, and I got to chapter 11 in which the Apostle Paul wrote concerning women covering their heads during prayer and worship.

As I read the passage in verses 2- 16, something began to stir in me a desire for holiness, modesty of dress, and adornment of the soul, rather than the body.

I have struggled most of my life with issues of pride, insecurity, body image, vanity… All of it stemming from placing my identity in outward appearance instead of my identity in Christ.

From the moment I humbled myself before God and prayed for Him to destroy the walls of pride separating me from fellowship with Christ, I began to experience more and more desire for humility, a gentle and quiet spirit, and biblical submission to my husband as my spiritual leader. As a former feminist (yeah, let’s go ahead and just call it that) this was huge for me. I finally was beginning to understand what it meant to pursue humility and to live in the freedom of grace.

I stumbled (likely providentially) onto several YouTube videos of women with testimonies that mirrored my own and they contributed to my study and prayerful study of scripture on the subject of head coverings.

I researched the history of all religious head coverings, I researched the historical context of the 1 Corinthians 11 passage, and I studied the practice of head covering in the United States. What I found was that the time period which lead to the disregard for head coverings accompanied the women’s liberation movement, and feminist ideology.

What finally led to a conviction on the matter was an experience I had getting lost in the woods. In that moment God showed me what true humility looked like, and I had clearer and more powerfully, immediately answered prayers than I have ever known. And that did it.

I will say, I’m not perfect. There are days I don’t wear my “covering” for whatever reason– I forgot as I was getting dressed, I was in a rush to get the kids ready, I didn’t feel like it– but what God has really impressed upon me in recent weeks is that intentionally, willingly, and humbly putting on an outward and visible symbol of His inward and spiritual grace in my life has spiritual as well as physical implications.

I’ve noticed it is a tangible way for me to daily die to my own vanity and pride, and approach my entire day clothed in the humility of Christ. I’ve noticed my prayers now come from a place of humility, seeking God for His own sake, rather than running through my own laundry list of petitions. I’ve noticed it’s like a megaphone for the Holy Spirit, who speaks more clearly when I’m listening with a humble obedient heart.

But what has impacted me most of all is the fact that I kept experiencing barriers to my prayers and coming short of answers to them when I realized I was failing to live in obedience to what I had already found to be true. God, like any good parent or teacher, won’t move on until you’ve completely grasped His lesson for you.

I went through (and still occasionally experience) periods where I wondered, “what are people going to say or think?” “Does it really matter if I wear it or not?” “Don’t I have freedom in Christ to choose not to?” I’ve gotten awkward comments about my “Amishy” headbands. And yes, they made me feel weird, and embarrassed.

And for the most part, I’ve learned to discern when it’s the Enemy planting seeds of doubt or disobedience, using my convictions to topple my faith.

There were periods of time when the covering elicited in me feelings of self-righteousness and pride. For those seasons, I stopped wearing it, praying God would sanctify me and make me worthy of the covering, giving me pure motives. And each time, those seasons pass. And what I’m left with is the understanding that God works in and through me most when I humbly accept submission to His will, submission to His Word, and submission to my Husband, forsaking my pride, my selfishness, and anything else that would stand in the way of my fellowship with Christ Jesus.

So it’s a personal choice. I’m not suggesting that all women should wear head coverings. I believe we have freedom in Christ, and freedom to obedience in whatever way Christ calls us to walk in purity and humility. Have I considered changing my wardrobe to entirely modest skirts and dresses? Yes, absolutely. But that’s expensive first of all, and at this point, I haven’t the means to make the change all at once. I still wear jeans when working outside, and I still wear shorts in the summer, although they’ve gotten considerably longer in acceptable length.

Beyond the thought that, “I’m someone’s mother, someone’s wife, someone’s daughter– would I approve of my daughter dressing in _______?” Within reason, it will be her choice. I will raise my daughter to dress modestly, and to value inner beauty above outer beauty. I’m sure we’ll have those conversations when the time comes. But more than that, I’m a representative of Christ Jesus. Being that my most struggled against sins come from a place of selfishness and pride, I find it appropriate to have a physical, tangible reminder that I daily die to self and walk in humility before my God. It’s not for other people; it’s between me and God, and my husband.

I hadn’t shared much on this subject up to this point because of the personal nature of convictions and the disputability of the coverings. But I’ve determined in my heart that until or unless the Holy Spirit leads me to discard the head coverings, I’ll walk in obedience to the truth I’ve received.

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