Being at the beach with the same "other vacationers" around you all week will certainly challenge your faithfulness to discipline your mind regarding issues of modesty and body image!! How quickly we fall into whatever struggles we have in this area... fear, judgment, lust, insecurity...
There is another family staying here who is a family full of cousins, like we are. The father told us the first day here, "This'll be you guys in about fifteen years..." They are all the same family, gathering from different parts of the country for a week every summer. Every day they are playing some serious volleyball - all of them, or some combination thereof - the sexy young men and the sexy young women and the well-preserved older aunts and uncles and parents. Every male is tan and rather muscley. Every female is both sporty and shapely... and wearing a bikini. For a volleyball match. You get the picture.
How difficult it is to take a stand for modesty in this current culture. You really do have to be willing to be "different," because the very choice to remain relatively covered is so counter-cultural.
Sometimes even in your own family. Certainly within the family of God.
And, I'm realizing this week, even within your own heart and mind. What's proper? What's improper? What's outside the realm of considerate? What's loving? What's priggish?
When I'm only around my own family, I allow myself to wear a bikini. I am forty-one years old, and about thirty pounds overweight, so I am decidedly not a "stumbling block" for anyone. I wear a cover-up walking to and from the beach, and if I need to walk or play while down there.
This is not something I would do at a community pool party. This is not something I would do at a youth group beach day. But alone with my family, I allow it for myself. Why? Because I look better naked with a little sun on my belly! Pure and simple. Those thirty extra pounds and beautiful baby belly stretch marks fade away significantly when they're nicely tanned. And doesn't my husband deserve that?
Especially when having to navigate his eyes and mind away from the volleyball show going on up the beach every day!