“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)
My mother, Elizabeth, had a gentle and quiet spirit. I have her smile but, I’m still working on her spirit!
I discovered that it’s not enough just to be quiet. Some cats are very quiet right before they pounce! No, the kind of beauty that Christ wants to work in us comes from a peaceful place of surrender, not from a woman who has learned to bite her tongue!
I grew up as a bit of an emotional “stuffer.” My dad’s brain injury and subsequent anger scared me badly as a child. After his death, I never wanted to make anyone angry or rock the boat. So rather than say what I honestly felt, I would put on a smile and push my feelings into the basement of my soul.
Have you ever done that?
Your husband said he’d be home at 5:30 p.m. for dinner, but now it’s 6:40 p.m. and the lasagna looks like a burnt offering! But rather than say, “Honey, if you’re going to be that late again, would you just give me a quick call?” you force a smile, feed the lasagna to the dog and start dinner over, muttering under your breath.
Or maybe you’ve asked your daughter three times to bring her dirty laundry downstairs yet it still decorates every square inch of her bedroom. Rather than sit down with her and explain how disrespectful it is to continue to ignore your requests and promise consequences if it happens again, you just trudge upstairs and gather the abandoned articles yourself. It’s easier to just get it done, so you shove your feelings down and carry on.
The trouble with living like that, however, is that when the basement gets too full, it only takes one more little thing and the whole place blows up like fireworks on the Fourth of July.
There has to be a better way to live as daughters of the King of kings!
I find it interesting that Peter compares focusing on the outside of our lives with what lies inside our hearts. It makes me think that to have a gentle and quiet spirit there must be a direct correlation. If you’re like me, when I only focus on what I can see in the mirror, I can get to a crazy place!
I need to lose 15 pounds!
My hair looks like it was attacked by a pack of wild cats!
I have nothing to wear!
Our world bombards us every day with unattainable images of so-called perfect women, and it’s hard not to compare ourselves with what we see. When I allow myself to go there, I know my life is not a thing of beauty to God or anyone else.
So, here’s what I’m learning …
- To find my worth in God’s amazing love for me.
- To lean into the truth of who His Word says I am.
- To talk through every little moment of my day with Him before I take it out on someone else.
- To be honest with myself and with others.
- To be still and know that He is God.
The truth is, although perfection is a myth, pure and simple, godly beauty is something that never fades. When I read that it’s precious to God, I want that. I want to cultivate a life that brings Him honor and pleasure, don’t you?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know me just as I am and You love me. Teach me to rest in Your love and to value what You value. May Your grace and Your love touch everyone I meet today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 4:8, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (NLT)
Matthew 6:27-29, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” (NLT)