“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
When I first read this verse, when it first got to me, it was roughly seven years ago. I remember, cause like most girls, I struggled (past tense? no- STRUGGLE) with my self-image, weight, and the perception of myself. The whole “fearfully and wonderfully made” mindset has taken years of prayer, fasting and growth to sink in. All that to say this verse was one of the first steps in helping me realize the selfishness that comes with all consuming vanity.
However, as I have gotten older and (somewhat) wiser in the last seven or so years, this passage continues to expand and grow deeper. Just like the rest of the Word, it continues to amaze me with its vase depth of relevance. But lately, there were two words in particular that have haunted me.
Gentle and Quiet.
If you know me, you know I am neither of these things. I am not exactly the most dainty, graceful, gentle girl. I am also not quiet. Ever. (I can’t help it if I get excited and therefore my voice carries or, as I like to call the perpetual rising of volume). I tend to be dramatic and very extroverted. I am a queen social bee and love, love people. All that being said, when describing myself I don't exactly go to words like gentle and quiet.
I think of “gentle and quiet spirit” and visualize this mousey girl in boring clothes in the corner of the room who uses words like “precious” and “bless you, sister.” Who just radiates innocence and worships the Lord with self-control and a cute smile on her face.
I struggled with this. Should I become more mousey? Should I wear floral mu-mus and not talk as much? Should I learn to laugh with more volume control? (Don’t answer that!) Should I worship with a softer voice and only raise one hand? Should I change who I am?
God you have called me to obtain this incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit— that is so important to you. How do I do that when my personality is so opposite?
I’ve tried changing, thinking that is what He wanted. Thinking my perception of what He deems as “incorruptible beauty” was correct. (Cause I am always right....) But I failed. Every time. I would show up somewhere prepared to be more to myself and introverted. Then BAM! Laura Jean comes out and I can’t help it. I thrive off people, mingling, and the next thing you know you hear me cackling (yes, I tend to cackle) in the corner and I am planning where we are all going to dinner as I run around.
Sitting on my bed one night, me and the fabulous roommate were playing catch up and I voiced my concerns. Her wisdom was paramount as she pointed out one simple word:
God desires a gentle and quiet spirit. Not personality, or voice, or extroverted/introverted projection on life or even our relationship with Him. He created us with dramatics, creativity, passion and emotion. Don't suppress the personality that He formed. If you have a more shy, quiet persona, EMBRACE it. If you are a more dramatic, loud personality, EMBRACE it.
The prayer then needs to become: God give me gentle and quiet spirit.
I ask Him:
How do I approach You?
How do I deal with others and their relationship with You?
How do I love You?
Is my spirit one of meekness, submission, humbly patient and open? Do I allow my spirit to be silent and willing to listen?
Is my spirit gentle and quiet?