Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. - 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)
Today I'm looking at the second half of the "Self" branch of my Life Under Construction project.  I posted about the first half - wise use of time, and faithful stewardship of money - a couple weeks ago.  The two remaining focuses are:
  • improve my health
  • maintain a "quiet spirit"
Improved health is kind of a no-brainer for me.  In 2012, I lost fifty-five pounds, was able to stop taking blood pressure and cholesterol medications, improved my cardiovascular and muscular strength and felt great.   Over the next 18 months, I turned stupid, gained a chunk of it back, am struggling with old issues and it's all my own fault because I eat to satisfy emotions that will never be satisfied by a hamburger or a cupcake.  I am back on NutriSystem, talking to God about those emotions, and reminding myself that joy does not depend on size.  I do not have to put off enjoying life until I'm at my goal weight.  Moving on...

The idea of having a "quiet spirit" has always fascinated me.  I have a rather "exuberant" [loud and talkative] personality - at least when I'm around people I'm comfortable with -  and I have occasionally been hurt by negative comments about it.  I used to read this scripture from 1 Peter and promise myself I would have a "quiet spirit" from now on so no one would ever think that about me again.  But changing who you are is a difficult task, and of course I would forget and slip into old ways, until the next time my feelings were hurt.

Now that I view that verse from the perspective of fifty-plus years, I see that volume and quantity of words are not what Peter was addressing.  I am the person God created, and sometimes she's loud and talkative.  That doesn't mean I can't also have "a gentle and quiet spirit."  

Gentle and quiet will certainly not be words that come to mind when my children think of their teen years.  As typical teens, they gave me frequent cause to be angry and I did not handle it well.  I seem to remember raised voices, slammed doors and threats - and that was on a good day.  Now that they are adults, I hope that they will see a different attitude.  A "gentle and quiet spirit" does not react in anger.  That is not to say she never becomes angry, but that she controls her anger rather than the other way around.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry -  James 1:19
I hope that my children and grandchildren will feel comfortable confiding in me and seeking advice.  A gentle and quiet spirit listens without interrupting, considers what is being said, and "speaks the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). 

"Unfading beauty" - Whatever outward beauty I may have had is certainly fading - lines where their used to be smooth skin, thin hair where their used to be volume - but I accept that and try to strike a balance between looking my best and not wasting too much time and money.  A woman who abides in Christ finds her worth and value in her relationship with Him, and that grows more beautiful with age.

Some people create their own storm and then get angry when it rains. (found on Facebook)  A gentle and quiet spirit does just the opposite.  Daily time in God's Word and praying continually give her a foundation that can't be shaken.  She is at rest during the storms of life because she rests in Jesus.

I certainly haven't achieved this goal yet.  My anger usually comes out in more controlled ways now, but then I don't have teenagers living in my house.  I am finding it easier to listen to and encourage my children without trying to make decisions for them.  But not always.  The desire to run to God's Word wins out over the desire to phone a friend during a crisis - sometimes.  The face in the mirror could use some Botox, but one day she'll smile at the reflection of Christ she sees there.

That is what I want my children and grandchildren to remember of me in my "second half".   That is my prayer for my Life Under Construction:  

"God grant me the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit."


  1. Love this! So true about some people creating their own storm and then getting angry when it rains. I deal with that every day. I try more and more as I get older to understand when the fault is with me and try to deal with less anger. But you're so right - much easier to work on when there are not teenagers in the house!

  2. This post is convicting, yet much needed. I may have to print it out and post it on the bulletin board next to my desk. You have articulated what has been weighing on my own heart recently much better than I am able. Thank you for being so honest.

  3. Oh Tami! This verse was posted above my kitchen sink for years! I think we're kindred spirits!

  4. I have never thought of you with an "exuberant" voice - fun-loving yes - but not loud - maybe I'm loud too :) What you say about healthy living is very true and we both know how to make that work for us - - - and the thoughts on having a quiet spirit - just love those scriptures - A gentle and quiet spirit listens without interrupting, considers what is being said, and "speaks the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). I am putting that beside my desk and at home as well. I picture myself being this gentle and quiet soul and I botch it up every day. I think you have the key - spending time alone with God and asking for help for these things. Great plan for the second half of life!

  5. I lost 40 pounds back in 2012 and have put most of it back on. I still eat healthy but can't lose a thing. Wishing you success, I know how you feel.....((HUGS)) I can certainly relate to the beauty also. Actually I just had a conversation with my husband this morning about my father who is 91. I didn't know he was judgemental when I was younger but it's there. (My husband is similar) So Lauren Bacall passes away and my dad says "She certainly let herself go!" I could not believe that came out of his mouth, She aged gracefully as God intended for us. I'm really impressed with your "self " program.