Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

As a little girl, my mother would always remind me of the scripture verse,

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, 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

I've spent most of my life so saddened that I am just not that. I'm not gentle and I'm not quiet. I'm full of life and I laugh loudly, I cartwheel at weddings and I love to be the center of attention. This verse has always been such a bitter taste in my mouth because I simply did not exude this gentle and quiet spirit. I've read countless books devoted to this topic and still I'm left with no way to achieve this goal.

I feel like if I become what I see as gentle and quiet, I would be completely going against God's design for ME. I know he doesn't make mistakes and I know that he made me for a purpose. Still sometimes I look at women who are just a pleasure to be around. They move like running water and their voices are just soothing to the soul. I want to be like that. Those women are the essence of beauty and femininity.

What does this verse really mean? I understand the part about beauty not being just the outside, but what is this magical gentle and quiet spirit?

I feel like I am a bit of a feminist ( just a very tiny bit), because I grew up in a home with all girls. It was my mother and four younger sisters. I look back on my childhood and I don't see my mother always serving tea or moving gently around the house. I see her helping out an older neighbor. I see her laughing till she cried with us at the dinner table, I see her taking us to ride bikes and look at shapes in the clouds. She is by far much more quiet and gentler than I am but still she was full of life and energy.

I think I'm beginning to see a little bit more what this phrase means. I think it means a spirit that is peaceful; one that is trusting. I think it means that I find my worth and beauty not in what I look like or DO, but in the fact that I am a daughter of Christ. I think that if my goal every day is to cover myself in that truth, than even if I am covered in spit up, or laughing so loud that people complain, I think I will still exude that beauty. The kind of beauty only Christs everlasting, timeless, and unconditional love provides.

I know I'm really the person to interpret verses, and I'm not trying to. This is just on my heart so much that I thought I'd write a little bit about it.


  1. I agree being a gentle quiet spirit doesnt mean you can't be full of life and energy. I believe God wants us to be fun, full of life and energy.

  2. HJ- I once did a word study of the greek on the topic, just to be sure. I struggle with being a very dominant personality: a high acheiver, center of attention, fun and bubbly.
    I found out that the word quiet is the lesser used meaning of:at peace or quiet in heart...and gentle does mean trusting. So you are right! You can be an extraverted, spontaneous, down-to-earth, fun gal who is also trusting of God, and confident in His love. The neat thing, for me, has been that the closer I have been to Christ in "oneness"/"peace"/"confidence in Him"...the more I have wanted to find humility in *not* being the center of attention...the more I have wanted *not* to speak as much and show respect for other...the more I have wanted *not* to acheive for selfish reason, but to be diligent to show God's glory in work-ethics. It has been a change that my husband has helped to facilitate, frankly, and it has been very rewarding. I realize that God is "making" me into his image,...which brings the gentle and quiet spirit. -


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