I finally finished the book "Captivating", by John & Stasi Eldredge, last week. It was a good feeling to finish one of the books I've started! I'm sure that some of you out there can relate to the I-like-to-read-five-books-at-one-time syndrome. Does a person really like to read everything at once or does it say something else about us who do? Once again, another subject for another day.
I came across a section in the book regarding 1 Peter 3:3-4 a few weeks ago that I just can't wait any longer to comment on. First, let's look at the bible passage:
1 Peter 3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Paul is speaking here of how wives should behave around their husbands, specifically those who are unbelieving. In short, wives of unbelieving spouses can win over their husbands to Christ by their actions, not their words or outward appearance. I'm not going to dive deeply into the depths of this doctrine today though because I want to look at the "meek and quiet spirit" part.
Honestly, this passage has always been one that I have been extra critical of myself for. If there is one verse that I use where I compare myself to others, which I know I shouldn't do because we're all different, etc. etc., it is this one. You see, of the four personality types (otter, beaver, golden retriever, lion), I am a lion. Okay, I have equal beaver characteristics, but the lion is definitely there. I struggle with wishing I were more like some other ladies I know because I think they are more "meek and quiet" than I. After all, I want to be of great price! Listen here to what Stasi Eldredge has to say about the passage. When I read this, it was like reading words out of my own mouth!
First, Peter is not saying that we shouldn't enjoy wearing pretty things. What he's trying to say is that true beauty comes from the inner part of us. Our hearts. A heart at rest. When I first read the part about a gentle and quiet spirit, I gave up having much hope of ever making the grade. I am loud. I make jokes when I am nervous or uncomfortable, and when I am comfortable and at ease. I am not prone to long silences. If no one is talking in a group, I take that as an invitation to share my thoughts. A gentle and quiet spirit? Oh dear.
I began to include in my prayers for sanctification a complete personality transplant. Yes, put an angel at the edge of my tongue to guard my every word. And while you're at it, make me someone else, please. Someone more like Melanie in Gone With the Wind. Or Mother Teresa. Someone really good. I believed this was not to much to ask. He is the God of miracles, after all. (p. 134)
Have you ever had these thoughts? I bet some of you have, even those of you who are quiet on the outside. You see, after reading what Stasi Eldredge had to say in this chapter of her book, it was like the light finally came on for me. Even introverted people struggle with 1 Peter 3:3-4 because they are not necessarily quiet on the inside. Remember this passage in Luke?
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Friends, no matter what type of outward personality we have, we need to look at our heart condition first. We are all different. I will always be an extrovert and others will always be introverts. However, when we let God have our heart, soul and mind, he will make us to be more of who He made us to be!! I just love being unique, don't you? Here's more from Stasi:
Peter doesn't mean that beautiful women rarely speak above a whisper, if they speak at all. No. To have a gentle and quiet spirit is to have a heart of faith, a heart that trusts in God, a spirit that has been quieted by his love and filled with his peace. Not a heart that is striving and restless. (p. 134)
That makes sense to me and I hope it makes sense to you too. Freeing sense. A freedom to be who you are and who God intended you to be without comparing yourself to someone else. I'll leave you with one more thought from Stasi Eldredge. I pray that today you find rest in who you are in Christ.
A woman of true beauty is a woman who in the depths of her soul is at rest, trusting God because she has come to know him to be worthy of her trust. She exudes a sense of calm, a sense of rest, and invites those around her to rest as well. She speaks comfort; she knows that we live in a world at war, that we have a vicious enemy, and our journey is through a broken world. But she also knows that because of God all is well, that all will be well. A woman of true beauty offers other the grace to be and the room to become. In her presence, we can release the tension and the pressure that so often grip our hearts. We can also breathe in the truth that God loves us and he is good. (p. 135)