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.
For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.
They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.
You are her daughters if you do what is right
and do not give way to fear.
~ 1 Peter 3:3-6
When I was in high school and just coming to know Christ, I remember clearly this verse. It was one of the first verses I heard about what it is to be a woman that knows the Lord. But it didn’t make me feel encouraged. In fact, it made me feel like I had light years to go. Up until a few weeks ago, it still brought a lot of shame to the surface. It was one of those things that I felt like maybe I just wasn’t trying hard enough to be quiet and gentle.
I am not gentle. I can easily be stubborn, stern, angry, shameful at others. I am good at guilt making.
I am not quiet. I can laugh loud. I can talk loud. And I can yell loud.
But I am learning so clearly now that it’s not about being gentle (like petting a rabbit kind of gentle) and it’s not about being quiet.
It’s an inside thing. It’s a trust thing. It’s a vulnerability thing.
It’s letting go of my demands. It’s letting go of my wanting to control. It’s “coming out of hiding, dominating” and trusting Him.
It’s the last part of that verse that I never read:
do not give way to fear.
Because it is fear that drives me to control. It is fear that drives me to anger and shame so often.
I’m learning that if the path I am on makes me a little fearful, it’s probably the right one. It’s scary because it’s bringing me to a place where I have to be vulnerable. I have to open up myself to failure, loss, rejection. I have to open myself up to the opportunity for others not to respond; but to not shut down in that failure, but bring myself even more fully to Him. “To keep my heart open and alive, and find refuge and healing in His love.”
I’ve never in my life longed to be out there.
I’ve never in my life longed to be vulnerable.
But as I seek more fully His face.
As I seek to become this quiet and gentle woman
~ one who is at rest with herself and her God ~
I want it.
I am coming undone.