I was walking past a magazine rack the other day when a title on one of them caught my eye: What’s Beautiful NOW.
Because I need a magazine to let me know?
Because what used to be beautiful is not beautiful anymore?
Because what is considered “beautiful” is changing so fast that I can never keep up?
I kept thinking about that – about beauty that’s constantly changing, and results in the feeling of never being able to measure up.
And the verses that kept coming to mind were from 1 Peter:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unchanging beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
It seems like every Christian woman anywhere has heard these verses, and they sound great – an unchanging beauty would be very appealing in a world where fashion and styles change constantly and I’m supposed to need a magazine to tell me what is beautiful right now.
But you know what my problem is? First of all, I really like nice clothes and great hair. I want those things. And having two little girls, I want them to look nice, too. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that it can suck you in so fast that before you know it, priorities are all messed up and I’ve gotten way off track, and it’s time for another reminder that the exterior stuff is not important. It’s just really fun and appealing.
So I go to these verses to get my focus on a beauty that is unchanging, but how do I get it? With a gentle and quiet spirit.
Right. If it said feisty and vocal spirit, that would come much more naturally for me. I’ve always struggled with the words “gentle and quiet spirit.”
When I was younger, I had a friend who seemed to have been born with a gentle and quiet spirit. It kind of drove me nuts, because she was one of those people that was so nice, it seemed to accentuate my own un-niceness. Her voice was naturally very soft and sweet, and I always felt like a loud, aggressive person around her. I badly wanted to be that naturally sweet and quiet.
I’ve been reminded of that over these last few days as I’ve mulled over “beauty right now” versus an “unchanging beauty”. I decided to look up the definition for a “gentle and quiet spirit”, and found that they were described as having a “tranquil spirit”, and a “mildness of disposition.”
Guess what that means? I don’t need a personality change, as I used to think. But when my spirit is filled with the things of Jesus, it will be quiet before Him. I would surrender my will and desires over to Him until I would have a tranquil spirit, even if my voice is not naturally sweet and quiet like my friend’s. It’s not volume, it’s attitude.There’s not just one way to be gentle and quiet – any personality type can be quiet before God, and submit human desires to His.
I don’t have to push my own agenda on people, I don’t need to be aggressive to get my way or prove my point. I need to give that intensity to Jesus, and just focus on Him, to the point where I don’t even care about anything else.
Just Jesus. No silly magazines distracting me!