A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

12:33 PM

I've felt enormously convicted lately about my disposition. I keep hearing 1 Peter 3:4 quoted over and over again.
 "Instead, make yourselves beautiful on the inside, in your hearts, with the enduring quality of a gentle, peaceful spirit. This type of beauty is very precious in God's eyes."
Gentle has never really been a word that I've identified with. Quiet comes easily and it's a common misconception that the two go hand in hand. You'll notice the translation I quoted does not use the traditional "quiet",  it says "peaceful". I think that's the key. Gentleness does not accompany quiet, it accompanies peace. Gentleness can only emerge when dissension and agitation are absent. If there is order within your heart there is no need to be harsh and ill- tempered. That's where gentleness comes in.
 My quiet nature is not peaceful and that is perhaps why I've struggled with this idea. I've mistaken restlessness for strength. When I was younger I bought into the lie that as a woman I needed to stronger than "religion" told me I could be. I wanted break out of the role of tradition and make my own life. This made me restless and sometimes that can feel like freedom, but it's not. When I'm restless I become quiet. When am I at ease I can hardly stop talking. This is where the confusion sets in.
I used think that because I was quiet I needed only to work on being gentle.  Now I realize that I have to work on finding God's peace before I can be gentle. A quiet spirit does not mean a quiet personality. It means a spirit that is at ease and has no fretful battle to fight. For me "quiet" is not a sign of peace, it is the opposite. When I am quiet, I am restless, and therefore I am neither peaceful nor gentle. That is what this verse has come to mean for me. I ought to be cultivating peace and not quietness. While for some people peace and quiet are the same, they do not coincide with me. My quiet demeanor is rooted in an insecurity that I allowed to be established and now I'm working on eradicating that through God's grace. I hope this Sunday afternoon has found you in a state a peace, and if it hasn't, I hope you'll ask God to lead you to it.

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