"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 unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth (or very precious) in God's sight."
1 Peter 3
One Tuesday morning, when my first daughter was newly born, I was reading my Bible and I came across this verse. As I read it, I started to cry. I'd heard it so many times before, but for whatever reason, it hit me in a fresh way. Perhaps it was because it had been such a transition for me to become a Mommy. I’ve found that pretty much every time I experience a big change in life, I’ve needed to figure out what foundation I’m going to stand on in this new season or place. Many times, I’ve ended up circling back around to find out that I still feel like I’m standing on shaky ground in the area of who I am, and if who I am is good enough. My 'adornment,' and where it comes from, is a huge part of that big question, ‘Am I good enough here, in this place?’
When I'm feeling shaky about who I am, I almost always tend fall back onto thinking that my 'adorning' (or my proof that I’m good enough) should come from something outward: my funny personality, my cute clothes, the skinniness of my shape, the prettiness of my face or hair. They're all things that I use to get people to like me, so that I'll know I'm ok in life, so that I’ll feel like I’m standing on solid ground.
But that particular morning, God quietly reminded me that He values a gentle spirit. A quiet spirit. When I read that the adornment that God thinks is 'of great worth' or 'very precious' to Him is ‘the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit’ (which is how it’s stated in another version), it touched something deep inside of me. Because I know the difference between a gentle and quiet spirit, and a striving and insecure spirit. It just feels completely different in how I act, in how I feel, in what I do. It honestly does feel like an 'inward adorning,' a beauty that's of great worth.
That morning was the first time that I realized that this reminder from God is something I can tangibly put into practice. I spend a lot of time in the morning getting ready for the day: I get dressed, do my hair, put on makeup, make coffee, eat. But I hardly ever get my spirit ready for the day.
I wonder if a practical way to honor God and to value together with Him what He values would be to take a few minutes before entering a situation and 'prep' my heart, so that I can rightly adorn myself with what is of great worth and is very precious to God.
So on that particular morning, as I sat there, I reminded myself that I had two options before me as I prepared to go to my usual Tuesday morning Bible study group. I could go into the room, ready to use the way that I am (my personality, my looks, etc) to my own advantage, in order to help me feel like I wasn’t standing on shaky ground. Or I could go in with the mindset that pretty much all women have insecurities and I have the opportunity to, with a quiet heart and a gentle spirit, put my own aside, and use the way that I am to think about other people and actively ease their vulnerability.
So that’s what I did that morning. It wasn't flashy. Probably no one noticed. But I used my strength and energy to make other women feel welcome, wanted, and valued. And I know that in God's sight, it was very precious.