“Rather, it (your beauty) 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.” 1 Peter 3:4 (NIV)
My calendar says that Spring began two weeks ago, but my outdoor thermometer doesn’t exactly verify that. Today there is a cold rain coming down, and I just checked weather.com for the current temperature—41 degrees at 2:00 in the afternoon … looks like 41 is the high for today. I am still wearing my Winter clothing, and our home thermostat is still on “heat.” Mother Nature seems to be sleeping longer than usual this year; in fact, she barely seems to have yawned and stretched her arms. There are a few daffodils here and there, and some Bradford Pear trees are beginning to timidly open their buds. The 10-day forecast shows highs in the mid 70’s next week, so I am guessing that Spring will suddenly burst onto the scene. And, quite honestly, I can hardly wait! The barren, seemingly lifeless tree limbs will begin to dress themselves in green, flowers will bloom, birds will sing, and I might even hear a bumble bee. Spring is my favorite season—I am surrounded by beauty on every turn. My favorite Spring flowers are daffodils and peonies—they both have such delicate blooms. Alas, they just never seem to last very long; it seems one minute they are in full dress array, and the next minute they are fading away. The only way to capture their beauty and keep it is with my camera.
Scripture (1 Peter 3:4, above) tells us we should possess an inner beauty that does not fade: a gentle and quiet spirit. But look again….it also says those qualities are “of great worth in God’s sight.” WOW! That’s a pretty tall order in this day and age—to have a gentle, quiet spirit in a society that bombards us not only with noise but also with what it perceives “beauty” to be. Better Homes & Gardens magazine recently published (April 2013 issue) the “best” beauty products picked by over 77,000 voters. I scanned the list, and I confess that none of the products I currently use made the cut. And I also confess that I made note of 3 or 4 of the products — best lipstick, best anti-aging cream, best anti-wrinkle cream, etc. Will I “buy and try”? Probably. It’s certainly okay for me to work on my outer beauty (I definitely need it!!), but I must remember to work on my inner beauty as well—that should be the top priority. So how do we work toward a gentle and quiet spirit? Consider starting with this approach: each day ask God to clothe you in gentleness and quietness. Then while standing in front of a mirror, look at yourself and say aloud, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) As you apply make-up, imagine that the foundation or cream you are smoothing on your face is gentleness. When you apply lipstick, imagine you are coating your lips with quietness. If you’re a man, try the same principles while shaving. AND don’t forget to think before you speak–more and more I am learning to just not say anything rather than make an unnecessary comment. Scientists tell us that the average man speaks about 25,000 words per day, a woman about 75,000 —no comment!!!
April is Spring personified, so enjoy watching the gentleness of it unfurl. As you work on your gentle and quiet spirit, I hope somewhere on the journey you receive life’s ultimate compliment—“You have a beautiful heart.”
(c) 2013 Leslie O. Kelley
photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net