"You are meant to grace the world with your dance, to follow the lead of Jesus wherever he leads you." - Captivating

Aside from Jesus, "...traveling is the great true love of my life...I am loyal and constant in my love for travel...I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because its mine. Because it looks like me." - Eat.Pray.Love.

Here you will find my travels, not just physical travels but emotional and spiritual as well...journeys to different places in the world and journeys of the heart. And, of course, fun and silliness too :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Quiet & Gentle?

While doing my Bible study this week, I read this verse...

"...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 make themselves beautiful." -- 1 Peter 3:3-5

A gentle and quiet spirit?! Hmmm...not sure I exhibit a gentle and quiet spirit very often, especially not the quiet part. I mean sure I'm shy when I'm uncomfortable but my family and close friends will tell you -- I like to talk. When I was younger I often got "N's" at talks at appropriate times and I always used to tell my mom, as I was talking her ear off, "my mouth is full." And I still feel like my mouth is full often. So does that make me less of a woman of God? Does that disappoint Him? I continued to think about this quiet and gentle spirit a woman is supposed to possess. How do I find the balance between being a strong, confident woman and having that quiet, gentle spirit?

Through reading and time with God I began to realize He is not so much asking me to be quiet and not talk, but more to be at ease and peace with who I am through Him. In doing that I will not only calm my spirit, but those around me as well. In Captivating, (one of my most favorite books) the authors, John & Stasi Eldredge, talk about what it looks like when a woman is striving vs. when she is at rest. When not at rest, she can become controlling and domineering. However, on the other side...

"...what it's like to be with a woman at rest, a woman comfortable in
her feminine beauty. She is enjoyable to be with. She is lovely. In her presence
your heart stops holding its breath. You must relax and believe once again that
all will be well." -Captivating

I want to be that woman. As women, we are supposed to exhibit special characteristics of God -- we are supposed to show his quiet/gentle side. We bring a tenderness to situations that this world desperately needs. I take so much comfort in knowing, as a woman, I get to bring that side of our Lord to the table. I do think its okay (well, actually, more than okay) for a woman to show strength but I think it needs to done in the uniquely feminine way God made us.

"We do long to be fought for; loved enough to be courageously
protected. But there is a mighty fierceness set in the hearts of women by
God...Women are warriors too...offering a tender vulnerability can only be done by an incredibly strong woman, a woman rooted in Christ Jesus who knows whose she is and therefore knows who she is." –Captivating

I could seriously quote that whole book right here. But that quote is exactly my point...that is what He is talking about in a quiet and gentle spirit. So what God is teaching me right now is to find peace in Him so that I can have that easy, tender spirit. So that I am not controlling and uneasy. Lord, give me that inner peace that only you can provide. Help me to remember to turn to you always so that I don't get anxious and restless by the everyday worries I bring upon myself and in turn try to take the control of my life away from You. Let me be a reflection of You in how I treat others--with kindness, love, gentleness, and tenderness. Help me to know when its time for me to be quiet and listen and time to speak up.

I said before I didn't think He was asking me not to talk (I'm still going to talk plenty I'm sure and make jokes when I'm uncomfortable...or comfortable) but I do think He is asking me to think before I speak and to be careful to make sure my words are positive and affirming to others and Him. Sometimes I think my sarcastic sense of humor goes too far--it can cut people down rather than build them up and I need to be careful with that. There are times when I need to learn to listen more and talk less (with God and with others).

It was a joke in my family that this saying really applied to me and, while it may be trite and silly it is still something that is helpful for me to remember--"Lord, fill my head with worthwhile stuff and nudge me when I've said enough."


Kristen said...

Great thoughts, that book sounds good. Love the new look and look forward to reading more about you!

Lucy was sitting with me, while I was scrolling through your posts, and she said that one picture of you was me. Sorry for you, but I loved the compliment!

Mark Seekins said...

Great stuff Ashley. Your blog is so social. How's about a little CCYA link love! www.ccyoungadults.com

*DC* said...

love the flowers. :)

I love Captivating too! Good job. :)

SubBlogger said...

Amazing post Ashley!

Lindsey said...

How weird...I thought about the exact same thing this week. I was reading in 1 Peter this week too and pondered on that same scripture. Great post, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was a little confused about that!