Voted ‘Easiest To Talk To’ in high school, I’ve never had a problem striking up conversation. I love people. And I’ll likely drop most anything to meet up with a friend. I just love being with people and thrive on deep conversation that makes me think, and ask, and learn. I want to start a podcast. And I’m also a psychology professor. Talking is just…what I do.
But my superior communication skills (insert laugh) have also brought deep hurt in my closest relationships. Whether it be lashing out at my children or a cutting comment toward my spouse, my mouth has gotten me into more trouble than I’d like to admit.
Sometimes our best qualities hurt our relationships the most.
However, it took me many years to realize that a fiery hot disagreement wasn’t the only communication that could hurt relationship. Possibly even more damaging are the subtle ways my communication conveys to my people, “I’m not happy with you. You still are disappointing me. I wish you were different. When will you change?”
God knows we women are totally awesome because, well, He made us totally awesome. But our awesomeness can sometimes be so incredibly awesome that instead of drawing people to the Lord, it creates barriers. And instead of showing people his love through us, it pushes our people away from us and from him. And my friends, we do not want that.
So God gave us some instructions so that we can grow and learn. 1 Peter 3:3-4 states, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it 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.”
God isn’t saying that we can’t enjoy the beauty He’s created in us or that we cannot glorify him in our appearance. But he is reminding us that something is much more important to him.
All of my fellow fiery sisters out there understand that this verse is somewhat upsetting. Lord, you sure? What do you mean ‘gentle and quiet?’
The Lord also isn’t telling us that we don’t have a voice, because he actually made us with a beautiful and important one. However, he is telling us to be careful in how we use it. The greek word used in this verse for quiet is hesuchios, meaning tanquility arising from within, causing no disturbance to others. It might be more accurately translated as “peaceable.” He is telling us to not be loud and sharp with our words, our tone, our spirit, or our affection.
Knowing this changes the way I approach relationships. It changes the way I want to speak to my husband and my children. It changes the way I choose to give my husband space to process, without making him feel bad for it. It changes the way I wait patiently for him to make the decision. It means I fight the temptation to point out his mistake and instead choose to encourage him with truth. It challenges me to not step in and fix my children’s problems but open scripture and point them toward finding their own solution. It encourages me that I can still be a leader by stepping back and empowering my people to join me in expanding his kingdom in everyday decisions.
Yes, God gave us a voice. A mind. A personality. But He also gave us instruction on what is beautiful to Him. 1 Peter 3:3-4 states that a gentle and quiet spirit are of great worth to him. That he finds pleasure in those who are not disagreeable, loud, or sharp.
Lord, help us to be the women you created us to be! Help us to approach our relationships with gentle and inviting hearts. Help us to use less words and show more grace. Help us to lead with forgiveness.