“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.” I Peter 3:3-4
The first time I remember being really introduced to this passage of scripture was by a Christian counselor. I cannot recall with clarity the specific reason for the introduction. I am sure my life issues offered lots of opportunity to apply this verse. I was a Christian wife but I often did not reflect it. I was a fighter, not with fists, but with words and tone and attitude. I had a quick response to most attacks. I could hide behind a self-built wall and very capably throw grenades. The lyrics in the Billy Joel song, She’s Always a Woman, “she can kill with her smile and wound with her eyes and she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while your bleeding,” come to my mind.
My internal reaction I can still remember today, over 15 years later; it was one of disdain. I did not see myself as quiet and gentle and did not really care to have those words used to describe me.
Not only did I have a warped view of this verse, I did not see the value of its application to my life. I thought, at the time, that would mean I was weak and unable to speak my mind. It would mean I was a rug that others could walk on, a mouse, a wimp, someone with no boundaries or thoughts or understanding of their own self-worth. I thought this because most of my life I believed the lie that if I was going to be taken care of, I was going to have to do it myself. And I had done a poor job of caring for myself. I made poor decisions in my early dating years that led to more poor decisions and the slow but thorough crumpling of my inner-self. I was a mess on the inside. And being quiet and gentle did not walk alongside strong, brave, and courageous.
So my response to this verse was, No, Thank You. How many times have I said no, thank you, to a gift from my Father God?
I now have a very different understanding of this verse and treasure the opportunity to reflect a gentle and quiet spirit.
I am strong, brave, and courageous, and these attributes do walk alongside gentle and quiet. For me this transformation has happened because I now have a better understanding of who I am and whose I am. I embrace the gift of submission to my Father God and the leadership of my husband. I cooperate within the design and gifting of a loving wife. I want to be of great worth.
This understanding came with a cost, as does every worthwhile goal. I lived many years striving and failing, striving and failing, until I let go of trying to do it my way.
My desire all those years ago was to be the kind of wife that was loved and treasured and cared for, because that is God’s design. Often times I get side-tracked and distracted by my environment and circumstance, and by a desire to make it work on my own. I am learning to trust God with more of my heart and thank him daily for His love.
I still strive and fail at times, and I’m sure I may not always reflect a quiet and gentle spirit. But when I align myself with the truth of God’s Word, I am able to rest and find peace in my life and to know that I am of “great worth.”
I can only assume that many other Christian wives might struggle with this verse or misunderstand it. I now tell my story to others in order to encourage and offer hope. Because we always find more joy when we are living out the plan of our Creator.
Jaimi Jones loves her life. Her favorite place to be is in the arms of her husband, John. She was born and raised in Texas, currently residing in Oklahoma. Words she would use to describe herself: energetic, passionate worshipper, encourager, wisdom seeker and gatherer, overcomer, and prayer warrior. She desires to follow Jesus into the unknown places and loves being a part of a greater adventure than she can even imagine. She and John have a marriage ministry, visit their page here.