"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." 1Peter 4:3-4
As a woman, I secretly wish for unfading beauty. When I dare look at my reflection in the mirror, I wonder, "Who's that woman staring back at me?" She lends me the not-so-subtle reminder that time ticks by faster than my twenty-year-old self thought it ever could.
I'm grateful when my husband whispers that I'm more beautiful now than when we first married (all together now..."awww") but I can't help but notice the wrinkles, the white hair, and oh yes, the double-digits on the tag of my jeans that creep higher and higher every year behind my back.
What a relief to know God doesn't care about all that! Well...sort of.
I wrestle with God all the time with that gentler, quieter self he's looking for. If that's what God desires of me, then why did he make me who I am...the not-so-quiet, not-so-gentle me?
So, I asked God about this today, "God, how do I cultivate this gentle, quiet spirit you desire?"
God said, "It's in the knowing Me better. It's all about knowing I Am...laying everything about you at the cross; crucify the self - your past, present and future - and consciously let it go. Relinquish control."
In a word, surrender.
It's all about surrendering to God because everything else holds us captive, strangles us until we can't breathe.
But when we breathe God in, He fills - fills us up with His light - and darkness flees. For light and darkness cannot exist in the same place. Light always overcomes the dark, especially the soul dark.
His light fills and softens the dark, makes our rough edges gentler to the touch. And the more we surrender to His light, breathe Him in, the more our bodies warm - soul deep. And when a body is soul-deep warm, it quiets.
And what's more attractive to a captive, smothering world spinning crazy than a gentle, quiet spirit?
So, I stare back at that unfamiliar woman in the mirror and smile.
If I cannot but help surrender my outer beauty to time, then I choose to surrender my inner self, my soul and the essence of who I am, to unfading beauty through God my Creator. I lay all that I am (past, present and future) at the foot of the cross and pray the longer I stay in His Presence, the quieter, gentler Him will shine through this fading beauty.
And the brighter He shines and spills over, maybe, just maybe the world will surrender, too. And maybe this world will warm - grow gentle and quiet.