“Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (ESV)
‘Precious.’ I love that word. We may know we are loved, but to know we are seen as precious is an extra sweet sentiment. When God looks at me, I want Him to see the gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to Him. This does not come as naturally to me as I wish it did, which may be why I refer back to these verses more often than others.
Pearls of Wisdom from My Aunt
Several weeks ago, I was on the phone with my aunt; and, while we were discussing how difficult it is for us to maintain good attitudes when we feel provoked, she mentioned a kind older lady in our church who starts each day by praying, “God, please help me to have a sweet spirit today.”
My ears perked up and my heart was touched. The lady she was referring to is by far one of the sweetest, gentlest, kindest ladies I have ever had the privilege to know. I would characterize her as precious. When I think of I Peter 3:4, I think of her (and ladies like her) – precious. She does not have this demeanor because she has never struggled – quite the contrary. She has endured heartbreaking loss and I am sure she has put up with her share of aggravating people; but, every time I have seen her in my entire life, she has worn an inviting smile. When you are around her, you want to be a godlier person. What better legacy could someone leave? She was good friends with my Grandma Lillie – another precious woman of God with a sweet and quiet spirit – and both of these ladies made me want to be a godlier woman.
“God, Please Help Me to Have a Sweet Spirit Today.”
After the less than precious attitude I displayed this morning, it is clear I need to pray this prayer each morning before my feet ever touch the floor. Eric was getting ready to leave and, for some reason, he seemed louder than usual. Generally, he can sneak out of here like a church mouse. As I held on to my last bit of sleeping time, Ramsey (our golden retriever) began to get excited hearing her alpha clank around in the hallway. Just as I told her to go to her bed, Eric opened the bedroom door and it was over. Ramsey was indeed awake. Which meant, “Mommy, breakfast! Mommy, outside! Mommy, I have energy!” (Oh, if only we knew what she was actually thinking. ~smile~)
My response to her jubilation? I threw the covers off of me as if I was being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night for a fire drill. My body language screamed, “I am ticked!” Needless to say, it was not a pleasant start to Eric’s day. What man wants to hug dragon lady goodbye before heading off to work?
The prayer of this sweet, southern, Church of God woman keeps ringing in my mind, just as it has also been ringing in my aunt’s mind. “God, please help me to have a sweet spirit today” – a simple, ten word prayer that could completely change the course of each day. I can assure you that Eric would be thrilled if I started my days in this way.
What He Wants (No, Needs) From Me
A few years into our marriage, Eric and I were having a fight. It was not a heated discussion. It was not a disagreement. But, there was yelling. As far as I recall, I was probably the only one yelling, but it was a fight just the same. ~smile~ In my fury, I yelled, “What do you want from me?! Seriously, write me a list!” He did just that; and, when I returned to the bedroom, I found his two-itemed list:
It stopped me in my tracks. Eric and I, being complete and total opposites on almost any personality test on the market, are going to disagree. We are never going to conquer and enjoy life in the same manner. He is always going to be a driver and I am always going to want to take it easy. He will always have specific ways he wants tasks completed and I will always complete tasks however it feels right that day. We will not see eye-to-eye on every situation – and that really is okay. Not always fun, but okay.
What Eric needs from me (and what I need from him) is not for me to be his clone and fulfill his every wish. He needs me to be radiating kindness. He needs to know he will come home from work and be greeted with a pleasant spiritual and emotional aroma. He needs to feel at ease in my presence and not on pins and needles wondering when I might erupt on him.
He will never have a perfect wife, but maybe he can have a kind and gentle one? I know he would rather have a sweet-spirited woman in his house than a sour one who completes every task perfectly.
Will You Join Me In Prayer?
One of the greatest ways to bless another, especially those with whom you live and work, is to have a sweet spirit. Will you join me by beginning your day each morning with this prayer? Maybe even document any changes you see in your life as a result?
You will never be the perfect boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. Never. Even if you are a natural home maker or amazing in your career, you will not reach utter perfection this side of Heaven. (And that is okay.) Give it your best and ask God to teach you how to be the person your sweetheart needs. Regardless of your successes and failures, you can approach your future spouse with the blessing of a quiet and gentle spirit.
How has faithfully praying this prayer affected you? [Do it for a week and then come back and comment below!]