I’m an overachiever.
In High School I was a Varsity cheerleader, the star quarterback’s girlfriend, Student Body President, hot on the heels of the Valedictorian, and voted Most Likely to Succeed.
And I loved it.
At Auburn University I quickly found my place as a student leader in a large Christian organization on campus where I eventually served as a Student Staff member. All the while I kept up my grades and earned the Chemistry student of the year for the Junior class and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
It all thrilled me.
There is something inside of me that continually wants to be successful at whatever it is that I set my heart toward. Whether it be grades, a home business, blogging, or parenting, I am an idealist at heart, and am driven toward the achievement of those ideals.
How My World Was Shaken
While I do believe that this is a God-given drive, and one that can be incredibly honoring to Him, I’m afraid that I have often used it for my own glory and I’ve found my world centered around who I am in the eyes of others.
Eight years ago my life as an over-acheiver changed forever with my first pregnancy. From the first moments of morning sickness I was limited. I could no longer achieve what I could before.
Over time, motherhood eroded away at my ability to achieve. I found my days consumed with details I could not control. The loss of control left me feeling that I could not succeed.
I found it very hard to feel significant while stuck at home changing dirty diapers.
At times I felt worthless.
How to Be Irreplaceable
At the heart of every woman is a yearning to be seen as valuable, unique, and irreplaceable—whether it be in the eyes of her father, husband, co-workers, or friends.
We all long to be precious.
In our efforts to be special and loved, it is easy to get caught in the trap of appearances. When our appearances can not be controlled, a crash of our world is bound to happen.
There is an interesting word used in part of our passage this week, adorning.
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.
(1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)
The original Greek word used for adorning here is “kosmos”. It is used almost 190 times in the New Testament, and all but two of which are translated into world.
If we go back to verses 3 and 4 and input “world” where we see “adorning” something interesting comes forth. We see a fuller picture of the command given. We are to not let our external appearance be our world, but let our world be set on what is internal.
My world is set on the external much more than I would like to admit.
What a Beautiful Soul Looks Like
In our pursuits of setting our world on being inwardly beautiful, we are given two characteristics from Peter of what a beautiful soul looks like—gentle and quiet.
The word gentle here means meek or humble. The woman who’s focus is toward a humble heart, is a woman who is precious to God.
And then there is quiet. If you are anything like me, you may find this a challenge. I’m not sure that the word quiet has ever been used to describe me! Thankfully, this characteristic has little to do with the volume of our voices.
The meaning here is peaceable, or tranquil. The soul that is precious to God is the one who is able to be at peace.
If worry and anxiety rule our hearts, the peace of God can not rule. We are promised in Scripture that if we choose to let worry go, the peace of God will guard us. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Yet, I AM Precious
The best news of all, is that even on our “loudest” anxiety-filled days there is hope. When we miss the meekness boat and sail through our days in a vessel of pride, we are still precious to God. And when we are more concerned with adorning the external, instead of making our world all about reflecting Christ, we are still precious in God’s sight.
Jesus already lived the perfectly humble and peace-filled life for us, and as we live our lives out of an overflowing gratitude for all He has done, we will emulate His example of a humble and quiet heart.
What is your world centered on? The external or the internal? Are you able to be at peace, regardless of what comes your way? Let’s chat about it in the comments.
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