Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Courageous Spirit

The Girls just left after a long night of talking through our long-awaited look at the "gentle and quiet spirit." There are about as many ideas on what this means and how it looks as there are women to ponder it. Some explanations I've heard are subtler versions of, "if you must speak, sugar-coat it." Because 1 Peter 3:4 allows for only one kind of spirit, and the spirit and the personality can be hard to differentiate in our minds, I was curious about tonight's discussion.

I have never beheld a close group of friends so diverse as The Girls. Elyze is the older sister, type-A, athletic paramedic who is also one of the most giving people I know. I like to say ridiculous things around her only to see her roll her eyes and drop her forehead into her hand. She keeps us on track. Dawn is the goal-oriented public-policy Analyst who is most likely to be the CEO of a major corporation. I've never seen her cry although she swears she does. She also keeps us on track. Em is the color-lovin' gypsy who would drop almost anything to come to the aid of a friend...or for a good adventure. She is the most graceful blend of feminine tomboy I have ever met. Lauren is the animated artist with a wild imagination. You would travel for miles to watch her tell a story. You would also travel for miles to cry on her shoulder. She feels other people's emotions as if they were her own.

Back to the topic at hand. I gave the group bio to show that we are not generally taciturn. But we do sincerely want to know what is important to the Lord, which is why we so badly wanted to find out what Scripture means by the gentle, quiet spirit. I mentioned in an earlier post that my chosen tangent was courage and how it relates to the quiet spirit. In 1 Peter 3, you'll notice that just beyond the gentle and quiet spirit is verse 6 which speaks of Sarah and says, "...and you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." Anything that is frightening? You're sure? I dug deeper and found that almost every reference to fear or courage is coupled with a reference to the Lord's presence or character.

Courageous acts in battle are all over the Old Testament. Surely they had superior weaponry? Or an immense amount of stuff on the other side of the wall waiting to be pillaged? No. Their courage came from an invisible yet undeniable source. Ezra 7:28 -- "I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me." Isaiah 35:4 -- "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God...will come and save you." Haggai 2:4-5 -- "Be strong, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not." Exodus 14:13-14 -- "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today...The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

I noticed a common thread: our courage comes not from what we conjure up, but from an inexhaustible source that is ever reliable and will do what He promised. Our strength fails, our bravery runs out. But when our courage is in the Lord, in the knowledge of His character, we will see battles fought and won for us. We will behold the salvation of the Lord right in the midst of what we fear the most.

So women (and men), I believe a huge step toward quieting your spirit is simply trust. It is casting all your cares at His feet and wholly believing that He picked them up from where you laid them and is working a victory. When we do that, courage naturally follows. Whether your personality is analytical, emotional, funny, serious, black, white, wet, dry or something in between, you can have a quiet spirit because it's the attitude of your heart before the One who knows it perfectly.

Whew! The End.


  1. anna, thank you for sharing this post. i enjoyed it immensely. funny enough, i have been thinking a lot about that verse lately, and it was neat to hear how God is using it in your life.

    i have come to the conclusion, that (thankfully!) the 'quiet' does not refer to speaking rarely. (i'd be in trouble if that were the case. :) but rather, 'quiet' means to be pacified in His presence. to let Him put to rest our restless souls. to be still and know that He is God. to be steady because He is steadfast.

    to be beautiful (the kind that is unfading) to recognize our dependency on Him. to trust Him and let His perfect peace envelop us. (isaiah 26:3)

  2. loved this. thank you for sharing. the girls...invaluable. we are so blessed. LOVE LOVE LOVE you.

  3. what a timely message for me to take courage in the face of entering the work force once again! janet