A recent Sunday morning found me 'mid way ready' for church. You know the phase, not yet complete, not ready to venture out of the house because 'the look' was not in place. My hair was half way done, make up was not yet applied and still in my robe, did not have my Sunday best on yet.
My son came home from spending the night at a friend's house and asked what my father in law's vehicle was doing in the yard. Since I hadn't heard them come up, I had no idea. Later, I found out my in laws were 'carpooling' to save gas on the way to church since they had to leave at different times. The thought hit me, it wouldn't have been a good time for them to drop in, on a Sunday morning, since we were not yet 'ready'!
In addition to the physical side of getting ready, our spiritual side wasn't ready yet either! You know, you're ready when you arrive at church, all smiles, hands extended to shake and the answer of 'just fine' on your lips when the preacher asks how are you this morning! We were not quite there yet as we were irritable with each other over little things like taking turns in the bathroom, not getting up when called, the wrong look, the wrong words and on and on it can go!
The verse that was ready earlier came to mind. I Peter 3:3-4 "Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."
Sometimes so much attention is given to the outward adorning - how we look, what we say and what we do. But the beginning preparations begin in the heart. A gentle and quiet spirit. This isn't just sappiness and it isn't always easy. In fact, it takes a deliberate effort to speak gently when we would like pointedly get our point across. Quietness may oftentimes mean not saying exactly what we think needs to be said - and takes extreme effort and self control not to. Quiet and gentle allows room to see more clearly those around us and their needs since we're not so focused on getting our point across. Quiet and gentle makes room for thoughtfulness, selflessness, compassion and graciousness.
When our desire and focus changes to allow quietness and gentleness in our hearts, we are changed from the inside out. Our words, attitudes and actions change. We don't have to worry about how we look and if we're ready to meet the world. There is an inner beauty - an incorruptible beauty that outshines anything we can buy or wear. We're 'ready and complete' to face the day and all it will bring.
This week, I'll be working on putting in my heart, more gentleness and quietness. Will you join me? It will look so good on you!