Most people will call me reserved, quiet. I have not always been so, and am not always still. My friends and family that know me well know that I can at times be goofy and somewhat odd. This is my personality, and while most psychologists will say that personality remains fairly steady over a period of time, people can have developments of personality that cause change.
As I write this, I am sitting in a king-sized hotel bed, hoping to be lulled back to sleep before I have to check out in a few hours. I am alone and came five and a half hours away from my home in order to be alone and go to an event put on by an author I love and her friend. The event itself was only three hours long, but it was a great time to connect with other mothers, relax, and be pampered a little.
The author who spoke at this mini-conference discussed the topic of a gentle and quiet spirit. This Scripture no doubt has been the source of many mixed feelings and interpretations. I personally have heard it used as a mantra, a goal, and even used as a carelessly tossed out insult toward someone the speaker did not think fit the bill- yes even Scripture can be used to hurt people, unfortunately. And while I by no means consider myself an example of this verse, I often feel that maybe I am being judged a little more critically by others when I am neither gentle nor quiet.
And yet, here is the confession:
Sometimes, I am not gentle or quiet with my children.
Sometimes, I am not gentle toward my husband.
Sometimes, I am not quiet or gentle with my friends and family.
Sometimes, I don’t want to be those things.
Most times, I feel freer when I am not.
I like to dance and sing loudly with my children in the living room.
I like to challenge and rebut my husband in friendly banter.
I like to do something new and fun and maybe a little crazy with my friends and laugh a little too loud.
So when this author began to speak on this verse, I perked up. And what she said resonated with me and I felt the truth in her words.
The words gentle and quiet in these verses are also interpreted as undisturbed and established. When your life is in Christ, He gives you a spirit of gentleness and quietness. Your spirit is established and undisturbed in Him. Zephaniah tells us God will rejoice over us with singing and quiet us with His love. He establishes and makes us undisturbed by His love.
It’s not about the volume of your voice or the bigness (or smallness) of your voice. It’s about being rooted in Him, having a spirit that is in deep relationship with Him so that when the storms come, your spirit is quiet, calm. Undisturbed because you know Who He is.
What a freeing thing to know. I have always argued that God has given us all unique personalities, just as He has given us all unique minds, bodies, and souls. Why then would He tell us that we must all be quiet? Does He not say He rejoices with singing, and that He will one day descend from heaven with a shout? Why then do we think that we Christians (women specifically) must be quiet? It is because we take these words and interpret them in our modern context and subject them to our outward appearance even though the Scripture clearly states it is talking about the spirit.
Is your heart established in His love? Are you undisturbed by the trials because your eyes are focused on Him? Then you fit the bill of the verse. No matter how loud or big or wild or odd or silly your personality. Let it shine, because you are the light that shines the joy of the Lord.