A dear friend of mine said to me years ago, "You are the loudest gentle and quiet spirit I know." It was one of the best complements that I have ever had. For those who know me well, know by my voice, my laugh and my sneeze are all naturally loud and some may even say I have an equally loud personality and that has made it challenging for me in being a Christian woman. Some Christian women think I ought to change, conform to being a "lady." Fortunately, I have friends who happen to be Christians that love me for who are am. They don't simply tolerate me but genuinely love me.
I read this post and while it talked about aging and beauty, it also quoted that scripture about the gentle and quiet spirit. The phrase actually modifies "the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty." Using the word "loud" to describe a woman in Christian circles is usually used in the negative. Doing my best to shed the sin of caving to the fear of man, I have tried in vain to come to terms with this part of my natural makeup. It is best to just forget about what other people think, how they interpret the Scripture and do my best to be myself and to exercise self-control. If you are in a room full of women, a fire breaks out who do you want to notice sooner, the timid soul who is going to "be a gentle & quiet spirit" and pray for a man to come along to shout FIRE or me? Not only will I shout but I would take action. Do you see where this takes us when we "add" to what God has written? When we take Scripture out of context and apply it to what we decide, it is not actually an application but "adding words" to the Sacred text which by the way we are forbidden to do.
When we read it in context:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 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. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:1-7 ESV)
There is a great tendency to want to just lean on a few words and turn them inside out. (We have all been guilty of this) People take the principle of looking upon the heart which is one of the points Peter is making in this passages and apply it to my externals, the exact thing that Peter is saying not to do.
I want to say to myself and others, Be Yourself. God has created you for His purposes. He is the Potter and we are the clay. When other clay criticizes you just for being you, gently tell them to take up with the Potter. There is so much diversity in the body of Christ and I hate to see it squashed by people who want the body to be divided in half: women who look, sound, dress and act alike and men who do the same on the masculine side. A body like that lacks beauty and does not bring glory to the one who has made us. Keith Green wrote that "we are like windows stained with the colors of the rainbow." The Light of the World wants to shine through us and he has made each of us oh so wonderfully different.