“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
I’ll be the first to admit that my appearance is important to me. I won’t leave the house without feeling “cute” to myself and when I don’t, I feel self-conscious all day! I always ask my husband as a second opinion. And as a good husband he always tells me that I look beautiful no matter how risky a combination I might be wearing that day. I feel prettier when I paint my nails, highlight my facial features with eyeliner and spend and extra 30 minutes curling my hair to look like Sleeping Beauty’s. New clothes and shoes always give me a bump in esteem. I catch myself “checking myself out” in my reflection in windows and glass throughout the day. After eating, I always check my teeth. Do you find yourself doing the same things? Why does it matter what other people see when they look at us?
According to 1 Peter, real beauty comes from the inside. Have you ever noticed that when something good happens to you, you just sort of beam? It comes from within and you can nearly contain your happiness. It’s like when you find out that you got the highest grade in your class, won an award, answered a question right in front of the class, just were told that you were loved by a significant other, lost five pounds, landed that promotion, got engaged, or found out that you were expecting your first child. It is that inner joy that cannot be replicated on the outside with clothes, jewelry or even a new haircut. It causes you to walk taller, with greater confidence and with a smile plastered on your face. Shouldn’t we exude the same joy from the inside through our walk and faith in Christ? That’s the beauty that Peter is talking about.
Rather than spending time on our outward appearance, I think that Peter, the encourager, it suggesting that we shift our focus to our inner spirituality. It is the true us that only God knows and the person that we show to the world through our actions and words. God knows who we are. He reads our thoughts and hears the intentions of our hearts. Primping our inner selves becomes important and attainable through Bible Study and prayer. It is hard to cast away our outer selves but we have to persevere. Most importantly, we draw closer to our heavenly Father and in turn become better witnesses to those around us. I challenge you to harness that gentle spirit that Peter describes because instead of pleasing the onlookers of the world, shift your focus to pleasing and bringing glory to the One who loves you for you.
Do you get nervous the morning of an early morning flight? I certainly do! The night before I am constantly worrying about leaving something behind, having my boarding passes ready and ensuring that I set my alarm clock so that I wake up on time. With all of the items crossed off the list, my husband and I went to bed with the alarm set for 5:30 a.m. because we were heading to Orlando International airport at 6 a.m. sharp.
Around 5:30 a.m. I abruptly woke up to the sound of knocking. It wasn’t knocking on the bedroom door but rather it sounded like someone was knocking on the door outside of my brother-in-law’s townhome which was just outside of our window. My husband didn’t stir but I was panicked. My heart began to flutter and I had trouble getting back to sleep. Here is where God comes in. My alarm was set for 5:30 a.m. remember? But my clock on my phone had not been updated to Eastern time from Central (we were in Florida) so we were scheduled to wake up an hour later that planned!!!! Chill bumps!!!
My husband and in-laws woke up with me and then we hurried to the airport. My husband and I gave quick hugs and dashed inside to check our bags finding ourselves in this enormous snake-like line! I should mention it was moving at a snail’s pace. The one hour cut-off for our bags to arrive guaranteed in Nashville ticked by. Grumbles ensued. After, what felt like an eternity, we reached the check-in counter, passed off our stuff and booked it for security. We joined the mass of folks and made our way through security with just enough time to use the restroom and make it to our gate. I felt like the McCallister’s in “Home Alone” running through the airport to make it on time.
As my husband and I boarded the plane, we reflected on how we could not have woken up a moment later or we would have missed the entire flight. No one else heard the knocking it turns out so I could only figure that it was God.
This story makes me wonder how many opportunities to hear God knock in our lives we have but we don’t pay enough attention to hear. We need to practice tuning our ears to hear Him in the silence of the night and even in the busyness of our lives. No matter what, God has our back!
I’m currently reading “What Women Fear” by Angie Smith and I cannot begin to express how much I love this book! It reaches such a broad scope of women and their fears such as what if…, of God, of failure and the like. Her candid writing and truthfulness shine through bringing the point of each chapter home. The book is one where each chapter I’m saying to myself,” I totally have or do feel that way!” Each time I sit down to read, I just keep plowing through it.
As I am reading the last chapter, which discusses the fear of failure, I find myself in a super frustrating situation at work. It is actually funny because I had a phone conversation with a lifelong friend and we concluded that as you get older, you learn how to manage your personal ticks and cues to work towards being a better person. I am a scientist and daily I work in a lab conducting experiments. Experiments can be very time demanding or in the “set it and forget it” variety. Yesterday, I finished an experiment that was very time demanding. At the beginning, I had to stay late and pull a twelve-hour day just to get it to a point where I could go home. From work, my kind, sweet husband ran to grab us dinner within walking distance because it was going to be a late night. But it was “ok.” I knew that this experiment was important to my work and so I cranked up the radio and got through it. Flash forward to yesterday. I analyzed the data from the experiment and noticed that after this very large, important experiment and all of the time and resources wasted that it didn’t work. Arg!!!
Anger and disappointment were my first two responses. Aversion to my job, my career path and my life choices came next. I was so overcome with emotion that I just had to gather my things, turn off the light switch in the lab and make my way home. Now bringing it back to the conversation that I had with my lifelong friend and “What Women Fear.” I realized that I wasn’t going to overcome anything by running away despite how badly I wanted to walk into my boss’ office and quit. Since my natural reaction to this type of negative result is aversion and disappointment perhaps instead of being paralyzed by my fear of the lack of success I could lean into the storm and let it carry me. In other words, perhaps it isn’t me who is a failure. There are a number of points throughout the large experiment which could have gone wrong. I may have physically done something wrong but that doesn’t mean that I failed. The experiment did. By leaning into the problem I gain control. I steady myself to take the backlash. To paraphrase Angie in her book, if you are on the path that God has provided for you, then you cannot fail because He won’t allow you to.
Make way for ducklings by shoothead “Flickr” cc
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? -– Romans 2:17-22
Paul is telling us to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.” Sure we can stand around all day and talk our heads off to others but we should be taking our own counsel. It is infinitely easier to tell someone else how to improve their life but why is it so much harder for us to figure out what needs to be changed. Take a look at your own life as is if it were someone else’s. What activities consume your time? Are you doing them to glorify God? How do you react towards others? Is it Christ-like? What behaviors do you notice would not be pleasing to God? I spend my free time before and after work often on the couch in front of the T.V. watching “Pawn Stars” or “American Pickers” when perhaps I could spend more time studying the Bible or writing this blog. We must be transformed throughout all aspects of our lives and this is one way to start.
- Any Guesses? by Raymond Larose “Flickr” cc
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. – Genesis 1:3 (NIV)
Have you ever had one of those a-ha! moments in your life where you knew that it just had to be God working? I remember the application process to graduate school being one of those moments in my life. I applied early, before the January deadline, which meant that I had a significantly longer time to wait than if I had applied later. I was a nervous wreck for those few months! After years of working hard in school, finding internships and preparing applications I was stuck. Finally I received one offer from a school that I had applied to on a whim. I didn’t know why they were the only ones that were interested in me but I took my chances. Good thing that I followed through because it was on that interview that I met my husband. It took awhile to realize it was God leading me to the man that he had created to be my life partner. “A-ha,” I said. I see what you are doing, Lord! Pray that you can keep your eyes open so that God can turn on the light in your life.
I have had some trouble recently at work. Not with other coworkers or anything but mostly because the assay that I have been trying to use has failed me. To explain simply, and ELISA is an assay that is done on a 96 well plate.
The purpose of this assay is to measure protein represented by the teal oval. Each well on the 96 well plate is coated with antibody specific for the oval. Then you add your sample containing an unknown amount of the oval. The antibody coating the plate “captures” the oval and it remains permanently bound. Then a “detection” antibody is added that contains an enzyme that will emit light that binds specifically to the oval. The intensity of the color change is directly proportional to the amount of oval present.
Of course there are many places in the procedure that can go horribly wrong resulting in either false positives or just no color change at all. The end point was that I was so frustrated because I couldn’t get these ELISAs to work. My coworkers had no problem running the thing and were constantly showing me up to my boss. We all concluded that it was me.
I was totally defeated. My whole science career is dependent upon me doing experiments with my hands and if I suddenly came down with “bad hands” consider my career in wet science “over.”
This last time I decided to make a change. I prayed. I believe deeply in the power of prayer and why I didn’t think of offering up my experiment to glorify God sooner is beyond me. But, after a few months of agony, I finally was able to get this experiment to work. I never thought that my job was one that was able to glorify God but clearly I was wrong. God does science. And He does it well.