1Peter chapter 3:1-6 is my encouragement, my challenge, my inspiration, my call to obedience.
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery 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. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
It is a passage of scripture that I have wrestled with a lot. The jewellery thing was no-brainer since I never wore much anyway but I used to think because I was a vocal, creative personality I could not be truly ‘Christian,’ without changing my personality.
It was more than just cleaning up my language. The whole gentle and quiet thing confused me. How could I have a gentle and quiet spirit?
I tried really hard to fit into other women’s shoes for a while. I was afraid to be myself.
But what I figured out after a number of years was that no amount of pretending to be gentle and quiet on the outside had the same effect on my spirit. In fact it had the opposite effect. My spirit was louder and more aggressive than ever.
Instead what helped me was working with God to find out exactly who he made me to be. I had to become more me than I had ever been. I had to throw off all the bits of me that I had put on to please others and step into my own shoes. Then I could submit to my very own husband trusting that he was wearing his own shoes and not someone else’s.
In fact it was never about the shoes. It was about the walking. Out of the mud and into the light.
Just like it was never about jewels or hairstyles. It was about the living. Living a whole life, full of hope in God, as I was uniquely created to be. Me not someone else.
My loving my husband and my kids needs to come out of me.
Not out of Facebook or Pinterest or a book or a magazine, just because someone else had some success with it, out of me-united-with-Christ.
My being sympathetic and humble and compassionate won’t look like yours even though we are like-minded. Just like my eye and my ear experience the same world they don’t experience it the same way. In fact they tell completely different stories but they have the same filter. The brain. They are like-minded.
You and I can be like-minded and yet as different as the eye and the ear. So can our marriages and our families and our homes.
God would be devastated if the eye tried to hear and the ear tried to see because then the body of Christ would be deaf and blind.
We are made differently on purpose so that we can be a fully functioning body for Christ, we work naturally better with some people, we have no idea about the purpose of others but that doesn’t mean God is unaware nor does it mean they should have our purpose.
Imagine if the feet tried to be the breasts! Or if the brain got out of the head to take over from the hands. Crazy!
Peter says do the right thing and do not give way to fear. Do my right thing. Not someone else’s. Not my husband’s, not my children’s…. Don’t be afraid to be my best self. Don’t try to do someone else’s job even if I think they are not doing it properly.
Do not give way to fear.
Verses 8-17 are all about suffering for the Lord. I think this sums up Motherhood pretty well.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
So how am I to face the insults, evil, threats, malicious talk, slander and harm inflicted (to my horror) by my own offspring?
How? Submitted to the Lord, then to my husband, prayerfully, without fear, respectfully, with blessing, keeping my tongue from evil or deceitful speech, turning from evil, seeking and pursuing peace, eager to do good, being ready to give a respectful and gentle answer for the hope that I have, putting to death things of the body and being alive in the Spirit.
Why? because I revere Christ as Lord in my heart.