Biblical Womanhood: Virtue 1--Gentleness

Working my way through her first two months of the experiment, I find myself laughing a lot. Out loud, even. Rachel is a good writer. I appreciate a clever self-deprecating comment, especially when I can identify personally with it.

She starts in October and immediately regrets it because she's in the South and it's football season. How in the world can she cultivate gentleness while watching SEC football? I was eager to see how she fared. Reining in her naturally outgoing, opinionated personality was hard and only half-successful. Realizing that, she noted the common descriptor in Proverbs of an unpleasing wife: "contentious." So she started a swearing jar, in which she placed a penny for each time she failed to display a "gentle and quiet" spirit. Each penny would equate to one minute spent sitting on her roof in penance, since that is apparently what it is like to live with her (see Prov. 21:9). By the end of the month, she found herself on the roof for about an hour and a half.

I found it insightful that she realized an enforced imposing of her virtue of the month--gentleness, in this case--did not actually beget more of said virtue in her spirit. While following the rules as best she could, she knew that inside she was fighting it, becoming restless, as she said.

And isn't that what happens to all of us when we attempt to fit a foreign mold? The virtue itself isn't the issue--we should all (men and women, all followers of Christ) be allowing the Spirit to control us so that gentleness is displayed in our lives. It's the externally imposed manner in which gentleness is expected to be carried out that hems us in instead of freeing us. Tell me exactly how I'm supposed to behave, and I will probably fail. Allow me to express it within the context of my personality, gifts, and life circumstances, and I will be a much more genuine reflection of the Spirit-led person.

Rachel turned to a new spiritual discipline, contemplative prayer, to help her deal with the inner restlessness. A positive habit that would do anyone good.

On to virtue #2....