I can say that I have never had a gentle quiet spirit. I do think as I have aged I have become less argumentative, more reflective, and less confrontational. I am not sure this is the attitude that is pleasing to God but I can assure you it is...more pleasing to me. This attitude, which is to say less than before but still not altogether gone does make life easier for me and I suspect those I encounter. But, I wonder if this is more of a response to aging rather than any real growth on my part as occasionally...I still find myself in the midst of conflict whether it be with another or raging within myself. Am I aging like a "fine wine"? or Am I losing my "Fizz" and going flat like a soda left opened for far too long?
There is a young lady I know who has a passion to change the world and she boldly speaks out at the injustices she sees...and I know all of it springs from a pure place of her faith. She just knows in her heart that IF you only would listen to her that you would realize, as she does that an injustice is being done. She reminds me so much of who I was. She causes me to to recall a time when I believed that I could make a difference... lately...I choose to walk away and not speak my mind. I don't feel this is the gentle quiet spirit that God finds so precious. I suspect it is apathy.
Recently, I was in a grocery store and witnessed an unkind encounter. An older Hispanic couple with a child, a boy of about 9 were paying for groceries with food stamps. They were struggling to navigate a process, which seemed new to them. The clerk, a young man patiently came around the corner and with a deference associated with respect to older people spoke to them in Spanish. I was moved by his patience. I had already liked this young man and this just reaffirmed my "good taste" in people. It was then that I became aware of the huffing and puffing of the woman behind me. It was then that I heard her nasty comments...It was also when I started to pray silently. "Please God...please let me be silent!" As he bagged the couple and child's considerable groceries...her nastiness grew louder and I prayed more fervently while biting my tongue! "Please God, let me be silent. Let me respond as my husband would!" Immediately a voice within me said "Bob would NOT remain silent and I have not sent Bob...I have sent you!" It was all that I needed. I turned and asked this woman "Are you okay?" She seemed stunned as I whispered "Because you are embarrassing all of us including that little boy!" "They are buying groceries as you and I are doing AND that young man is doing a fine job waiting on his customers!" and I smiled my biggest, most sincere smile as I addressed her again..."If you are in a hurry, you may go ahead of me!" And I meant it...and she did go ahead of me.
I try everyday to be better at this human experience...sometimes, I am better than other times. But, in all the experiences I have whether I succeed or fail...it is in the discernment process, the time I ask God to help me that I feel closer to him. I pray that I will find the balance between being apathetic and attaining a gentle quiet spirit...which is pleasing to God and everyone else in grocery line!
Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy
hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known
for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle
quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1Peter 3: 3-4