By: Heidi Jo Fulk
Quiet. Calm. Peaceful. As I shared in my last post, when I studied the word and concept of “quiet” throughout the Bible, it started in the way I thought it might with ideas like these. But I also discovered links to other virtues like humility, wisdom, hope, and strength. The links to strength were particularly profound to me because frankly, I long for strength. True strength. The kind that will equip me for both everyday events and life-changing moments. I’ve been a mom, yea verily alive long enough to know my strength runs out in a hurry. So discovering quiet is a pathway and building block for strength has been remarkable to me.
Another concept sometimes linked to quiet (like in 1 Peter 3:4 where my study started) is gentleness or meekness. Now before you balk at those words, remember that if gentleness and meekness can be linked to quiet and strength can be linked to quiet, then gentleness and meekness can be linked to strength. Don’t fall into the temptation to assume gentleness and meekness equals weakness. I know that goes completely against what our culture tells us, but going against culture is often what we need to be doing. Instead, grasp that gentleness and meekness is more about having a spirit and disposition that puts God in His rightful place. A gentle spirit puts God first, others next, and controls selfish desires. A meek spirit allows us to accept the circumstances of our lives in light of the providence of God and to seek God’s strength to move through them. A definition of meekness from Blue Letter Bible sums these ideas up really well:
Gentleness or meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Galatians 5:23).
Quiet’s perspective is not my perspective, it’s God’s. When we are quiet and have a gentle spirit, we’re squelching our tendency towards “me” and “I” and instead allowing the Holy Spirit to control our minds, hearts, and actions. Then strength will come. Then wisdom will come. But we have to get out of the way. That might mean being literally quiet or quieting the opinions and reactions inside our minds and hearts.
Now before you think a quiet person is writing this from the perspective that quiet comes naturally, let me assure you, I’m not a quiet person. I am not naturally quiet in ANY sense of the word. (In fact, true story—I once broke someone’s eardrum.) So the only way I can have a gentle, quiet spirit is through the power of Christ. Humility, the desire for true strength, and a meekness that is seeking to put God in His rightful place must be my path to quiet.
What’s your path to quiet? What are your hurdles to a gentle and quiet spirit?
We’ll discover ways to pursue quiet in the next post.
HEIDI JO FULK is passionate about encouraging woman and girls to love and live God’s word. She is wife to her high school sweetheart, Dan, and mom to their four young children — Emma Jo, Gretchen, Tucker and Brock. Heidi leads a women’s Bible study and an elementary girls’ ministry at her church.