What is Elegance?

     I have a confession.

     Sometimes I fake elegance. Maybe for months at a time. Other times I feel elegant. Maybe for a moment, or maybe for a long time.

     I love doing myself up for church or a party, and I tend to get compliments on my choice of scarf, shoes, or hairstyle.

     The truth is, I don't have it all together. Sometimes I have nice clothes on, but I'm not feeling very elegant. So I fake it. I fake the smile, the hair, the glamour. I do the same things I do on other days, but it doesn't make me feel very lovely.

     What decides whether I am feeling elegant or not? What is true elegance?

     One night awhile back, I braided my hair. I put my two rings on. I wore my fanciest clothes, my most pulled-together outfit. It was a special night indeed. I was going to be seeing all my middle school AND high school friends. And we would say goodbye to our youth director, who I was very close to.

     And the words going through my head brought something to mind. Braided hair, fine jewelry, fancy clothes.

     It sounded like 1 Peter 3:3-4.

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.

     My hairstyle was elaborate. My jewelry was gold. My clothes were fine. None of those things are wrong. In fact, it's good to represent Christ well on the outside by taking care of our bodies.

     But, young ladies, we must remember to take care of our inner selves. I'd already done my quiet time that morning, but I knew I wanted to feel elegant-- on the inside. So I read these verses and meditated on them.

     Gentle and quiet.

     Oh, Lord, how I want those. How often I am harsh and loud!

     So, with a resolve to be much gentler and much quieter, I headed out the door and ended up reading the first half of Ephesians while waiting to go to church.

     It was God's gentle and quiet reminder to think about and spend as much time on my inner self as my outer self. Because my inner self is more important than my outer self.

     Throughout that evening, I laughed. I cried. And most of all, I hugged. I hugged our youth director's wife (or she hugged me...but it's hard to receive one without giving one) and cried all over her shirt. I hugged my small group leader. I hugged our youth director. I hugged my friend who was even more affected than me by our youth director's leaving. I hugged crying friends after they said their last goodbyes.  I hugged my friends who said they NEVER cry but who did end up shedding a few tears.

     A hug. Tears. Both are quiet and gentle.

     Lord, let me be a young lady who has a quiet and gentle spirit.

     That is elegance.


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