Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (NIV)
"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)
How could I have done it? How could I have gotten into an argument with my pre-teen daughter that reduced me to the level of: "Did not!" "Did too!" It was that bad.
I walked away knowing I needed a time out. Wasn't I supposed to be the grown up? Wasn't I supposed to be the mature, godly, Proverbs 31 woman? At that moment, I was anything but.
Frustration at the interaction with my daughter rushed through my veins like adrenalin after a near accident. I tried shaking it off, but the emotions stuck with me.
As I replayed the conversation in my mind, I thought of all the mature things I should have done and said. I saw myself as I wished I'd been - calm, gentle and dignified. And I wondered how I had drifted so far from the woman I wanted to be.
Dignified. The very word speaks to something in my spirit. I imagine a self-controlled woman making deliberate choices about what she says and does based on her priorities. I imagine a woman whose personality is not changed by circumstances, but exhibits grace under all kinds of challenges.
What is dignity anyway? We find it mentioned in Proverbs 31:25 as something to be desired, "She is clothed with strength and dignity." My dictionary defines it as "the quality or state of being worthy, honored or esteemed." Based on that definition and the entire chapter of Proverbs 31, I believe a woman clothed in dignity is one who knows who she is in Christ, and chooses to act in ways consistent with her high calling as a child of God.
Sadly, I have at times allowed the actions and words of another to impact my choice to maintain my dignity. In moments of frustration, I have set aside that dignity and allowed emotions to rule.
In the frustration of having a schoolyard argument with my daughter, I forgot I was a woman chosen by God and given the strength to deal with daily challenges. God invited me to clothe myself in His power, and I had rejected His offer of help.
I had a lot of apologizing to do: first to my daughter, then to God. I'm thankful both forgave me, and offered me an opportunity to try again to model dignity. It made a difference. The next time I felt emotions threaten to overtake me, I took a deep breath and thought, "I am a woman of dignity." Then I prayed for God to step in and clothe me with His power to be that woman.
Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me to be a woman of dignity. I know You see my potential, but the truth is I struggle daily to be that woman. Please help me to sacrifice my selfish nature and replace it with Your gracious spirit. I know I need Your help. In Jesus' Name, Amen.