February 6, 2012

Thoughts on Being a Lady

Today we are so far removed from gracious living that the word etiquette is basically nonexsistent from our vocabulary and our lifestyles. Somewhere along the way... the idea of being dignified, refined, ladylike, gracious, and socially selfless faded into the background. Now young women seem to get more respect if they are loud, boisterous, rebellious, obnoxious, and sexually aggressive than if they are sweet, polite, graceful, refined, modest, and thoughtful. ~Leslie Ludy
The other night I was watching one of my favorite movies: A Man Called Peter. If I've failed to mention it in the past, let me say so now: I love Peter and Catherine Marshall. If you're ever able to pick up one of their books, do so. But as I was saying, I was watching the film the other night, and was reminded of this one scene I love, where Catherine is speaking at a youth rally to the young women about the honor and gift of being women, which then got me thinking about young women in our society and what constitutes being a lady in this day in age.


Thoughts on Being a Lady...

It's in Our Words. There's nothing more unattractive then seeing a young woman blow up and cussing out those around her. I cringe every time I witness it. This also includes girls who join in with guys in their crass joking, gossiping, slandering, and the usage of profanity in their vocabulary. Throughout the book of Proverbs we learn that words do have power. They can either bring life or death to those we speak them to. Then in 1 Peter we're told that women are to have a gentle and quiet spirit (1Peter 3:4). Now that doesn't mean you can't be outgoing in your personality (which is a whole other topic for another day), but having a gentle and quite spirit does affect the way we speak to one another, don't you think? When we do communicate we're to do so with respect, courtesy, love, and in a way that doesn't belittle people, but builds up and encourages them. Yes there are time when people are going to say things that drive us towards anger, but that's not an excuse for us to lash out. There's a right and a wrong way to argue (again, a whole other topic). Blowing your top, shouting, and cussing at others is definitely THE wrong way.

It's in How We Carry Ourselves. This includes our body language, how we dress, and our manners. When we're around others we should be giving them our full attention by giving eye contact, smiling, and show genuine interest in what they're saying. Even if we're having a bad day or don't particularly like them we still have to watch how we let our negative emotions dictate the way we behave and speak. Secondly, I don't know if it's just me, but it seems that women today either dress like they're going to a strip club or like they just rolled out of bed. A lady makes an effort to look neat and put together. As Christian women we're called to dress modestly. And no, that's not code for dressing frumpy. We really can be modest, attractive, and fashionable at the same time in accordance to our faith and culture. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (and usually trying to excuse the way they're dressing). We need look no further than the Proverbs 31 woman, who was a bit of a fashionista herself (Prov. 31:22). Then there are our manners. I think we can all agree that regardless of gender, people in general need to have basic etiquette when they're out in public, in someone's home, and even in our own houses as well.

It's in Your Actions Towards Others. Are we striving to be sensitive, accommodating, present and available to those around us? In Philippians 2:4 it says that we're to "look not only to his [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others." When we're conversing or interacting with others we need to try to be as sensitive and accommodating to their needs. As Christians we're called to serve others just as Christ came to the world to serve us. Chivalry is not just for men, but for us women as well. We need to look at those God has placed around us and finding ways we can serve or help them. (Side note: We should also make it a point to reach out to those who are on the "outside.") Be gracious to all. Our society is always on the go, go, go! And personally, I feel like in some ways technology has robbed us of truly getting to know people by us relegating our friendships to the social media sites. Don't get me wrong, I have Facebook and Twitter and think there's great benefits to them, but at the same time I think it can take away from actually getting to know people and spend time with them. Then when we're out with our friends and family we drag our smart phones with us. Maybe this is just a pet peeve of mine (nah, it's not just me), but I find it really annoying when I'm trying to have a conversation with someone and their glancing at their phones every other minute, or texting someone at the same time. What we're really saying when we do this is, "You're not important enough to have my full attention or my time." Put that phone away! Be fully present for the other person! (Sorry about the little soapbox episode there, but I had to get that off my chest.) Finally, a lady supports her local chivalry! In other words she encourages the men in her life to be gentlemen. If a guy opens a door for you, offers to carry something for you, buys you cup of coffee, etc. then take the time to send him a friendly smile and say "Thank You." By doing so you're showing him respect. What you're saying is "Hey, I noticed that and appreciate you doing so." It's a two way street if you think about it. Yes, men should be more chivalrous, but that doesn't excuse us women from being ladies.
If more females would sit down and be ladies, then more males would stand up and be gentlemen! -Unknown
Like all facets of our lives it always comes back to the heart. The way we talk, serve one another, and carry ourselves speaks volumes as to what our inner priorities and values are. Being a lady (or a gentleman for that matter) is really about displaying Christ to the world. Are we representing Christ well?

6 comments :

  1. Natalie you've done it again! Society has put it into our brains that we must be so assertive and have a "get what you want" attitude! This is not biblical! We were made in to creatures that are humble, graceful, loving and fearful of Christ and loving. God gave us these characteristics that we may use it also when we become wives and mothers! Great post :)

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  2. amen!
    a lady knows she is a women when she meets a man. Love that.

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  3. i love this natalie!! thanks for writing and sharing :)

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  4. This was an amazing post. One that many many women need to read.

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  5. totally with you on the smartphone thing. golly. FOCUS PEOPLE!!!!!

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