For many years I was under the impression that true inner beauty, that of a gentle and quiet spirit, meant that I had to become un-vivacious and turn into a dull, mousy slip of a woman. However, because the Bible commends a G & QS (my abbreviation for 'gentle and quiet spirit), I began praying about how to develop a G & QS while still being myself.
I am not a slip, dull, or mousy. I am headstrong, a hoyden (one of my college professors even told me I was the definitive hoyden: 'a bold and unruly girl." I took it as a compliment), vivacious, energetic. Blunt, sometimes pushy, controlling. But not dull. Never dull.
I began asking other women about the G & QS. Mostly I asked my peers, other college-age women in the same place I was in. I started observing older women around my, trying to figure this thing out.
Still, I haven't figured it out. But in the near-decade since then, I've been through many adventures. Some were grueling and wore me down to a nub. Others were exhilarating and carried me to heights I never dreamed. All, in hindsight, were God's gracious answers to my prayers about developing the G & QS. I was learning to let go (forced to let go!) parts of my Self I held dear, parts I never thought I'd release. I was learning new lessons and new skills, traveling to deeper depths of repentance over sin and anger over injustice than I knew were possible, tireder than I thought I could be and still getting up the next day to do it again.
And God has traveled with me.
Perhaps my body is still un-remarkable, but I see my inner beauty reflected in the people around me, and I am beautiful.