Can I tell you one of the Bible verses that’s been chasing me around lately?  It’s Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

When the Lord was handing out the gentleness gene in July of 1969, I forgot to stand in that line.  Lots of people who were being fashioned at the same time as me got the gentleness gene.

Some people stood in line twice and got a double dose.

Me?  Not so much.

Now, I can have moments of gentleness.  I can perform acts of gentleness.  But, gentleness doesn’t ooze from the core of who I am. This is especially true if I get stressed OR if I get sleepy .  I need a sign to hang on my bedroom door that warns my people of something once the clock strikes 8:30 pm.

“Please note, the Holy Spirit has temporarily left my body to go help out a sister half way around the world who is just now waking up.  Enter at your own risk.”

Now, I know that is some terrible theology.  But, I’m being honest ya’ll.  What little threads of gentleness I do have are not evident past 8:30 pm.  Not.  At. All.

And then there’s the thing that happens when I get stressed.  Normally, I can pull off a little gentleness throughout the day- but throw in some stressful situation where too much is coming at me too quickly and mercy lou.  I get task oriented and start talking in a real staccato like cadence to my people because I want the stuff around the house done. right. now. not. in. 10. minutes. because. now. means. now.

Then a friend will call. Suddenly, my voice is as smooth as butter and my conversation soft as cotton.

I don’t want this to be how my kids remember me.

I don’t want this to be how I remember me in this season of life.

So, this verse that has been coming to mind over and over and over about letting my gentleness be evident to ALL- is quite appropriate even if it does step on my toes a bit.  So, here’s a little sermon I’ve been preaching to myself:

Let YOUR gentleness be evident to all.  The “your” part means I do have some.  I didn’t miss standing in that line and my wildfire personality isn’t the exception.  I am capable of displaying God’s gentleness because the Holy Spirit is in me. It’s in me when I feel all chipper at 8:30 am and it’s in me when I feel grumpy at 8:30 pm.  It’s in me when I feel calm.  It’s in me when I feel stressed.  Gentleness is in ME!

I just have to learn to reclaim the gentleness that is rightfully mine. And I can reclaim it by practicing the one word that appears right before Phil. 4:5… Rejoice. The more my heart is parked in a place of thanksgiving and rejoicing the less room I have for grumpiness.

My kids are driving me crazy?  At least they are healthy enough to have that kind of energy.

Rejoice.

My laundry is piled to the ceiling?  Every stitch of clothing is evidence of life in my home.

Rejoice.

My husband isn’t all skippy romantic about the two of us shopping together?  In the grand scheme of life, so what.

Rejoice.

I feel unorganized and behind and late on everything…  Scale back, let unrealistic expectations go, and savor some happy moments today.

Rejoice.

And the more I rejoice, the more I keep things in perspective.  The more perspective I have the more gentle I become.

Even at 8:30 pm.

By Lysa TerKeurst

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  1. 1

    Needed this post this morning, Lysa. Thanks for it!

  2. 2

    Lysa,

    This is so timely and I so connect with you on all points! This is an area that I’ve been challenged about lately. May God help us all – thank God for grace!

  3. 3

    I am in badly need of this virtue too!! I had to laugh at your *sign* you wanted to hang…just love it! I say the same thing…I don’t want my kids to remember stressed, negative, snappy mom. It’s not their fault I don’t sleep well or have to take call at night for work. I will join you in prayer for this much needed virtue : )

  4. 4

    GREAT post….a reality for many of us! Thanks for “no excuses”….we are to display gentleness!

  5. 5

    I was JUST reading/praying about this verse yesterday! It’s interesting that you paired it with rejoicing; I was linking it to peacefulness- that comes from really trusting God. I think it’s all those things wrapped together!
    Thanks! For your post, for your writing, for your example. You’ve been a blessing in my life ever since I first read “Leading Women to the Heart of God.” It was SUCH a blessing to me and in my friendships. Thanks so much for everything.

  6. 6

    Oh Lysa, you just wrote my life on the page! I realize more than ever that tiredness is s gentleness/grace robber in my life. Not pretty. But God is working on me in this area, and it is nice to know I am not alone!

    Thanks for oozing encouragement!

  7. 7

    yes. you speak for so many of us this morning. rejoice! think i just picked out my next memory verse. thanks!

  8. 8

    This is my ultimate goal this year. I keep telling myself “baby steps”. It’s been a very challenging year to find my gentle spirit and it’s only February. I’m determined to find that “sweet spirit in me somewhere. The Lord has his hands so full reminding me constantly all day, that I don’t know how he has time for anything else. Kidding….
    Thanks for this little reminder.

  9. 9

    Hit me right between the eyes! I think we were separated at birth :)

  10. 10
    Beth Williams says:

    AMEN Sister! I, too, lose my gentleness when sleepy or stressed.

    Thanks for a wonderful insightful post!

  11. 11

    That totally describes me! I’ll try to remember that I do have gentleness in me. I, too, do not want my children to remember me like this. Thank you for sharing!

  12. 12
    kathy rudolph says:

    All skippy romantic!!! Hillarious. You are the best! Thanks…..Kathy

  13. 13

    The Lord told me several months back when I was having bad month of nasty attitudes, complaining about the messy house and all those clothes, you know one of those days when you suddenly realize you are the ONLY one working! And everyone else seems to sit in the mess and be totally at peace with the world….

    He said if you will put scriptures everywhere in everyroom as you clean you will think of ME. Not the clothes, the dishes or what you really wan tot say but should not you will rejoice and praise ME.

    I did this and what a difference it made. I was able to find joy in serving my family again and what peace and gentleness this brought to my home. Allow the Holy Spirit to soften you and push back all the mess so that all we see is HIM!

  14. 14

    Love it! Love your sign! Love your post! Love you! Thanks!!! :-)

  15. 15

    You are so right, we can’t just excuse our behavior, saying “This is just the way I am.” God calls us to become more Christ-like. I also find that I’m much kinder, more gentle, and more gracious to the people outside my home. How is it we give the worst of ourselves to the people we love most? Thanks for the encouragement and challenge because “I don’t want this to be how my kids remember me.”

  16. 16

    This is exactly how I will describe myself and exactly what I’ve been pondering lately to write about, for it’s one thing that I’ve been wrestling with. The way you describe it, that’s just what I am: gentleness is pre-meditated (reciting in my mind: “gentleness/kindness starts now”, before I open my mouth), that’s why if I’m caught off-guard, gentleness easily evaporates.

    Oh, but I’m praying hard and working hard on it, that it becomes natural (and not contrived) and a real part of me and flows continuously and consistently. Prayers and practice make perfect. I’ve still a long way to go, but I thank the Lord for the journey and His guidance.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  17. 17

    This could not have come at a better time ! I so needed to hear this one today!
    For I too- ” can have moments of gentleness. I can perform acts of gentleness. But, gentleness doesn’t ooze from the core of who I am.”
    One year ago today marks a not so gentle memory.

    Thanks for being who you are and for sharing !

  18. 18
    Teresa Fransik says:

    Thanks Lysa! You have said so eloquently what we all feel all the time. Thanks for putting it in perspective and letting us all know that we can do it!

  19. 19

    This is so good. I can totally identify with you! Sometimes we have to remind ourselves who we actually are in Jesus Christ instead of who our flesh screams at us to be. Thanks for sharing in your very well-written way.

  20. 20
    Gena Rogers says:

    Thanks for the reminder. Indeed timely for me! Right after the first of the year I sensed God asking me to identify a word that I wanted to define me in 2011. I picked “gentleness” because I SO want to be gentle and SO don’t act like it most of the time. It’s something I pray for everyday, without fail. And now I have a Scripture I’m going to put with it!

  21. 21

    Thank you Jesus! You know just what to send my way at the precise moment I need it!
    I’m similar to you (Lysa) with the missing out on the gentleness gene. I have a great capacity for compassion/empathy but for some reason…..this gentleness thing got a way from me. :(
    I can have the best of intentions….but when I deliver, it turns mean and ugly!

    Loving this post and feeling extra gentle today~~~~~NO MATTER WHAT!!

  22. 22
    AnnMarie says:

    Yes this resonates with me, even to the 8:30 p.m. Lord help me to be gentle and to show others your nature which lives in me even to the unlovely, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  23. 23

    Oh, yea, I wasn’t there when they were passing out the gentleness genes. And it is something that as a Christian and as a mom, I have had to constantly pray and look to God for help and work at it myself to change my attitude. I love this post and your reminders for us!
    Bernice
    Are we there yet?

  24. 24

    i love how you can drive a really good point home while still making me laugh silly. :) my problem is that it’s easy for me to have gentleness with others, but i seem to have a really hard time finding it for myself. I can get frustrated with myself faster than just about anything in the world. I guess that “all” should include ourselves as well, eh?

  25. 25

    I knwo the Bible pretty well, but that scripture rocked me: really? me????? gentle!!!!
    Loving, full of energy, devoted, full of faith, but gentle???? ME!
    And it sounds like a command?
    Ditto: i was not in the line either on my day to receive gentleness and have always felt so bad and coveted it. I so want to be gentle in all things, but i move oo fast and I honor the way God made me, I am an Annie Oakly kind of gal ( as in the star of Oklahoma) with tons of energy and I tell my Girls when thins go crazy that I’m just being dramamtic: translation/ loud, too enthusiastic. perhaps emptional.

    Thank you, Thank you for reminding me that through the precious, Gentle Holy Spirit I can receive and deliver Holy Spirit Gentleness. And I pledge to practice it today through his power.

  26. 26

    Lysa: this is so true and I so needed this! You are such a blessing and an encouragement in your writing and speaking as well. Thanks!!!

  27. 27

    I so relate to this! Lysa, you seem like such a gentle soul! I’m dealing with some yucky stuff right now and the last thing I want, is to be gentle. So I am refraining from saying much because I KNOW it’s not gonna be pretty. Feeling wronged certainly brings about some ungentle thoughts and words for me. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  28. 28

    Sometimes, I don’t feel like being gentle either. But I know my words when they come out will be irreparably harsh. That never helps a situation. So I force my anger down until Jesus pours His gentleness over it.

  29. 29

    Good grief! Thank for your honesty. I LOVE that God is SO God that He is able to still live in us & love us & apply grace to our lives even when we choose to not live controlled by His Holy Spirit. Oh, God! Thank You for being YOU!
    Rejoicing in HIM! ~Terri

  30. 30

    Thank you, Lysa for pointing out that the verse says YOUR gentleness. I possess it, and God wants me to exercise it!

  31. 31
    ANNETTA EVANS says:

    LISA, I LAUGHED OUT LOUD AT WORK WHEN I READ THIS BECAUSE IF MY KIDS READ IT THEY WOULD SAY THAT IS MY MOM. I REALLY NEEDED THIS TODAY. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO FOR ALL OF US.

    ANNETTA

  32. 32

    Thank you, you spoke the words that are hidden in me. What a “sermon” to preach to myself everyday!

  33. 33

    Goodness, I could have written this post! I have a taskmaster inside of me who really likes to give the ol’ elbow in the ribs to the Spirit, if you know what I mean. But, yes, I have noticed that as I get older the nudges go the other direction, and the Spirit is gaining some ground- Praise be to God!
    Thanks for these wonderful words of wisdom- spoken from the heart. :)

  34. 34
    Anne Bailey says:

    Thanks so much for this! Wow. Did i ever need this one. Yep – Rejoice. ‘Nuff said. thanks again.

  35. 35

    “I just have to learn to reclaim the gentleness that is rightfully mine.”

    I’m thinking of having this tattooed on the back of my hand. :)

    Thank you!

  36. 36

    i needed to read this. this is so me too – gentleness doesn’t come easy to me.
    thank you very much.

  37. 37

    What a needed reminder!

    I’ve never seen that verse highlighted below; so glad to have found it!

  38. 38
    Jodi Stilp says:

    Wow – thank you for this post. Just change the “a.m.” and the “p.m.” and you just described me. It’s my constant thorn in the flesh that I’m working on. I also love James 1:19-20 for this. Thanks for the reminder to follow Christ on this.

  39. 39

    Thank you for this reminder/enlightenment.! I had never thought about God providing gentleness is my life. I know gentleness came with my husband (thank You God). He often is the visual reminder I need to see, when I can’t seem to find gentleness in myself. Stress, over worked, tired, all leave me far from gentle. I whip out the sharp tongue! I cut through what ever is in my way.
    I’m going to try to rejoice when I have those feelings -I’m going to try to turn my thoughts inward and find joy and gentleness that I can share outwardly with those who happen to be in the line of fire. With God’s help all things are possible.

  40. 40

    Oh, this is so me……lol!!! I really needed this. God is on time all the time.

  41. 41

    Wow.
    All I can say is… it is NOT coincidence that I just read this… right after failing at gentleness (again)… two days after writing this:
    http://onceuponagrainofsand.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/gentleness/

    Wow. Yeah.
    (thank you)

  42. 42

    Thank you so much for this post. God has put this here for me to find this morning. I have been struggling with lack of gentleness for a very long time. This really put it in perspective for me. I appreciate you for writing this.
    Thank you.

  43. 43

    If I were to have a sign on my door, it would say that the Holy Spirit hasn’t entered yet and won’t be there until 10-11a.m! I’m not very nice in the mornings, and I do feel like I’m missing the gentleness gene sometimes! I’m glad that I DO have the Holy Spirit all the time, and with God, nothing is impossible :)

  44. 44

    This spoke to me so much today! Thank you for writing this Lysa, you and I are a lot alike, and I needed to be reminded to rejoice in every day life! Gentleness does escape me quite a bit in my life, although I want to be that way, I find stress ruling more often than anything, and when I am stressed, I definitely don’t feel gentle. Thanks for always being so open and honest.

  45. 45

    This spoke to my very heart today! Thank you! <3

  46. 46

    thanks lysa, this could have been me writing this post. you captured in a nutshell how i feel “most” times when i’m stressed, tired, etc. thank you for the reminder to rejoice, ’cause that hasn’t been in my heart lately. i’ve been mrs. grumpy pants.

  47. 47

    I can really identify with you on this. Thanks for the motivation to address this from a new direction. I will remember Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all,” and the advice to “rejoice” in everything.

  48. 48

    sister lysa, may i call you my sister in CHRIST? after i saw you on 700 club i started on a daniel diet i have lost 7.4 pounds in 6 days and feel much better. oh by the way i ordered made to crave book looking forward to reading it when it arrives it should be here in a few days, thank you and i thank the LORD most of all for giving me strenght to do this, i need to loose 73 more pounds so pray for me.ps. i love reading what you email me so keep sending them.

  49. 49

    This describes me to a T. Exactly what I was looking for when I started searching on the computer tonight. Thank you for posting.

  50. 50

    I just wanted to say that I have read this several times since you published it and have thought about it often.
    Especially now, with pregnancy fatigue & sickness while needing to get much done, I’m not always gentle with my words, tone, facial expressions with my littles.

    Yet if there is anything in life that I need to be gentle with, it’s the little ones entrusted to me by Him!

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Thelma N., jennysminute. jennysminute said: But I Don’t Feel Gentle http://bit.ly/g0d3Ya [...]

  2. [...] You know what… just head over to (in)courage and read this. [...]

  3. [...] But I Don’t Feel Gentle @ (In)courage made me wince as I read it. Ouch. Far too often, especially when I am tired, busy, sick , sore- I’m not gentle. If there is anything at all in life I need to handle gently, it’s these little ones entrusted to me by Him! [...]