It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. Proverbs 21:19
What exactly is a contentious woman?
As a young Christian, when I came across that verse I had no idea what it meant to be a contentious woman. Angry? Yes. But contentious, well that was a big word to me.
So, I looked it up and much to my surprise it defined me.
Definition of contentious:
- tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome
- causing, involving, or characterized by argument or controversy
Wow, I had no idea. I just thought I was always contending with others because I had a strong personality. You know, like it was part of my DNA. Well, more like my sin DNA! (lol)
Then I came across these verses in the Bible:
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3,4 NKJV
Gentle and quiet spirit….I had no clue how that was going to happen within this fighter.
I was angry. I had a chip on my shoulder and I was ready for a throw down with anyone who wanted one. And I was convinced that I could ‘take em’. This attitude of mine started in my life when I was as young as 7 years old!
My upbringing shaped me and my contentious spirit only got worse as the years went by. All it really took was for my heart to get broken a few times and then live through some hardships, disappointments, and rejections for this heart to turn into stone.
Add to the mix a culture that screams for the woman to assert and prove herself to everyone around her and you’ll get a contentious woman.
From being a woman with a contentious spirit to one with a gentle and quiet spirit was what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to get there. I had no one showing me what steps to take. Perhaps this is you today? If so, I’ll share with you what I did to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit.
First, I recognized my sin. I owned it and took responsibility for my contentious behavior. I didn’t make excuses for it by justifying that it’s just my strong personality. That’s baloney. And a lie from Satan himself.
Second, I pursued God’s Word instead of Jolene’s word. More specifically, 1 Peter 3:4. Back in 1997, I typed up this verse and taped it to my car’s dashboard so I could memorize it and hide it in my heart.
Day in and day out, I would write in my prayer journal for the Lord to transform my heart. To make me more like Him. For Him to increase in my life and for me to decrease. And I’m here to tell you that He can turn a heart of stone into a tender heart.
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 36:26 NLT
1.Admit your sin.
2.Submit to your Savior. If you’re not going to submit to Jesus, then He’s probably not your Savior. You’re your Savior. Yeah, I just challenged you! But don’t feel like you’re alone. When I don’t want to submit to God and His Word, this is what I tell myself. It’s a constant reminder for me to not worship me, whether it’s due to my fears or my pride.
3.Embrace God’s Word. 1 Peter 3:3,4 is not going to win over women in the world. But you, girlfriend, are a royal priesthood, a holy generation. A woman who is set apart for a purpose. What kind of woman do you want to be? A contentious one?
4.Apply God’s word to your life. The next time you’re wanting to contend with someone, instead seek and pray to have a gentle and quiet spirit. Yes, it’s a choice. An act of your will.
When you look at those 4 steps, they seem so simple. And really they are. The Gospel message is a simple message. What’s not simple is submitting our ways for God’s ways because sometimes we either don’t trust Him or we’re being deceived by the Enemy.
Looking back over the last 20 or so years, I’m so thankful I took those steps because….
- I was tired of having to prove myself to others.
- Tired of being angry.
- Tired of fighting.
And today I no longer bother. 9 times out of 10, it’s not a battle I’m willing to contend in. Although I generally have the thought in the back of my mind that I can take em’. 🙂 But at what cost?
At the cost of my witness?
The cost of a relationship?
Does this mean I never stand up for what is right and true? Of course not. It simply means I choose my battles. Some battles are worth lacing up the strings of my boxing gloves and others, not so much.
I’ve learned over the years that the fighter-like spirit within me is one part personality and one part sin. What I had to figure out was, which one was which. Once I uncovered that mess, then I had to figure out how to use my personality for God’s glory rather than my own. Read this post to give you some insight.
I was a single woman when I initially made the choice to throw off my contentious spirit and replace it with a gentle and quiet one. About 6 months later I got married. If you’re a single woman reading this, I highly encourage you to start today to develop a gentle and quiet spirit. Your future husband and children will thank you for it!
If you’re a wife reading this….I’m going to follow-up with Part 2 to give you some tips (and point out some triggers) on how to move from contentious to gentle while you’re married!
Live a poured out life for Christ,
How important is your marriage to you? Do you just want to survive in it or do you want your marriage to thrive? If you’ve said yes to having a thriving marriage, then join me for some mentoring in your marriage!