Well, here I go: describing what most women devolve to when they aren’t being “gentle and quiet” (see an interpretation of that onerous phrase in A Phrase That Makes Me Gag: Gentle and Quiet Spirit ).
At the NextStep conference I attended several years ago (discussed here: The Journey to My Holiday ) and again on a CD, Larry and Rachel Crabb both shared with me that the opposite of the Gentle and Quiet woman was the Vexing and Contentious woman of Proverbs 21: 19.
To make sure I agreed, I did my own study of this passage and a few related passages.
I have to say: I agree -
Vexing & Contentious Gentle & Quiet
Here’s the passage in question (NASB version):
It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman. Proverbs 21: 9
Vexing is also translated ill-tempered, angry, fretful, and irritable.
Although it’s not clear that the “vexing” woman is angry at God, it’s possible that ultimately that’s where her anger is directed. However, she’s likely angry with the people and circumstances in her life.
In any case, a vexing woman is probably not “gentle” in the sense of trusting God with her life, resting in His good will. She is instead fretful and frustrated.
Contentious is also translated quarrelsome, brawling, discordant, or bitter-tongued.
Five, count ‘em, 5 Proverbs talk about the contentious woman! In addition to 21: 9, above, here are the rest in all their glory:
… the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping. Proverbs 19: 13b
It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Proverbs 21: 19, repeated in 25: 24
A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike. Proverbs 27: 15
The woman in these Proverbs is not “quiet” in any sense 0f the word – not vocally nor by means of having an inner tranquility that does not disturb others. Perhaps her anger leads her to being contentious, but whatever the case, she is a nag, an arguer, a pain in the neck.
So where do I spend most of my time?
Sadly, I think I am more vexing and contentious than gentle and quiet…
It just seems so, hm, natural for me to drip, drip, drip (and, hey, occasionally it works!).
But I do want to move more towards being gentle and quiet (at least the way I think it’s accurately defined).
How do I get there? How do I learn to rest in God and ooze contentment towards others, allowing them to NOT be who I want them to be?
That’s the subject (in part) of the next few posts. But, first, I have to lay a bit more of the theological groundwork beneath my journey towards being female in Christ.
The next few posts are therefore entitled:
Why Am I Contentious? (Why Am I a Nag?) A study of the fall and what’s behind being vexing and contentious
Controlling? Who, Me? How all women in one way or another try to control others (even if not in the outward, nagging way)
The Essence of Femininity What the Bible says about femininity and how it is the opposite of being controlling
What are We Afraid of? Larry Crabb posits that there’s a fear which drives all women to control their circumstances. What is it? And how do I relate to it?
Then, I’ll get into a very personal journey that’s still underway.