Monday, April 27, 2015

Cultivating Refinement in a Culture of Vulgarity

{these are the notes from a session that I gave at my sister's young women's retreat last fall. 
I thought y'all might enjoy it as well}
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{Refinement vs Vulgarity}
Let’s first define refinement and vulgarity.

Definition of Refinement:
re-fine-ment
:the act of process of removing unwanted substances from something: the act or process of making something pure
:the act or process of improving something
:the improved version of something

Definition of Vulgarity
vul-gar-i-ty
:the quality or state of not having good taste, manners, politeness, etc
:something that is offensive or rude

Proverbs 31 is all about the refined woman. This woman was incredible! She glorified the Lord in her work, but also in her dress, conversation, and character. I think we all desire to be a woman like this; for others to look at us and say “there is a woman of God.”

Before we go on, I want to remind you that 
“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”

1) Choosing Refinement in our ATTITUDE
Psalm 45:13-15:  “The King’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the King’s palace.”

We communicate so much through our attitudes. Choose to be joyful, to wear a smile. Be happy. After all, we have Christ! This should not be a problem! Remember to remind your face that you are happy. =) Treat others kindly; be a light. 

2. Choosing Refinement in our CONVERSATION
Proverbs 11:22: “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair women which is without discretion”.
Proverbs 31:26: “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Our culture tells us to fill our conversation with vulgarity. Young women all around us constantly use words like  like “dude, man” and an overabundance of “like, like, like”. Our culture has taught us to think and talk in a shallow and senseless fashion. 

Think of the most refined person you know and think about their conversation. How do they talk? Do they use lots of extra words and popular phrases? Or do you know when they open their mouth that what comes out will be life-giving, and something meaningful?

The first impression we give people is by what we are wearing/how people see us. The second impression is the words that come out of our mouths.

Be a women of intelligent conversation. Study about things. Be knowledgable. Know what is going on in the world around you. Make your conversation to be edifying and uplifting, instead of filled with popular words and phrases.

3) Choosing Refinement in our DEPORTMENT
Walk like a women. Walk as if you owned the world. Not in a haughty or prideful way. But carry yourself like a women of worth, like a daughter of the King! Sit up straight. Smile. Carry yourself gracefully and with confidence. 

When you meet someone, look them in the eye, give a good handshake, and speak clearly. Be a LADY. Treat everyone the same way. Don’t act nervous or shy. Be confident in who you are in CHRIST.

And along these lines, don’t be scared of men. Please. They are normal human beings, just like you are. Treat them as such---with dignity, kindness, and courtesy. 
Chilvary isn’t dead. It just followed wherever being “lady-like” went. 
Think about that!

4)  Choosing Refinement in our DRESS
How we dress communicates volumes. The first look someone has at you will be their first impression of you, good or bad. 
The first impression you will make, like it or not, will most likely be based on your dress, because that is the first thing people will see. 
Now, ultimately, the goal is to wear clothing that immediately reflects and enhances your FACE, which is where people should see the joy of Christ. But that still means starting with a beautiful and put-together outfit. This thing of fashion isn’t a worldly or unbiblical concept; quite the opposite! There are SO many verses in Scripture that talk about fashion. 
Proverbs 31:22: “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple”. 
Pretty classy,  right? This woman knew about dressing with dignity and honor. 

“Being well-dressed is a beautiful form of politeness”  Inslee Haynes

“Feminine beauty is the natural by-product of a women who has emptied herself, given up her own life, and  allowed God’s Spirit complete access to every dimension of her inner and outer life.” 
Leslie Ludy

Women of God can never be like women of the world.

The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender.
There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind.
There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined.
We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of FAITH.
We have enough greed; we need more goodness. 
We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.
We have enough popularity; we need more purity.
-Margaret Dyteng Nadaud

And finally...
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world". -unknown

-Chels

21 comments:

  1. This is my first time stumbling onto your blog. What great words of wisdom!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, + commenting! =)

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  2. AMEN, Chelsy!! :)

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  3. Chelsea,
    This was so encouraging! Thank you!
    Will you be doing a post about the Big Sandy conference? I was a assistant on the team Carson taught. It was great meeting you there. Thank you so much!

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    1. We might post a bit about the conference over on our family blog. Keep an eye out over there. =)
      www.bontragersingers.blogspot.com
      Great to meet you too!!

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  4. Good post, Chels!
    One thing I'd like to point out, though: it is okay to be shy if you naturally are that way/that's how God made you. Being confident and secure in Christ doesn't automatically make a person bubbly and friendly, and that's fine. Our culture heaps a lot of shame on quiet people, which I know from experience. Its still a huge struggle to accept the way God made us, even when we are looking to Christ for our worth, simply because it isn't acceptable in our culture. I'm sure you didn't mean that statement you made quite the way it cam across; just wanted to clarify. Sorry for the rant. :(

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    1. I understand that not everyone is super outgoing by nature.
      However, whether shy or outgoing, every Christian should still be seeking to be confidant, joyful, happy, and a good conversationalist. You don't have to be "bubbly" to follow the four steps I outlined in this post.
      And we all need to be friendly, shy or not.
      I personally don't think "shy" is a good excuse to not work on these qualities. Just my thoughts. =)
      Thanks for sharing yours!

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    2. I think I agree with you, only I don't want anyone to feel bad because they're quiet and don't just love interacting with people (although I definitely agree that everyone can try to be friendly).

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  5. Thank-you so much for sharing, Chels. =) this really blessed my heart! The final quote is my all time favorite.
    -Priscilla

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  6. I was so blessed & inspired by what you shared at the retreat - and even more, how you live this out! :)

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  7. This is so convicting, Chelsy, and some thing I needed to read. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom with us, and also for modeling the lady you have encouraged us to be!
    Keep shining your light for Jesus! Your love for Him and desire to please Him continue to inspire me!
    In Christ,
    Morgan R. Philippians 1:6

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  8. Thank you Chels. I will be working on putting this into practice!

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  9. Thank you, Chels, for this lovely reminder! If I were to pick two phrases{besides the Scripture verses} that were my favorite, these are them!
    1}Make your conversation to be edifying and uplifting, instead of filled with popular words and phrases.
    2}Chilvary isn’t dead. It just followed wherever being “lady-like” went. (LOVE IT!)
    I think 1 Timothy 4:12 goes well with this post! {especially the conversation part:)}

    And I agree with Elizabeth, I am blessed by your example of a Godly young woman! <3

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  10. What a lovely,encouraging post, Chelsy!

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  11. I loved this post. I always look forward to your posts. I love your line about chvalry and how you said "Chivalry isn't dead, it just followed wherever being "lafy-like went". This is so true.
    Girls are not taught from a young age to be lady like by some families and they sit talk and dress however they like to dress and they sometimes dont take being lady like into consideration if they are just with friends or family. Even with friends and family, it is important to brush up on what it means to be a lady so that when it comes to meeting someone for the first time they will not come off as rude or sloppy. Women should dress nicely more often and not just roll out of bed and throw on whatever.is lying around. (im speaking to myself here as well as to others). The words i said about girls can be applied tomen as well. Men young and old should always look for opportunities to be kind and gentle without making it seem like they are being creepy or comming off as being inappropriate. Men and women alike of all ages should look for opportunities to be kind, gentle, confident, and proud of the way God made them. Being a man of godly character and being a woman of godly character should mean that you are always looking for opportunities to help others, use soft words and not curse words, speak kindly about others and to others, stand up for those who kind stand fo rthemselves and be the kind of girl that people will say "there is something different about her what is her source of happiness and joy?" and the same thing for men "there is something different about him, what is the source of his happiness and joy?"
    Sorry if this is too long, i just had alot to say.
    Jennifer Watson

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  12. good good thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Chelsy,
    It is encouraging to see the fruit in your own life and the example you provide for younger girls (such as my daughter!) and encouragement to us moms to always work to demonstrate being lady. Would you mind my sharing this message on my blog (giving you full credit, of course!) as I think it would be an encouragement to many other homeschooling moms I know.

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  14. "Treat men with dignity, kindness, and courtesy". It's easy to preach this, harder to live it. Actions can and often do speak louder than words. You can speak as proper as you want but it is truly your actions or lack there of that defines who you really are. Let's not forget you don't always have to speak to show your true worth.

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