"Women are to be worthy of respect... temperate and trustworthy in everything." 1 Timothy 3:11

When I first read this verse, it stuck out to me as such a perfect standard for how we, as women, should live. Worthy of respect. What makes something worthy? Something is worthy when it is earned. Being worthy of a promotion at work - being worthy of an award - being worthy of praise for a good performance - worthiness requires work. So in the context of this verse, respect must be earned by the way we live our lives. Paul tells us that the way we can earn respect is by being temperate and trustworthy in all that we do. I love these two descriptive words, because both of them reflect my response. In times of frustration, fear, or anger, do I respond explosively and emotionally? Or am I able to respond with grace and self-control? 

Those who respond with grace and self-control build trust in those around them. People want to be around those who respond to the stresses of life with poise, tempering their reactions with thoughtful consideration and not allowing the immediate emotions of the moment dictate their response. We've all been around people who, when things get out of control or challenging, respond with panic and fear. They try to control the outcome of their circumstances, and ultimately pass along their fear, stress, and anxiety to everyone around them in an attempt to "fix" the issue. While this may solve those problems in the moment, it creates emotional chaos for everyone involved, and makes it hard to want to spend time around that person. 

Great leaders are those who can look a storm in the eyes and not flinch. This doesn't mean that they are unafraid - they just refuse to be dictated by their feelings. There is great wisdom in taking time to process what is in front of you, and responding with self-control rather than reacting out of fear. These are exactly the kind of people you want to be around in times of uncertainty - because while they may not have all of the answers, they do have the restraint to respond calmly and thoughtfully.

And guess what - this includes how we talk on social media. The easiest thing to do on social media is shoot off an emotional and careless response on a post or tweet or article that may offend, hurt, anger, or frustrate you. If you struggle with your responses, it is wise to just close the window or shut off the app when you see something that causes you to want to respond out of emotion. Honestly - what good does your backhanded comment on that Facebook post really do? What good does your response to the subtweet (that may not even be a subtweet) really do? Often we feel this compelling urge to be "right" - even if we're not being called out by name. We just want people to know where we stand. 

To me, I would far rather be temperate and trustworthy on all platforms of my life - whether online or in person. I want people to be able to trust my responses, knowing that they are coming from a place of reflection and maturity, and not from immediate emotional urges. I'll be the first to admit that I am deeply a work in progress in this area.  That is why I'm grateful for verses like 1 Timothy 3:11 that stop me in my tracks during my morning Bible study. It's always a good reminder, and I hope it encourages you today. 

In closing, I want to sidestep and remind you that while we do have to work to be worthy of respect from those around us, worthiness is not something we can earn in the eyes of God. By virtue of the heart beating in your chest, you are worthy of his love, grace, and adoration. 1 John tells us "what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!". We are already accepted. Chosen. Loved. Called. Cherished. And we can live in a way where we are able to respond to the challenges of life with grace and poise because we know exactly who we are in Christ. Let's be thoughtful responders today, and let's be women who are temperate and trustworthy in all that they do.