I have been re-reading Jennifer L. Scott’s book, Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic, for inspiration on improving myself. And I ran across this quote from Jennifer, “No one is insignificant. No one is an accident. We are all valuable and we all have something to contribute to the world. You might think your sphere of influence is small, but even if you live in the middle of nowhere and only have your family and a few neighbors around, your poise can influence others in the most dramatic ways.” (p. 23)
How do you feel about those words? I would enjoy hearing your comments below.
Jennifer goes on to say, “Your children view you. Your spouse views you. Your coworkers view you. Your neighbors view you. The moms at your children’s school view you. Your children’s teachers view you. The complete strangers you nod to as you cross the street view you. The barista working at the local coffee shop views you…. You have viewers. (p. 23)
So, how do you want to present yourself to the world?
We see protestors on the news shouting, pushing, breaking things, hurting others, holding signs with bad words. What kind of message are they getting across by that behavior? The Bible says, “…study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands…” 1 Thessalonians 4:11.
On my recent trip to the beach I was stopped at a light. In the review mirror, I saw a man walking down the sidewalk beside my car, fully clothed in a long shirt and what I thought were long shorts, with a head of hair that made him look like Thor. As a woman, I always watch when a big man gets close to my car. He passed without looking my way. And the picture I saw from behind was very different. His complete derriere was shining white from behind, his shorts barely hanging on to the last little bit that kept him from being completely naked. Eww… that’s a moment of my life I’ll never get back. What kind of impression did he hope to make on the world?
I watch people in the grocery store. I watch the people in front of me unload their carts, and when I see an older sweet-faced women, with large loads of groceries, I think they are probably planning to make a meal to serve at a family gathering. When I see someone checking out with potato chips, hamburgers, and cases of beer, I think they are probably having a party that might get a little rowdy toward the end.
These assumptions may or may not be true.
But the biggest idea that Jennifer addresses in her book is…
What do you do when you are alone? When no one is watching?
Jennifer says, “Often people who start the journey to cultivate poise only make an effort when they are in the presence of other people. While this might work temporarily, it won’t feel authentic because you will be doing it for the wrong reasons. You’ll feel like a fake and you may impress others that way too. That’s why how you live when no one is watching is even more important…. When you are alone and no one is watching, you are your true self, your most authentic.” (p.25)
And here’s where the disciplines of the Christian life can stand out. Alone or not.
- Do you study to be quiet?
- To mind your own business?
- To work with your hands?
- To rise early?
- To work hard?
- To pray?
- To Read and study the Bible?
- To take good care of all the things that God has entrusted to your care?
- To take good care of your body which is His temple?
- To practice manners?
I know I have a lot of work to do in all these areas.
I’ll end with a great point from Jennifer, “We should not cultivate poise in order to impress other people. There is no point in this pretense if you are not going to make solid changes in the way you live, whether people are watching or not. How you behave and live when you are alone is the indicator of how you live your entire life.” (p.26)