Thursday, March 1, 2012

Keep Your Virtue

There continues to be more to glean from Rudyard Kipling's poem If and we will focus on it a couple more days! The portion I would like to look at today screams loudly of one word - Integrity.
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much.
Integrity is one of my favorite words.  According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary integrity means:
1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
2: an unimpaired condition : soundness
3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
I was always taught that "integrity is who you are when no one is looking." I love the synonyms used: incorruptibility, soundness, completeness. The Bible says
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
But whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9
It is a very easy thing to lose one's integrity. As women, we balance so many things on our shoulders, that there are many places that we could lose that incorruptibility. If you are a stay at home wife, then there is even more danger! Who is there during the day to keep you accountable? Remember, who you are at home, is who you should be when you meet for coffee with the mayor's wife and the same you should be when you get together for a girls' night out and the same you should be on Sunday morning at church. Who you are should not change with your surroundings. We are beautifully created women, not chameleons! As Kipling points out, we are to always keep our virtue no matter what crowd we are in; we should never lose the common touch, or our humility, no matter what important people we are with; all people should be equal in our eyes.

Ways to protect your integrity:
1) Find an accountability partner - someone you can call and let it all out with. Make sure she is someone who will also be brutally honest with you when you need it!
2) Monitor what you watch, read, and listen to. You may be an adult, but step back and see if you would allow your children or teens to have the same input that you are having into your own heart. If the answer is no, then ask yourself why? and then should I? The way we view the world is powerfully influenced by these things. Find instead a book that will teach you how to be a better wife or mother. Find a radio station that will play music with a positive message (it is there for all music genres, believe me!). Limit your TV time.
3) Make a To-Do list for the week.
4) Don't be alone with men. There is so much on the line, especially when our husbands are away each day. Remember it is your heart you are guarding, not just your body.
5) If you have kids, remember that what you are demonstrating will be qualities (or lack of) that will most likely reveal themselves in your child's life. Try to live and display the fruit you want to see grow in your child.
6) If you feel that you are not always the same person, sit down and decide who you truly are. Then, go to your closet, jewelry box, or bathroom and discard all the things that belong to "that other woman." Make a conscious effort to be the real you all the time.

My dear sister, I hope that you have an amazing day in Christ, being just who He created you to be!

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