The (Lost) Art of Being Graceful

Is “the graceful woman” lost in today’s “anything you can do, I can do better” world?

I find the study of women in society and how drastically they’ve changed over the years to be positively riveting. And I like to ask questions about it. “Why?” “Are we better for it?”

Gracefulness conjures up a number of characteristics: poise, eloquence, refinement, beauty.

I think of the Proverbs 31 woman as graceful. Not “fragile”, though gracefulness surely must contain “delicacy” in her demeanor, but a strength and dignity that exudes from her. I picture calmness, stateliness, a self-controlled form in movement and carriage. I imagine, since “the law of kindness is on her tongue” that her words come from a disciplined spirit (it’s a law that rules it!) and carry a certain weight of dignity and import because they are meaningful and not wasteful.

It is hard to find gracefulness these days. I’ve tried. And when I do see a woman who displays the rare manners that were once highly sought after and cultivated, she stands out.

I’m not talking about “putting on airs”. But I do find it perfectly acceptable to “practice” gracefulness until it becomes habit.

The Bible speaks of letting our adornment be of the “inner man”…a meek and quiet spirit. And as we seek those characteristics that Christ Himself so perfectly demonstrated, our outward demeanor will meet it.

I want to be a woman whose inner character spills into her outer deportment. A woman of grace and true beauty, not the idolatry of beauty found on the magazine stand.

What is “gracefulness” to you? Perhaps we have been so influenced by the masculine sirens of the feminist movement that we must revisit some basic etiquette. I’m thinking out loud…would love to hear your thoughts!



20 Responses to “The (Lost) Art of Being Graceful”

  1. Keri says:

    Gracefulness to me is simply this..Loving the Lord,my husband and my family with help daily from my Savior! Loving them and others like he would have me love them.I guess from a more practical standpoint it is taking care of the needs of my family first and then reaching out to others with the Love of Christ.Trying to be more gentle in my responses even when I don’t feel like it.It is extending grace to those who are rude to me or unkind. Sometimes we just Never know what kind of day someone is really having.I can think of some really dumb things I’ve said when I’ve had a really bad day! It’s teaching my children to show grace to people who are not perfect.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Keri,

      “Sometimes we just Never know what kind of day someone is really having..”

      Isn’t this so true? I hope I’m growing in this area as I get older. We certainly want others to express grace to US when we are going through things they may not see. Such an important point.

  2. Narelle says:

    The art of gracefulness… is more than love. It’s in addition to. I don’t think you can have one without the other… a graceful lady is not unloving.

    If I think of being able to say of someone that ‘She is soo graceful’, what I’m imagining is peace and calm. In demeanour and appearance. It’s about getting past awkward moments in such a way that others didn’t notice it was awkward, or that it was not for long. It’s about discretely setting an extra place when friends bring an extra with them. It’s also about one’s own appearance… a frazzled mum with morning hair is not going to be described as graceful, is she! LOL
    Further, it can be about a woman and her environment being a place of calm and rest. Smooth transitions can’t take place in a room of chaos… I don’t think one can gracefully clear piles of random clutter in an instant so a friend can sit… but it’s not about having a picture perfect home all the time either… I think one CAN gracefully remove the washing in the process of being folded, from the couch or table, so once can sit.
    Thinking ‘out loud’ here too :)

  3. Tricia says:

    I think true, Biblical humility is part of grace. (But I’m not saying that Biblical humility is only for women.) Being able to apologize sincerely and without delay when needed is part of gracefulness, too. Having a ready smile, including in the eyes, so that people can see they’re important to you and you’re happy to see them.

  4. Stephanie Johnson says:

    I think the descriptions that the others have left are great. I especially like the comments about peace and calmness. When I read this post I immediately thought of you, Kelly. :) . When I met you last month, you were so graceful and peaceful even in the midst of a difficult trial. You have such a calmness about you that one feels at peace just being with you. Thank you for your Godly example in so many ways! You are truly a graceful woman. :)

    • Word Warrior says:

      Stephanie,

      This is truly one of the kindest compliments I’ve ever received, though I feel, undeserved. “Calmness” is a trait high on my priorities, and often I don’t feel so calm inside ;-) But, I’m working toward it! Thank you.

  5. Mrs. Santos says:

    When I think of a graceful woman, I think of someone who does not complain. She is not sarcastic. She can laugh and make jokes, but not the kind that have an edge of complaint or sarcasm.

    That is where I struggle. What I hope to improve on…NO complaining, ever!

    “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thess 5:18

  6. Ruth Adams says:

    One aspect of gracefulness to me is feminine modesty. I think modesty starts in the heart and expresses itself in our dress, demeanor, mannerisms, and the way we carry ourselves. I am grieved that, as you said, a woman with this kind of gracefulness stands out just because she is sooo different from most of the world around. I am trying so hard to teach my daughters these things, and yet there are not a lot of good examples to point to. I think if they breathe they inhale the air of feminism. I think of Elisabeth Elliot when I think of this kind of feminine gracefulness. This post really resonates with me and the burden I feel over this topic.

    • Keri says:

      Ruth,

      Just have to say..the feminine thing is HUGE and I also think of Elisabeth Elliot.What a great example she is for all of us.I think it’s possible for people to hear her older radio segments off the internet on the old Gateway to Joy.

  7. Kim M says:

    Putting an imaginary hand over my mouth when I want to say something I know I shouldn’t. I am a talker with a tendency to be loud. I have to reign that in, and practice a lot of self control. Also giving others grace and trying to understand their point of views.

  8. Laura says:

    People from the feminist movement would probably say that being feminine is weak. Far from it! If anything it is the hardest task of all. I like the way jane austen calls it-self command. Do we have the self-command to speak gently, though perhaps with authority to our children? Do we have the self command to treat the [perhaps unwanted or untimely] guest with care and courtesy? Do we have control of our own tongue? Do we have control of the tone of our voice, and our nonverbal expressions? Feminine grace is not a natural acquirement for many. I will say that dressing in a feminine way aids in behaving and speaking in a serene way. I am more mindful of myself as a woman when I am dressed as a woman. NOT that dressing the outside changes the inside, but I am more aware of it in how I walk, how I sit, etc and it helps me remember, and take care to move more carefully, speak more gently, and carry myself in a fashion that is becoming to a God-created woman!

  9. Layo says:

    Grace to me means been calm in all situations, drawing strength from the almighty GOD, loving through his heart and showing it. May God increase our grace in abundance.

  10. 6 arrows says:

    “The Bible speaks of letting our adornment be of the “inner man”…a meek and quiet spirit.”

    Kelly, I love that section of scripture (First Peter 3:1-6)! That’s exactly what comes to my mind when I think of gracefulness. I especially love the part of verse 4 (KJV) that speaks of the “ornament” of a meek and quiet spirit. An ornament, to me, is an enhancement. It does not overshadow the original, but adds a touch of loveliness to the otherwise ordinary.

    I find it interesting that in music, there are ornaments called “grace” notes, extra flourishes that are meant to enhance rather than overpower. I think a woman of grace is like that, subtle in her beauty, and adorned with a gracious spirit that gently points back to her Maker and the indwelling of His Spirit. She is poised and unassuming, and we don’t see her so much as we see Christ in her. Our attention is drawn to Him.

    Thank you for a beautiful and inspiring post!

  11. Gina Funderburg says:

    This is a topic so near and dear to my heart right now as I am a coach of middle school girls and pregnant with our first child (who is a girl!). My husband and I understand that we have equally important roles in her life, my husband her leader and protector, myself her mentor and example of what a Godly woman looks like.

    I love what you said about a woman of grace being disciplined. I am finding that discipline in how we react, most importantly to our husbands, then branching out from there, is so vital to bridling our flesh. I am the emotional one of the pair, so it is against my very nature to be disciplined in my speech. Yet, nearly two years of marriage has taught me a valuable lesson in becoming holier by following the Spirit’s guidance in situations when my flesh wants to react in a completely opposite manner.

  12. Danai says:

    Wow, what beautiful expressions of ‘grace’. For a while now somthing in my spirit has been drawing me to being a graceful woman. Personally i have struggled with my relationships with other women. My sisters in Christ. My relationships were clouded with insecurities, jealousies, enviousness, competetiveness, which brought along with it into my life feelings of being worthless or having a haughty spirit, never quite possessing peace or discipline. But my beloved has worked with me through it all, where he began to teach me about being graceful. What a beautiful description of a woman. For me it means to lovingly accept others aswell as myself. It means being humble and grateful for the blessings bestowed. It means helping others feel at home, having a hospitable spirit that draws people to stay. It means giving your man a place where he can come and rest in your presence, free from complaining and demanding talk. Its about knowing that you are a daughter of the King, a princess and thus this should resonate through your smile, your eyes, your voice, your gestures, your dress. Im still learning, im nowhere near to fully knowing what it is to be a ‘Graceful Woman’. Thank you all for your comments, and thank you Kelly for your post., its not by accident that i stumbled upon this today.

  13. Danai says:

    By the way when i say my Beloved, i mean my Saviour, Christ Jesus.

  14. [...] This is another post about grace that I found interesting and some of the comments on the post are great! [...]

  15. Em says:

    Being so lacking in gracefulness, my #1 cont’d goal is “LISTEN. Listen, with intent to really understand. DO NOT interrupt while others are speaking.”

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