“…They also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.” -1 Timothy 5:13

This Scripture has been on my mind for the past few years, ever since it came to my attention in a women’s Bible study. The passage is talking about encouraging young widows to marry again, because otherwise they may fall into idleness since they have no families to care for. This isn’t just a problem for young widows, though, is it? 

Sometimes we write these “little” sins off as insignificant or don’t even realize we are committing them because they are just habits, personality quirks, and ways of life. I would like to look at this from a perspective of not being idle or a gossip/ busybody at any stage of our lives as women who have surrendered to Christ. Because really, we have so much more to aspire to. 

Idle. A quick glance through the Bible and it becomes apparent that the Lord does not look favorably on sluggishness. “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”- 1 Thessalonians 3:10b
Strong language for something that is SO prevalent in our society. Laying around wrapped like a burrito in blankets and wiggling to the fridge for cold Domino’s while watching something on your phone is considered “the cool life”. Like, really, girls? 
I think idleness is an especially strong temptation for those of us between the high school years and the married years. We don’t necessarily have a goal with a timeline in mind, so we don’t feel the pressure to just “git er done”, whatever “er” is., if you even have an “er”. We have time in our day to check Instagram once an hour or more. Texting/ scrolling on our phones looks an awful lot like twiddling our thumbs. 

Gossips. Murmurings of negativity towards others. Girls love to chat, duh. There are so many accepted forms of gossip that may not seem like we are indulging in it in the moment. Ranting to your girlfriend about how that person just SO grates on your nerves because they do this and this? Gossip. Giving one friend “the look” when another friend’s crush walks in the room? Gossip. Sharing a story with your sister that puts someone else in a bad light? Gossip. Laughing about how awkward that poor teen is and ohhh haha did you hear what he said the other day? Gossip. Instead, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”- Ephesians 4:29

Busybodies. I think of Mrs. Rachel Lynde from the Anne books. She lived at the crossroads of town and made it her business to know everyone else’s business. In our age of basically no privacy or respect for personal bubbles or property, I’m not sure we even realize how busybody-like we can be since we are immersed in this culture of openness. Isn’t that what Facebook is for? Knowing what everyone is doing? Thinking?  Who likes who’s pictures? I’m pretty sure being “in the know” is never praised as an admirable quality in the Bible. Do I really need to know how my friend’s husband’s best friend’s (who I met once) courtship is going? Or do I just want to know so that if somebody mentions it I’m not left unable to contribute my opinion of the situation? There is a major difference between investing in friendships and inquiring (or stalking), thinking “what’s her deal?”. 

Friends, we have so many better things to be about than idleness, gossiping, and being in-the-know. Don’t stoop to the level of dirt-sniffing weasels… we have been given eagle’s wings! (Isaiah 40:31)

They say that in order to break a bad habit, you have to replace it with a good one. So, my question for you this wonderful Monday is, what habits could we be cultivating in place of idleness, gossiping, and being a busybody?

43 thoughts on “Let’s Talk | Being In The Know Is Not A Virtue”

  1. This is a beautiful reminder! I always seem to be out of the loop, which can be frustrating. But this is something to keep in mind that it may actually help prevent sin in my life. I suppose the antithesis of gossip and tearing others down is finding their strengths and building them up.

    craftswithoutborders.blogspot.com

  2. Idleness is rarely a problem if you have a job and/or are in full time education. I've had a job outside the home since I was 15. I have two masters degrees. I now have a full time job, I am always taking further education classes and I live on my own. Idleness is not a problem.

    1. I agree. Having things that you must do at a certain time does help (me, at least) to curb idleness. I had to get to class on time, I have to be at work on time, I must wash clothes so that I have clean things to wear to work. I don't formally schedule time to do housekeeping activities, but I kind of keep a mental calendar where I can slot things in on my time off. I think it would be much harder to be a stay at home daughter and find the motivation to do things in a timely manner. I think it would be easy to say "I can do that later/tomorrow/etc."

      Jenny K

  3. P.S. All of the examples given in this post are from my own life/made-up. Just wanted to be clear that I'm not pointing a finger at anyone, because even if I were, there would be 4 others pointing back towards me. πŸ˜‰

  4. Hmmm… Well, I wouldn't call giving somebody a look about somebody's crush gossip. It's more of an "oh, there he is! hehehe" Excitement for the person. At least for me that's what's up.

    See when I want to be "in the know" as you put it, it's to be able to participate in conversations. You know, somebody says, "Yeah, Matt went to the ice rink the other day." Would it be gossip to be like, "Oh fun!" and then ask him about how it went later on? Be like, "Hey, Maddy told me you went to the ice rink. How was it? I love skating." I don't really see it as that. It's sort of a way to have a conversation.

    I'm not trying to bash your stance. I'm more like, thinking there's a difference between gossip and curiousity.

    Great reminder, though, to not rant to people about other people etc! haha I had/have a problem with that πŸ˜‰

    Love,
    Ruth

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! I totally agree with you. I know I made some pretty broad statements and you clarified well.
      I'm okay with "crush looks" as long as the person with the crush is aware that you are excited for them, as opposed to doing it behind their back in a laughing-at-them manner. πŸ˜‰
      And curiosity is great! I love stories and knowing what people are doing, especially if it gives opportunity to talk to the person or laugh with them. You just have to be careful that it's not something that could put them in a bad light, like if someone told you that Matt went ice skating instead of doing homework. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the comment!

    2. I agree with you Ruth! There's a big difference between gossip and curiosity, and a lot of people get it confused.
      -Rose

  5. Wonderful post! Something I've been pondering a lot lately too! Hmm… We could replace it with sharing blessings, finding little things to be thankful for, and doing stuff to encourage others!

  6. Great post, Olivia! Needed to hear that. πŸ™‚ A possible virtue that I thought of is to be present for people when we are talking to them, especially/even siblings or parents- meaning not on our phones, etc. That is being involved in people's lives in a positive way- not "in the know," as you said. πŸ™‚ Blessings!

  7. Neat post! I am not on facebook, instagram, twitter, or anything, so I do feel out of the loop sometimes. Encouraging reminder!
    By the way Olivia, I know your Lyme disease makes you too sick/exhausted to post a big post like this sometimes, so I just wanted you to know that I don't mind at all when you just do a quick "this is what I wore to do this, this, and this" post. I actually love getting just a peak into your eeveryday life. So if you are ever not feeling up to a big "Let's Talk" or "How to" post, just know that we love the normal posts as well!
    Blessings!
    ~Abby

  8. Fantastic thoughts, Olivia. We girls truly are way too prone to gossip, and it's too often overlooked as something that doesn't matter! Thanks for encouraging me to be on an even stricter guard of myself. xo
    To answer your question, in place of gossiping and being snoopy, we could talk of the good things and wonderful talents and gifts of others, discuss ourselves, the funny/awesome/good things that have happened to us or that we noticed about ourselves recently, the small things that have made us happy lately, what we discovered about the beauty of life or God, how we have been blessed, etc. Unless the negative things we talk about are to ask for prayers or would benefit others, ourselves, or if it's something they should/would want to know and it's not superfluous (e.g. sicknesses/passings or difficulties of friends/family), we should basically focus on the positive, good, true, beautiful, and beneficial when we converse with others, as much as we can. πŸ™‚

  9. This so encouraging and a wonderful post! Something that I definitely need to look back to and this was a great reminder to me! I think I probably need to have more goals in my life.. and to try and achieve something every day.. in stead of just 'going with the flow' even though that can be sometimes good and sometimes we all need that! Loved this post! Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚ Ps. Do you have any tutorials for hair styles that you do?

  10. Great post! I think I find myself falling into the business category. πŸ™‚ With school and the responsibilities of being the oldest of 5 I find myself with many things to do and sometimes I just need to slow down.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post!
    P.S. I wore my Fresh Apparel shirt today and I love it! I also love that I don't have to wear a cami with it. πŸ˜‰
    P.P.S. Sorry if my comment went through twice. I'm not sure whether it did or not.
    Have a blessed day!
    Lauren

  11. Thank you for a very thought-provoking and convicting post!

    For me, it's easy to know what I should be doing instead of being idle: Study for that exam coming up! πŸ˜‰

    But there are so many things a girl can do with her time and resources! One thing I've been wishing I could do was organize a "Regency" (I know!!!) dance group. We've done some dances before with teens in my (former) homeschool group, but I want to make it bigger!

    What about a knitting or crochet group? I've dreamed about getting together with other young women and making baby blankets (or hats) for a pregnancy care center.

    Now that Christmas is coming, a caroling group to bring cheer to the sick or hurting.
    ( Sorry, those are all group things, but I love groups!)

    What can we do for our church?
    What can we do at home? (The "little hard things" are beautiful, too!)
    There are so many things.

    Girls, if we have the health and energy and youth to do things, we have no excuse to loll around browsing pinterest or facebook! (which can be good for inspiration, of course, ) But DO the things that you are good at, that you LOVE doing, that you are gifted with.

    That was basically a pep talk for myself. πŸ˜€

    2 Tim 2:24

    1. Good point, Stephanie! We have the health and energy now. There are all sorts of things we can do for people; I love your suggestions and, yes, they are definitely much better alternatives to scrolling through Pinterest without purpose. I'm working on crocheting baby items to donate to Tabitha's Threads in my spare time. It's so much more fulfilling than wasting time!

      This article was still really convicting, especially because I have never heard someone explain what gossip really is today (I've only heard the spreading lies definition).

  12. Hey! Well said, Olivia! Although I am a stay at home Mom with three little ones, sometimes I can find myself browsing the internet instead of reading to them or playing or even making supper! Which activity will change the world? Also, one of the things I wish I had done when I was a young unmarried woman was to develop my talents to the best of my ability. You girls have so much time to develop all the talents God has given you! When you get married and have children, your time is pretty much chosen for you! Enjoy being single to the fullest! Don't twiddle your thumbs until Mr. Right comes along; get to work, enjoy life, and live to the fullest! Then when marriage does come your way, you will be able to enjoy it to the fullest because you have spent your time doing things 'with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength'.
    It encourages me that you, Olivia, have been using your sewing talent to create your own company!!!! I have been mulling over buying the Errand # 17 skirt for a while! If only you had had this blog when I was in high school; trying to dress cute, yet within my father's standards. It was hard!!! So, I'm pretty sure this blog is encouraging many to feel good about their convictions!
    Also, one more thing, thank you for this fashion blog. I mainly wear jeans but this is helping me figure out how to be modest yet still like the way I look! Keep surging on, Olivia. You remind me of the verse where Paul talks to Timothy and says not to be discouraged because he is young but to be an example to the believers! Thanks for being an example!
    Sincerely, Angela Michelle
    P.S. My kids were at Grandma's house today while writing this β™‘;)

  13. Replace negativity with compliments! I love complimenting people – you never know who's day you're going to make, or who really needed that bit of positivity.

    And a good "cure" for nosiness in other's lives is minding your own – eyes to your own paper and all. We can all find something about ourselves that needs improving upon. I try to keep a positive attitude by cultivating a complete obliviousness to other people's faults. πŸ˜› Some times that's more challenging than others.

  14. Great post. One of my favorite verses, and a verse I find applies to your post, is 1 Thessalonians 4:11 "And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you." It's just a great reminder to me.

    -Anne

  15. I don't know, Olivia…it feels like your posts of late have been very legalistic and full of condemnation for those who don't believe as you do. I think it's fine to say, "Don't gossip, it's not cool and the Lord has better things for us to do", and looking down on those who do struggle with weakness in this area. Has your church changed paths? Are you dating someone legalistic? I hate seeing you turn into a Pharisee…

    1. I'm sad that I seem to be coming off that way, since that is the farthest from my intent. I blog what I am personally feeling convicted on and these posts are me fleshing my heart out as I work through the issues in my own life. So, "looking down" on others is never in my mind– instead I'm sometimes afraid that others will look down on me for being so honest and sharing my struggles. I'm sorry that it comes across as judgmental occasionally, but I hope my readers understand how completely enthralled I am with God's grace and how much I desire others to feel the power of it too. If anything, my church has been encouraging more of an understanding of grace for which I am very thankful because I know how badly I've needed it lately. I hope you'll extend grace to me as well as I share poorly written posts.

    2. The thing is though, Olivia provided proof texts throughout this post, so if you want to accuse anyone oc being legalistic, you should probably start with God.

      If you never feel challenged or guilty about your current state, how can you continue to grow in your walk with God?

      Also, asking Olivia if she's "dating someone legalistic"? That's kind of rude, implying that she'd have no mind of her own if she started dating someone….

      ~Esther of Oz

  16. In place of idleness: Write a routine. If lists don't work for you, think one up and make it your 'habit' to do it… You get the picture. πŸ™‚

    Gossip: This is a HARD one. I've been working on this one for only God knows how long, and it's HARD. But think of it this way… Instead of grumbling at the fact that this guy just cut you off at an intersection, think of the times you've ACCIDENTALLY cut a person off because you realized you were taking the wrong turn. Here's a situation… This certain family that you aren't totally fond of keeps coming to your house unannounced and you, who is totally irritated, talk behind their back and say really awful things. Sooner than later you find out that they were going through intense family problems that they couldn't tell anyone about, and your house became kind of a 'refuge' for them. They tell you how grateful they are and you oblige, but deep down you feel really awful for all those really horrible things you said. These things happen all the time. What is said can never be unsaid. They can be repented for, but not unsaid.

    Busybody: "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7:4-5

    It's all about choices. The saying "think before you speak" is FOR REAL. It has to do with EVERYTHING. Especially what's spoken of above.

    Alright, enough of my comments. Blessings to you Olivia! Thank you SO much for posting this. As you can see, it's really got me thinking! Tata!

    S.

  17. Hi everyone! I have tried to find a group of Christian homeschooled girls who are probably in the age range of 20-25 to pop a question to. I couldn’t find one. Then I thought . . . what about Fresh Modesty? Hopefully you won’t think this is weird and random. I just wanted to ask a question to see what is the average answer a Christian homeschooled girl would give. Here’s the question:
    Okay, so there’s this guy. He goes to your church, is a strong Christian, you have known him for 2-4 years, and you’re good friends with his family and have talked to him before. He comes up to you and casually asks you out on a date. The date is very casual, a little activity like bowling or mini golf. What do you say?
    Please answer this question ONLY if you are a single girl that is 20-25 years old. Thank you! This will be a BIG help!

    -Mae

    1. Cool! I was just asking because I know a lot of people who very conservative homeschoolers who are into the courtship thing. I personally am not a courtship person for lots of reasons. I was just wondering if other people would be too if it was under the right conditions. If I said I was β€œdating” someone, a lot of people would freak out. But if I said I was going to go bowling with a guy from my church they would be like, β€œcool! Was it fun?” I think casual dates are important for guy-girl relationship building. I mean, I would definitntly ask my parents before going but it’s not like he is asking to court me. Thanks for answering! I’m hoping to get a lot of replies a do a sort of poll. -Mae

    2. Hi Mae! I'm 20, Christian, homeschooled, and single. πŸ™‚ For me, this would depend on the guy! I might say yes, if I was interested in him and my parents were in agreement, but I'd prefer a group activity, personally. Hope this helps!

  18. Wow, that is so true. I see so much on the internet about just wanting to sit around and eat. (Not that I haven't wished that, definitely guilty here!).
    Thank you so much for such a fantastic reminder!
    Christina

  19. I am a very people person, and I have a lot of the same thoughts as far as "how much is too much"? I just love people, and if you are a close friend, I probably consider you as-much-as-family, and if you think we are "acquaintances", I probably think of you as a friend, that's just how it works for me, haha :). That said, I have found that PEOPLE come up a lot in my conversations with other people! I wondered if that was good- I mean, was it wrong for me to talk about others so much, even if they were mutual friends of those who I was talking to and myself? But as I have thought about it, I think it is safe to say that it is gossip when you share something that you would be ashamed if the person you are talking about heard you sharing, or something that I wouldn't want them to share about me. I might not even be strict enough in this area, I don't know. But I thought I would share in hopes of maybe helping :).

    Learning together,

    Bri, 17 year old blogger of "Forget Not His Benefits", a blog on Thankfulness, Family, and Following God :).

  20. Olivia, wonderful post. Thank you for writing your thoughts and boldly challenging others to check their heart. Your generation has to face many challenges that mine didn't.
    or maybe they are the same in different wrappings. God Bless you as you seek to speak the truth.

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