Did you know that in addition to beauty appreciating, service rendering, and baby-producing faculties, there are other organs we give lesser thought to? The mind, for starters. Now that seems fairly obvious, but please hear me out.
I’m going to be really honest here and spill my heart. This is a topic I feel deeply about and I think God does too.
I have a love-hate relationship with those Period movies and books- you know, like Pride and Prejudice and Emma and books of that era. The scene is often a handful of dramatic, manipulative, and ever-fainting females (often mother and daughters), and a man or two who allows himself to be manipulated, can’t stand up for truth and bows to every whim, whether good or bad of his females.
It’s also the setting in many hyena dens. Look it up.
So you have the softness of ridiculous amounts of petticoats and bustles, accompanied by control and manipulation and pathetic assumed weakness, and together, it makes no sense and frankly, makes me nauseous.
And usually out of this chaos, a young woman emerges who is different than the rest of the women, and whose only apparent different characteristic is her bright and inquisitive mind. She wants more than her mother is experiencing and she is intrigued and touched by people beneath her social circle, much to the chagrin of her high-society family.
And of course, a young man usually shows up and is intrigued by the girl’s spark, her fine mind, and her rebellion to what is socially expected. He is a real man, and values what is good, and she is attracted. The story progresses as the man and woman both struggle to stay true to themselves and true, beautiful love emerges. The love of equals. The love of two people who are whole, both physically, emotionally and intellectually. And it’s beautiful. And that makes my nausea slightly better.
It’s the struggle of the centuries- I don’t know if it started at the Fall, but the thread is seen through history. The struggle of the expectations of doing over being. It is seen in Jesus’ interaction with Mary and Martha, and women throughout the ages have felt sympathy for Martha while knowing they should be like Mary.
In weddings, the message to the bride is often in the running of the household, the cooking and housekeeping and the submission. The grooms often hear about leadership and taking responsibility of the home. You see the difference? The doing versus the being.
When all women are valued for and encouraged in is their skills, their abilities, and the needs they provide, a part of us dies, because life is not ultimately found in doing, but in being. “The truth shall set you free,” said Jesus of Nazareth, not, “your housekeeping skills, or your child-raising abilities.” There is life in a thriving, vibrant relationship with our Redeemer, where we are constantly growing and learning more.
Do not hear me minimizing the doing. The doing is beautiful because of the being, not in spite of it. A lady who is interested in growing, in learning, and in personal development will be that much better as a homemaker, as a cook, as a teacher, as a wife. She will do it well, because that’s who she is. What naturally flows out of her in her doing will be a direct reflection of her character and who she is.
The men tend to get pushed towards personal development because of how we do gender roles and because of what is expected of them. They will often get elected to offices in the church where they are forced to study and grow, and good things often happen personally. The expectations of being a good leader and husband and father are quite high and they naturally expand and grow.
The women don’t get that. Their cultural expectations are to oversee a well-running home, and provide for their families needs. That’s not bad because of what it is, but it’s bad because that’s all. Any personal development is strictly that, personal, without much outside encouragement.
That’s why womens sunday school classes tend to be more dry, and conversations less interesting. We speak out of what we know and experience, and often it’s not that big.
I’m here to shake things up. To call women to be more. To call women to think and live vibrantly because they love their Redeemer and are plugged into His Kingdom. I’m hear to urge women to start thinking, not out of emotions, which proves to be tragic and makes men’s meeting’s necessary, but to think logically and live truth.
Teach your children how to think, not what to think. I appreciate my parents doing that. We grew up listening to Ravi Zacharias because my dad enjoyed it. We learned simple logic lessons through the debates. As a result, our childish squabbles would often include terms like, “you’re not being consistent.” Because we knew that if A, that we just said, was true, B couldn’t logically follow. At this point the squabble was over, because if you weren’t consistent with truth, you lost. And then, as young adults, we were encouraged to think for ourselves and they guided us through decisions as we searched for Truth. That is powerful for young adults and provides a beautiful slate to develop worldviews and vision.
And if, in all this, you men think I’m shouting “mutiny”, and are feeling intimidated, guess again. As we grow and develop and learn and think, we won’t overpower or control you, we will complement you in beautiful and Biblical ways. As you lead in healthy, Christ-like ways, we will bring our submission to you as a gift, and it will be beautiful.
The Proverbs 31 lady? I’m guessing she was a combination of softness and strength. Of doing flowing out of her being. She was a lady of strength and of thought, and her husband encouraged her to buy fields because she had an eye for it. That’s my theory.
all images via flickr
Those Period Women were not really women, they just pretended to be. Real women are women like Esther and Rahab and Deborah, who, under times of extreme tension and stress, didn’t faint and require smelling salts, but were strong and resilient and courageous. That is what being a woman is and that is what God is calling us to. Anything less is a travesty of the design that was Creator-inspired and breathed. Anything more is… well there is nothing better than that.