After years upon years of reading theories about what makes a “godly woman” and what doesn’t, I still haven’t found a whole lot of sense out there. I know it’s there. It has to be. I just think the extremes are so much louder than those who are speaking sense. There are many camps of thought… the “be godly or die” camp, the reactionaries to the be-godly-or-die-camp, the “I don’t care” camp, the “Pendulum swingers” camp, and dozens in between. And, once again, I’m going to say the same thing I say every time these kinds of topics prompt my fingers to skitter across the keyboard. Extremes do not make for reasonable standards.
I think the problem comes in when the time for extremes is real. Jesus was both a very balanced and mellow guy… and a radical. He threw moneychangers out of the temple. That’s not exactly “mellow yellow.” I think too often I come off as advocating fence sitting. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I just don’t think that if the fence is not the right line to walk, the answer isn’t to shove someone onto the “right side of the line” or to avoid the fence area all together.
I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks and one thing that keeps taunting me is the concept of formulas. I wonder if that’s not the true culprit for when ideals fail. Is it possible that we get so wrapped up in following a formula to get a prescribed result that we learn nothing? See, formulas are perfect for chemistry class. Add this compound to that, stir over heat, strain through this filter, and voila. Perfect combo. Deviate in the slightest and you could have an explosion. So, when Jane Christian (my apologies to all true Janes out there… it’s just easier for me) see that the Jones (again, my apologies to all Joneses) family input A, B, and C and got the results she wanted, she assumes that she can also input A, B, and C and get the same results. If there is “failure” then she must have missed a step, so she goes back to find the missing ingredient instead of realizing that she has different ingredients (people/experiences etc).
I don’t know. I’m aware that this is something I soapbox about– often. I know that. It’s just that I see it as a common malady of Christian women of every group. If they lean toward “Grace Based Parenting” they expect the same results as their example and are frustrated when they don’t achieve them. If they lean toward “Vision” for a family and copy every choice that the latest book describes for that family, they expect their family to have the same results. It doesn’t matter if you’re Amish, homeschoolers, classical, missionaries, or the “All-American family,” you can’t possibly have every single thing identical to any other family. You picked up a book written mid journey by people writing at the end of one of the destinations on their journey. The simple fact that your personalities can’t be identical alone will make the outcome different, but even if you have the same job, in the same city, attend the same church, have the same influences in your life, and exactly the same family makeup– you didn’t start at the SAME TIME. It’s not possible to recreate someone else’s life into yours– and really, should we WANT to? Didn’t God knit us as unique and “fearfully and wonderfully made” for a reason?
I firmly believe that the same principles applied by different people will yield the fruit that GOD wants them to yield. He’s very specific. Love Me with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Don’t give with an eye to showing off your giving. Be kind, pure, chaste, loving, respectful, submissive, and so forth. We’re told what to do… but even GOD didn’t give us specifics of exactly HOW to do what we’re told to do. He didn’t say, “Be kind by rising at 5.00 a.m., waking your children with a psalm, leading them in family worship at 5:30 after they are all dressed and looking like you’re ready to have family portraits taken, sing your prayers around a 6:00 a.m. breakfast table… ” That’s not what He did. God said to be kind. He said to do unto others. So, if you want to do unto others in kindness… then show kindness as you’d like to receive it!
I don’t know… again, I’m just thinking out loud. I’d drop the bat and quit beating this dead horse, but it kills me every time I see yet another mother feel like an absolute failure when her family doesn’t look or act as perfect as the one on the cover of the latest catalog, newsletter, or magazine. My heart breaks to see kids pressured to be like Miss Super Christian from the Uber-Godly.com website that just turned down a courtship opportunity because she decided she wants to be her father’s daughter for a while longer. There is NOTHING wrong with that. I support any young woman in obeying the Lord in what she thinks He wants from her, but that doesn’t mean that the girl across the country who has the same opportunity is somehow less because she accepts it. Why is her mother feeling like a failure when her training has paid off? I know it seems like I’m reading into things. I’m not. I’ve seen equitable circumstances. It’s heartbreaking. The family being emulated isn’t at fault. Don’t get me wrong! Well, I suppose they are if they or their promoters are portraying their methods as the ONLY (or superior even) way to live a principle.
When will Christians stop looking for more formulas, methods, and “examples,” and start just reading and obeying the Word? When will I do that as I should?