Common Sense in Womanhood

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 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?


9 thoughts on “Common Sense in Womanhood

  1. Our class at church recently discussed things that ‘don’t matter.’ Now, don’t take that literally………….. 😉 But there are some things… Ex: drinking a glass of wine… that an individual must deal with God THEMselves, for THEM, what does God say to THEM….
    Ok, I probably make no sense but it was a great lesson series!

  2. I once had a collection of “wife” books. I got a lot of “credits” from paperbackswap for all of those books… swiped my shelves clean of them, after I couldn’t achieve any of their goals. If you do A, B, C, then D will result!! How awful to realize that you are such a loser while going through the throes of childbirth and depression that often follows. I wish those authors who wrote those books could have peeked into my house – I wonder how they would have felt. But — she should do more of B!!! Do more of B!!

    Not happening!! I now read God’s word… go figure.

    So what am I saying? I agree with you Chautona on this… LOL I agree… I don’t think one should throw out the Bible with the marriage books… Ü

  3. Well spoken Chautona, as usual.

    Something else that I see that really troubles me is, let me see how I can explain this…

    Family A meets Family B. Family A likes what they see in Family B and decides they want their family to be like that. Family A makes all kinds of changes to be like Family B while Family B is sitting there scratching their collective heads.

    Time passes. Family A realizes things aren’t working out. They are doing the same things as Family B but their family doesn’t look like Famiy B’s family. Instead of seeing the truth of what’s going on Family B makes a 180, changes everything about their family (which is all fine and good with Family B) and then Family A decides Family B is wrong, wrong, wrong and tries to destroy their testimony, etc…

    We are all different. God created our families to all be different. — all that you just said above.

    Don’t try to emulate another family because you like what you see. Life is not a formula, I like how you explained that Chautona.

    May God guide us all… may we all seek His voice in how we live our lives!

    • I saw that happen about 13 years ago… well, I watched it for a few years before that, but then about 13 years ago, it all came to a head. Family A found a nice little cult that provided release from self-imposed convictions that were essentially “stolen” from family B. For years family B had actually said, “Don’t do this because we do it. Seek out what the LORD is calling you to.” So, they exchanged quiverful and debt-free for other “rules” that WERE imposed by the cult… and as a result, Family A has lost their children to the world.

      A very close, deep friendship was lost because the core of it, Jesus, could no longer be discussed between them. The cult didn’t allow it. Heartbreaking.

  4. I think alot of the methods tout morality but not necessarily Godliness. Hes jealous. Replacing relationship with wholesome living is an offense and produces fleshly fruit. We are lazy and want a formula, relationship takes time and sacrifice, its an investment but so very worth it.

  5. Chemistry is a really awful example for a perfect formula. If you want beautiful, elegant, predictable formulae, look to Math. But Chemistry is perhaps a perfect illustration for what you are talking about here. 🙂

    In all my chemistry labs in college (I studied a very chemistry-heavy major), I never once had lab results that perfectly matched the expected results from the formula. That is because it is virtually impossible to mix two chemicals without them becoming tainted. Also each experiment is slightly different from the last because of all those little imperfections and environmental variations (lab temperature, humidity, air pressure, unintentional contamination, etc) that are unavoidable.

    And even if you could get perfect lab samples, you still run into the issue that mixing two molecules together will sometimes give you more than one result. (A + B will give you C 75% of the time, but the other 25% you will get D).

    In other words, real chemistry is just like our families. Using a formula is helpful, but it’s no guarantee of success.

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