I’ve been reading a great deal as of late. I’ve been devouring books on subjects I find to be absolutely fascinating…..Women, work, the the bible, Christianity, food, the whole spectrum.
I have a burning passion to know truth. What does God ask of me as a Christian, a woman, a daughter, a future wife and mother, and a friend? I want to do life well. I want to look back in 50 years and be proud of the way I lived my life. To this end, I have discovered a theme in my studies.
It’s a theme that is so pervasive in pop culture, main stream literature, and social media. The theme and the lie is this:
Your life is about you, your dreams, and the fulfillment of your needs, and if other people happen to fit in, great. But don’t you dare let anyone keep you from what YOU WANT. Don’t let men tell you what you should do, don’t let Church tell you how you should act, don’t let your parents have any say, and don’t even listen to your friends. Listen to your (hormonal, broken, sinful, unpredictable) heart and it will lead you to greatness.
But yet, people are still unhappy. Families are broken. Marriages strained. Children estranged. Maybe this whole pursuit of individuality isn’t working for us.
I love Little House on the Prairie. I often wonder what it would have been like to live in those times. It would be harsh, and difficult, and probably much simpler. The whole concept of leaving home at 18 is so 20th century. In the past, we see that families depended on each other. Wives worked in the home not so much as a privilege, but out of necessity. Each member supported their family unit how they could, depending on their age and sex. When you reached marrying age, you married and started your own family, but the likelihood of remaining on the same property and continuing to work together was high.
In the Middle Ages, the home was the center of the family economy, so families stayed together, they were around each other, they needed each other. It wasn’t about pursuing your dreams and hoping you could find someone whose lifestyle wouldn’t cramp yours. It was about survival.
I’m not saying we all need to shut off our electricity and start businesses in the home but it sure seems like families were stronger and people were happier. It wasn’t until we were overtaken by the idea that family and others were secondary to our own personal affluence that things began to crumble. Dorms at colleges, the feminist movement, the internet, none of which are inherently evil, but when taken to the extreme cause great harm, have all separated us from the most important things, and have given us a false sense of security in our own abilities.
I’m not exactly sure where to land this plane, but I think a good place to start is by beginning to live a life that is more OTHERS centered and less SELF centered. Rather than approaching every decision with “how would this make me feel,” how would it make others feel? Is my dream of pursuing ______ greater than my desire to please God?
It’s good to have passions and skills and talents, but every gift we have been given is a tool we have to honor God. Our families have been given to us as every-day tangible opportunities to love like Jesus. Our abilities and passions were given to us by a Loving Father who wants to see the lost be saved through our words, our art, our time, and our love.
This is not a call to join Abnegation, but rather an invitation to examine our motives and adjust our sails if need be. My life is not about me. It’s about Him. I give up my need to be noticed, appreciated, seen, respected, or adored. My only right that I claim is to be called His daughter. I need no other protection than His arms. I need no other accolade than His delight.
I want to look back in 50 years and see a beautiful tapestry of people God gave me the privilege to raise, to love, to honor, to submit to, to smile at, to serve, to embrace to feed, and to love. I don’t want to look back and see a pile of my own accomplishments or things I pursued at everyone’s expense. I just want to see Jesus.
The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal, is on me.
The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose.
He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to repair broken hearts,
And to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison,
“Be free from your imprisonment!”
2 He has sent me to announce the year of jubilee, the season of the Eternal’s favor. —Isaiah 61
Books I recommend:
The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women, Work, and the Home: Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank
Set apart Femininity-Leslie Ludy
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years-Donald Miller
Bread and Wine-Shauna Niequist
Authentic Beauty-Leslie Ludy
Let Me Be a Woman-Elizabeth Elliott
Scary Close-Donald Miller
Little House on the Prairie