Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Function: being woman today

I read something today that has impacted my thinking.
It started when I read this post, leading me to this profound post. Something clicked for me.

These articles talk about the challenge to be a woman/wife/mother in this pinterest obsessed world. We can see the fruit of amazingly talented people and heap expectation upon ourselves that we were never meant to live up to. But we don’t realize that this isn’t the norm, we begin to see the lavish as expected. This is a topic that has been talked about many places before – I’ve heard it at women’s conferences and bible studies, and online and in books. But I’m realizing today that it isn’t just expectation, performance and production that I’m battling – I’m battling something deeper inside of me. There is comfort in feeling that I don’t measure up. Failure? Not quite being good enough? These are feelings I understand. Abject Victory? Much more foreign. There is something in me that is afraid to step outside of this safety zone, most likely because I fear I will never measure up.

In the second blog post above Jen quotes Rachel Held Evans, and talks about how the Proverbs 31 poem was meant for the men, more than for the wives. That the only instruction listed in the poem is actually for the husbands, to praise their wives for “all their hands have done”. My husband, Paul, is very supportive. He takes great pains to make sure that he praises the work I do. I am amazed at how well he does this. I am equally struck by how hard it is to receive this praise.

“No, no…I mean I like to sleep in and the Proverbs 31 woman rises early, so while I did just serve 30 people at dinner, I’m still not accomplished like her.”
“Me? Like the Proverbs 31 woman? I wish. I don’t even understand real estate, let alone prosper in it!”

Rachel Held Evans describes the Proverbs 31 poem as such; “In fact, the structure and diction employed in the poem closely resembles that of a heroic poem celebrating the exploits of a warrior.” This isn’t a to do list – this is a description of what some of the aspects of a woman of valor are. This isn’t a list to live up to, or a checklist for “a good wife” but these are descriptions of a woman living a life of love. The poem says that “when it snows, she has no fear for her household, for all of them are clothed in scarlet”. If my kids (imaginary thus far) would like to be clothed in purple, that too would be ok. We get caught up in the specifics and the details, but this was never the heart behind the poem.

I am so much more comfortable living as one who can’t do, than I am believing that I am a capable person who can in fact do loving and wonderful things. Of course all that I do is empowered by God, but in this new scenario I actually get to experience victory. So when Paul tells me that I am like the Proverbs 31 woman, in a moment I get to say thank you and enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor.

Rachel describes it well, “So I set aside my to-do list and began using Proverbs 31 as it was meant to be used—not as yet another impossible standard by which to measure our failures, but as a celebration of what we’ve already accomplished as women of valor.”

Love it.

And that is a great mindset to head into a new year with. 

I have a house to unpack. I have students to prepare for. I have relationships in my life that I care about and want to see grow towards Christ. And with Christ, I get to walk out a life that celebrates and loves. Happy New Year indeed.

1 comment:

Michael & Anna said...

Great insightful post, Tara. I can totally relate, thanks!


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